|Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica
Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
Façade of Manila Cathedral and a view of the dome
|Website||Manila Cathedral Official Website|
|Former name(s)||Church of Manila|
|Authorising papal bull||February 6, 1579
Pope Gregory XIII
|Founder(s)||Padre Juan de Vivero|
|Dedication||Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary|
|Past bishop(s)||Rufino J. Card. Santos (1953-1974)
Jaime Card. Sin (1974-2003)
Gaudencio Card. Rosales (2003-2011)
|Architect(s)||Fernando H. Ocampo|
|Architectural type||Cathedral Basilica|
|Completed||1958 (present Cathedral), 2014 (earthquake retrofitting)|
|Construction cost||P 70 Million (2012-2014 restoration)|
|Closed||February 7, 2012 - March 25, 2014 (restoration completed and formal reopening on April 9, 2014)|
|Number of domes||One|
|Materials||Adobe and cement|
|Archdiocese||Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila|
|Province||Ecclesiastical Province of Manila|
|Archbishop||Luis Antonio Tagle|
|Rector||Msgr. Nestor C. Cerbo|
|Music group(s)||Manila Cathedral Boys' Choir (Males: 9-16)
Manila Cathedral-Basilica Choir (Adult)
|Servers' guild||Cofradia de la Inmaculada Concepcion|
The Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica, informally known as the Manila Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic basilica located in Manila, Philippines, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Principal Patroness of the Philippines. The cathedral serves as the see of the Archbishop of Manila, the de facto Primate of the Philippines.
Located at Plaza de Roma in the Intramuros district of Manila, the cathedral was originally a parish church owned and governed by the Diocese of Mexico in 1571, until it became a separate diocese on February 6, 1579 upon the issuance of the papal bull, Illius Fulti Praesido by Pope Gregory XIII.
The cathedral was damaged and destroyed several times since the original structure was built in 1581. The eighth and current instance of the cathedral was completed in 1958,  with the Archbishop officially becoming the country's Metropolitan after full sovereignty was regained from the United States in 1946.
The basilica has merited three papal endorsements and two apostolic visits from Pope Gregory XIII, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, who through the papal bull Quod Ipsum declared the cathedral a minor basilica by his own Motu Proprio on April 27, 1981.
The cathedral was originally the "church of Manila" officially established in 1571 by a secular priest, Padre Juan de Vivero, who arrived in Manila Bay in 1566. De Vivero, the chaplain on the galleon of San Geronimo, was sent by the Archbishop of Mexico, Alonso de Montúfar, to establish Christianity as the spiritual and religious administration in newly colonized Philippines. De Vivero later became the vicar-general and the first ecclesiastical judge of the city of Manila.
Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi chose the location of the church and placed it under the patronage of Santa Potenciana. The first parish priest of the church was Padre Juan de Villanueva.
When the church was raised to a cathedral in 1579, a new structure made from nipa, wood and bamboo was constructed in 1581 by Bishop Domingo de Salazar, the first Bishop of Manila. The new structure was consecrated on December 21, 1581, formally becoming a cathedral. The structure was destroyed by fire in 1583, which started during the funeral Mass for Governor-General Gonzalo Ronquillo de Peñalosa in San Agustin Church that razed much of the city.
The second cathedral, which was made of stone, was built in 1592. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1600. Construction of the third cathedral began in 1614. The new structure, consisting of three naves and seven chapels, was blessed in 1614. It was toppled by another earthquake which shook Manila in 1645. The fourth cathedral was constructed from 1654 to 1671.
It was severely damaged in 1863 by a very strong earthquake that also damaged the palace of the Governor General of the Philippines. In 1880, another earthquake toppled its bell tower, rendering the cathedral towerless until 1958. The seventh cathedral was constructed from 1870 to 1879. It was solemnly blessed in December 1879. The cross atop the central dome is a reference point of astronomical longitudes of the archipelago.
In 1937, the International Eucharistic Congress was held in the Philippines in which the cathedral played an integral part in promoting eucharistic beliefs. Both a cathedral stamp and medal was struck in commemoration of the event and was made by the official manufacturer of medals for the Congress of the Philippines at the time, the sculptor Crispulo Zamora.
Pope Paul VI made an apostolic visit and celebrated Mass in the cathedral in 1970. Pope John Paul II issued a papal bull Quod Ipsum on April 27, 1981, elevating the shrine to a minor basilica through his own Motu Proprio. In the same papal bull, He reiterated that the Pope Paul VI's papal decree of June 6, 1968 be eternally preserved and enforced to the merits and titles of the cathedral as its own basilica.
The cathedral's 50th restoration anniversary was celebrated in 2008, highlighted by the second Manila Cathedral Pipe Organ Festival from December 2 to 10, organized by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.
In February 2011, the Archdiocese of Manila relocated the bells of the cathedral to the ground level to prevent tower collapse as exhibited in the past earthquakes. In January 2012, the cathedral replaced the bells, personally cast by blacksmith Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling of Heidelberg Germany in 1958. According to the new marker installed by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, the newly installed bells are the largest bells actively used in the Philippines. A total of seven Carillon bells were permanently installed in the ground level of the belfry weighing at 17 metric tons.
2012 renovation and 2014 reopening
The cathedral underwent repairs for earthquake retrofitting and subsidence prevention in 2012. During such period, the San Fernando de Dilao Church has been designated as the temporary official church (Pro-Cathedral) of the Archdiocese of Manila. However, Msgr. Nestor Cerbo stated that the Cathedral will finish its renovations last March 25, 2014. Some added features and changes include installation of CCTV cameras, large flat screen television screens (similar to the Baclaran Church), improved audio-video systems, and improved interior and exterior LED lightings. The cathedral completed its restoration on the said date and was reopened to the general public last April 9, 2014 after two years of renovation. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle led a holy mass after the reopening of the Cathedral attended by Pres. Benigno Aquino III.
Blessed Virgin Mary as principal patroness
In 1581 Pope Gregory XIII issued a papal bull consecrating the cathedral building to La Purísima Inmaculada Concepción de María, while Miguel López de Legazpi consecrated the city of Manila to Saint Potenciana. In 1942 Pope Pius XII rededicated the Filipino people to La Purísima Inmaculada Concepción through a Papal Bull called Impositi Nobis, while Saint Rose of Lima and Saint Potenciana remained as the secondary patroness of the Filipino people. The Latin declaration came in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis from January 20, 1942.
- Augusto Pedrosa, PC (1972–1985)
- Domingo Cirilos, PC (1985–1996)
- Hernando Coronel, PC (1996–2002)
- Nestor Cerbo, PC (From 2002)
Burials and funerals
The cathedral is the resting place for former prelates who have served the Archdiocese of Manila. Among those interred in the cathedral crypts (similar in style to that of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City) are:
- Michael J. O'Doherty, the last foreign Archbishop of Manila;
- Gabriel M. Reyes, the first Filipino Archbishop of Manila;
- Cardinal Rufino J. Santos, the first Filipino Cardinal;
- Cardinal Jaime L. Sin, a prominent leader of the 1986 People Power Revolution.
- Dom Ambrose Agius, a Maltese monsignor who ordained the first Filipino bishop.
(Only interred until 1945 then transferred to Benedictine church of Our Lady of Monserrat (San Beda College) in San Beda College Mendiola Street, Manila where he lies today).
It also hosted two funerals for two former Presidents of the Philippines:
- Carlos P. Garcia, 8th President of the Philippines (1957–1961) (d. 1971);
- Corazon C. Aquino, 11th President of the Philippines (1986–1992) (d. 2009).
The cathedral was used as a venue for the wake and Requiem Mass for a former President of the Philippines, Corazon Aquino, who died on August 1, 2009. In an unprecedented move by the Archdiocese of Manila, protocol was not observed in permitting Aquino's remains to lie in state at the cathedral, making her the first woman to have been permitted to lie in state, as only Archbishops of Manila are accorded this honor. President Carlos P. Garcia was the first layperson to lie in state and have a Requiem Mass at the cathedral.
Details of the shrine
The main façade is a replica of the façade of the previous cathedral, along with statues of famous saints sculpted in Roman travertine stone. Several of the artworks inside the basilica were made by Italian artists. In the previous cathedral, they were originally made of molave wood. The statues of Saint Rose of Lima was sculpted by Angelo Fattinanzi while Saint Jacob, Saint Andrew, St. Anthony the Abbott was done by sculptress Livia Papini; St. Francis Xavier St. Polycarp by Alcide Tico.
The façade (tympanum) of the cathedral bears a Latin inscription: Tibi cordi tuo immaculato concredimus nos ac consecramus (English: We consecrate to your immaculate heart and entrust to you (Mary) for safekeeping).
Since Pope John Paul II's apostolic visit to the basilica in 1981, a grand logo of the Papal Keys and Papal Tiara have been prominently featured on the top-front facade of the cathedral. The red galero hat of Cardinal Rufino Santos is also hoisted on the ceiling of the dome of the cathedral. In addition, a Roman copy of Saint Peter's seated statue from Saint Peter's Basilica is enshrined inside, along with a life-sized statue of the Immaculate Conception. Prior to 1988, the statue of the Immaculate Conception in the main altar was painted in gold. An antiphon inscription on the baldachin above the statue of the Immaculate Conception reads: "Tota Pulchra es Maria et Macula Originalis Non est in Te" (English: Mary is all-beautiful and the stain of original sin is not in Thee).
The Immaculate Conception life-size solid bronze statue inside the shrine was made by renowned Italian sculptor, Maestro Enzo Assenza, was painted gold until 1988 (though the twelve star halo-aureola is solid gold). In addition, the baptismal font and angelic holy water fonts are also made of solid bronze by Publio Morbiducci; while the prominent mosaic of Saint Jude Thaddeus was made by Marcello Mazzoli. The 134 modern stained glass windows were made in 1964 by Filipino artist, Galo Ocampo, focusing on Marian themes and was commissioned and funded by Cardinal Rufino Jiao Santos, whose galero hat now hangs on the central dome of the basilica.
The artistic designs of the stained glass windows of the Manila Cathedral are mostly products of the creative genius of Galo Ocampo, one of the most versatile contemporary Filipino artists during his time and a recipient of the 1964 Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award from the city government of Manila.
The central nave and vaulted ceiling of the Cathedral
- Manila Cathedral-Basilica Re-Opening (April 9, 2014 Eucharist after Restoration and Retrofitting)
- Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila
- Roman Catholicism in the Philippines
- San Agustin Church
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- Official Stone Marker at the Manila Cathedral. Publicly installed by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, former Archbishop of Manila (2011). Located on the left side of the front door of the Basilica
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- Quezon, Manolo (2009-08-13). "Notes on the Aquino funeral". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
- "Statues". Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica. Retrieved on 2011-11-24.
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- Ortiguero, Romsanne. "With more resilient foundation, Manila Cathedral is all set for Holy Week and Easter Masses". Interaksyon.com. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
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