Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church

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Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church
NuestraSeñoradeGraciaChurchjf9496 11.JPG
Church and Monastery of Guadalupe
Basic information
Location 7440 Bernardino Street, Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City, Metro Manila
Geographic coordinates 14°33′59″N 121°02′36″E / 14.566438°N 121.043333°E / 14.566438; 121.043333
Affiliation Roman Catholic
District Archdiocese of Manila
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Parish church
Architectural description
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Baroque
Groundbreaking 1601
Completed 1630
Specifications

The Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church, also known as Guadalupe Church is a Baroque Roman Catholic church in Makati City, Philippines. The parish church and its adjacent monastery are currently administered by the Augustinian friars of the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu. The territory of the parish covers the San Carlos Seminary, the major seminary of the Archdiocese of Manila and the Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary.

Foundation[edit]

The first sanctuary and monastery in Guadalupe was built by Fray Simon Dantes. This foundation was declared a domus formata or a community under the advocacy of Our Lady of Grace through a Provincial Chapter on March 7, 1601.[1] One year after, the Community in Guadalupe was given the right to vote in the provincial chapters.

In the Chapter held on November 30, 1603, the patroness, Our Lady of Grace was changed to Our Lady of Guadalupe following the request of several devout and religious people to honor the memory of the Virgin Mary venerated in Estremadura, Spain.[2] A wooden replica of the statue was later brought from Spain.

By 1632, the devotion had spread due to the Acapulco-Manila galleon trade. Devotees from Spain and Mexico thronged into the sanctuary of Guadalupe to pay their respects to the Lady. It became such a habitual courtesy that the authorities were forced to put up a landing dock at the foot of the hill by the river. A wooden house and a stairs of stone of around one hundred steps were built in order to accommodate the pilgrims who in turn never failed to donate money in the alms box.

Due to its altitude, the monastery offered good sanitary conditions. It was designed as the “sole recreation house for the religious living in Manila.” A clause of the Chapter held in 1716 prohibited the religious from going to any other house for their vacations except to Guadalupe. It was resting place not only for the religious but also for persons of the highest authority in the islands. Its high location differs with the low land of Manila.

In 1853, the Monastery became a Domus Studiorum or House of Studies for Grammar to accommodate the excess students of the Monastery of Manila. In 1882, the monastery was converted for three years into an asilo to house the orphans of the victims of the cholera that devastated Manila and in 1885 it served as Escuela de Artes y Oficios among whose professors were the San Pedro brothers, Melchor and Gaspar. Among other facilities, it had a printing press, which was later transferred to the asilo of Malabon. This printing press was later destroyed together with the Escuela de Artes of Malabon, during the Philippine Revolution.

Construction[edit]

Facade of Our Lady of Grace Church in Makati

Makeshift buildings were constructed from March 7, 1601 to 1605, as the monastery was declared a community house (dormus formata).[3] Fray Juan de Montes de Oca elected as Prior Administrator of Guadalupe started the construction of a stone sanctuary. However work was derailed due to his transfer to another assignment. Succeeding prior administrators did little on the project as they were easily transferred too to other mission outposts. In 1623, Fray Hernando Guerrero continued the work of his predecessors and was notable in constructing many portions of the monastery and the bell tower. The sanctuary and monastery however were finished by Fray Estacio Ortiz in 1630.

The breaking of the rocky ground for the church foundations cost the Augustinians time and money. The stone was quarried from the Guadalupe mountains, lime was mixed in the many ovens and factories in operation nearby to make tiles, bricks, and large earthenware.

For the first 30 years, the monastery depended on the alms contributed, as decreed by the chapters, from the houses of Bacolor, Paranaque, Malate, Taguig, Pasig, Bay (Laguna), Guagua and Lubao. From this time, since the church was finished and since the naos started coming in 1632, “the house will be self-sufficient to support a few religious.” This meant that all the buildings had been completed and the collections had now to be given to the San Agustin Monastery in Manila, the motherhouse of the province.

The church was damaged during the earthquake of 1658. Fray Alonso Quijano repaired the damage from 1659 to 1662. He also started on embellishing the shrine but this cannot be continued due to shortage of funds. New repairs were discussed during the Chapter held on June 10, 1691 which authorized the Provincial, Fray Francisco Zamora to donate more funds to Fray Buenaventura Bejar to fortify the church and build the buttresses to support the vault. In 1706, Father Provincial Juan Olarte informed the fathers that the church needed urgent repair of the floor, the tiles, wooden platforms to restore the soleras of the living room, to replace partition walls with bricks, to make new corridors with windows, and to repair the belfry. The father provincial suggested to the definitory that “due to the shortness of funds and the low income of Guadalupe, the Province, must help, especially now that the monastery has become a stopping place for governors and bishops coming to these Islands.”

He assigned 1,000 pesos from this own pocket on condition that he be reimbursed 100 pesos annually until his death. With all the help, the monastery became one of the best edifice outside Manila to be found in the Philippines.

The eruption of Taal Volcano in 1754 caused severe damage in Batangas province but spared the Guadalupe buildings. In 1762, the British soldiers converted it into their military headquarters. They defiled the church and sacked the tombs of the Augustinian pantheon. Images of saints were defiled and robbed of their decorations and jewelries. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was only spared due to a timely intervention of an Irish official who brought to Pasig for safekeeping until 1764.

The 1880 earthquake caused considerable damage to the church. The masonry vault collapsed, which slackened the church buttresses and reduced the shrine in shambles. This earthquake also destroyed the original image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A replica however was made after six years by Melchor and Gaspar San Pedro to replace the original. This image was venerated until 1899 when it was lost due to the Philippine-American War.

During the Chapter held on December 5, 1881, the father provincial authorized the prior, Fray Jose Corugedo, to rebuild the church. He replaced the stone vault with a wooden ceiling and gave 7,000 pesos. In 1889, the father provincial condoned the 10,549 pesos that Guadalupe owed his funds. Fray Celestino Fernandez, prior of Guadalupe in 1889, was authorized to repair the church flooring, a mosaic-set-on-molave wood already rotten and the roof of the pantheon. The convent was also plastered and white-washed.

The church and convent in ruins after the Philippine-American War in 1899

The church and monastery were both occupied by the Filipino revolutionaries in 1898-1899, and later by the American forces. As a result, the edifices were gutted by fire. The ruins were, for a while became a haunted place to the barrio folk. During the Japanese occupation, the buildings were turned into garrison and headquarters. The structures suffered from the senselessness of war. But according to the folks, the worst and most atrocious fate was suffered when orders were given by the authorities of the Archdiocese of Manila to demolish the old monastery building and have its stones taken to Intramuros for the reconstruction of the cathedral.

The Augustinians were recalled to their own house on June 29, 1970, after an agreement was concluded between the Archbishop of Manila, Rufino Cardinal Santos and the Vicar of the Augustinians in the Philippines, the Fr. Casimiro Garcia, O.S.A. They inherited a concrete-made convent and the ruins of the church. With assistance from the province and donations from parishioners, the Augustinians, have since rebuilt the sanctuary of Guadalupe.

Architecture[edit]

Exterior[edit]

The church is a mixture of different architecture styles. An example of this is the façade which shows Neo-Romanesque-Gothic style.[4] The massive buttresses create a vertical movement, stopped only by the roundness of windows, statues, niches and the semi-circular arch of the main entrance. The missing old monastery to which it was attached on the left sets the façade somehow off balance. Two sets of Doric columns support the cornice and the triangular pediment. Leaf carvings above the main recessed entrance, niches, windows and around the tympanum lightens the massive character of the structure which have touches of the Baroque. A string course of arabesque designs runs along the architrave.[5]

The massive buttresses create a vertical movement, stopped only by the roundness of windows, statues, niches and the semi-circular arch of the main entrance. The missing old monastery to which it was attached on the left sets the façade somehow off balance. Two sets of Doric columns support the cornice and the triangular pediment. Leaf carvings above the main recessed entrance, niches, windows and around the tympanum lightens the massive character of the structure which have touches of the Baroque. A string course of arabesque designs runs along the architrave.[1]

Interior[edit]

The stone vault of the interior has been replaced lately by one of plywood plastered with stucco cement which ages the structure, original Ermita-type structure. The interiors and the window details have influences of the Baroque architecture.

The church is one of the most popular wedding venues in Metro Manila.[6][7]

The window design.


External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Arreza, Rodolfo (1991). The Guadalupe Shrine. Makati City: Rodolfo M. Arreza Publishing. p. 11. ISBN 971-91250-0-4. 
  2. ^ Galende, Pedro (1987). Angels in Stone: Architecture of Augustinian Churches in the Philippines. Makati City: G. A. Formoso Publishing. pp. 34–40. ISBN 971-8575-00-6. 
  3. ^ "History of Nuestra Senora de Gracia Church". Retrieved 2014-05-11. 
  4. ^ "Nuestra Senora de Gracia Church". Retrieved 2010-06-19. 
  5. ^ Arreza, Rodolfo (1991). The Guadalupe Shrine. Makati City: Rodolfo M. Arreza Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 971-91250-0-4. 
  6. ^ "Nuestra Senora de Gracia Parish". Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  7. ^ "Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church (Makati City)". Retrieved 2010-06-02.