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Quiapo Church

Coordinates: 14°35′56″N 120°59′02″E / 14.598782°N 120.983783°E / 14.598782; 120.983783
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Quiapo Church
Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Jesus Nazareno (Black Nazarene)
Saint John the Baptist Parish
  • Basílika Menor at Pambansang Dambana ni Jesus Nazareno (Itím na Nazareno) (Filipino)
  • Basílica Menor y Santuario Nacional del Jesus Nazareno Negro (Spanish)
Main façade in May 2024
14°35′56″N 120°59′02″E / 14.598782°N 120.983783°E / 14.598782; 120.983783
LocationQuiapo, Manila
Language(s)Filipino, English[a]
DenominationCatholic Church
TraditionRoman Rite
WebsiteQuiapo Church
Former name(s)Church of the Camisa[1]
Founded1588; 436 years ago (1588)
Founder(s)Antonio de Nombela
DedicationJohn the Baptist
ConsecratedSeptember 28, 1987; 36 years ago (1987-09-28)
Cult(s) presentBlack Nazarene
Functional statusActive
Architect(s)Juan Nakpil
José María Zaragoza
Architectural typeBasilica
StyleMexican Baroque
Years built
  • c. 1588 (dst. 1603)
  • c. 1686 (dst. 1863)
  • 1879–1889 (dst. 1929)
  • 1933–1935; 1984–1986
Groundbreaking1933 (1933) (main façade)
1984 (1984) (expansion)
Completed1935 (1935) (main façade)
1986 (1986) (expansion)
Construction cost8 million (expansion)[2]
Capacity1,000 (seating)[3]
Length78.8 m (259 ft)[4]
Width33.0 m (108.3 ft)[4]
Nave width11.5 m (38 ft)[4]
Width across transepts33.0 m (108.3 ft)[4]
Other dimensionsFaçade facing southwest
Floor area2,410.5 m2 (25,946 sq ft)[2]
Number of domes1
Number of towers2
MaterialsReinforced concrete
DeaneryJose de Trozo[5]
ParishSt. John the Baptist
RectorRufino C. Sescon, Jr.
  • Jonathan Noel Mojica
  • Robert Arellano, LRMS
  • Christopher S. Crucero, LRMS
  • Franklin Villanueva
Assistant priest(s)
  • Paul Gungon, IV
  • Paul Medina, OCarm
  • Jupiter Diloy, MMSJ
  • Egay Doroteo, MMSJ

The Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Jesus Nazareno (Black Nazarene),[b] popularly known as Quiapo Church[c] and canonically as the Saint John the Baptist Parish,[d] is a prominent basilica and national shrine in the district of Quiapo in the city of Manila, Philippines. It is the home of the Black Nazarene, a dark statue of Jesus Christ said to be miraculous. The basilica is under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Manila under the Vicariate of José de Trozo and its current rector is the Reverend Father Rufino C. Sescon, Jr.


Early churches

The earliest church, built by missionaries of the Order of Friars Minor, was made of bamboo for the frame and nipa leaves as thatching.[6][7] In 1574, Limahong and his soldiers destroyed and burned the church. Formerly a visita (chapel-of-ease) of Santa Ana, the Franciscan friar Antonio de Nombella founded the church in 1588 which was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ. It burned down in 1603 and the parish was temporarily turned over to the Jesuits until secular clergy objected.[6] Governor-General Santiago de Vera initiated the full construction of the church in 1686.[7] On April 8, 1639, the administration of the church was returned to the seculars who had always taking care of the church's welfare.[6]

During the Seven Years' War, the British attempted to destroy the church in 1762 as they invaded Manila. An earthquake in 1863 destroyed the church and in its place a temporary church was built. Eusebio de León later reconstructed the ruined church in 1879,[6] completing the structure in 1889 with the assistance of Manuel Roxas. Roxas had raised the unprecedented amount of 40,000.00 from donations and lay contributions. In 1929, the church caught fire again, in which the church's wooden ceiling and sacristy were destroyed.[7]

Present church

Church PHC historical marker

In 1933, Magdaleno Castillo began the reconstruction of the church from the plan prepared by National Artist of the Philippines architect Juan Nakpil – son of composer Julio Nakpil.[8] He added the church's dome and a second belfry to balance out the façade. The reconstructed church, made of reinforced concrete, was completed in 1935. During World War II, parts of Quiapo were destroyed except for the church.[9]

Monsignor José Abriol commissioned architect José María Zaragoza and engineer Eduardo Santiago to expand the church in order to accommodate more worshippers. This was done from 1984 to 1986, with several changes made to the building such as removing any inner columns.[2] Despite the project being controversial, it did not affect the popularity of the church.[9] Cardinal Jaime Sin, then-Archbishop of Manila, reconsecrated the church on September 28, 1987. On December 11 of the same year, Pope John Paul II issued papal bull Qui Loco Petri, elevating the church’s rank to that of a minor basilica.[10] This was solemnly declared on February 1, 1988, by then-Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Bruno Torpigliani, who also blessed the side altar of Saint Lorenzo Ruíz on that day.[7]

In 2006, the church celebrated 400 years since the Black Nazarene’s arrival. As part of the celebrations, a jubilee wall was placed at the entrance gate so devotees can post their own testimonials of faith and devotion to the Black Nazarene. The Traslación from Quirino Grandstand back to the basilica was also introduced, re-enacting the image's initial transfer from its destroyed shrine in Intramuros.[11]

On May 10, 2023, Cardinal José Advíncula, Archbishop of Manila, made the basilica an archdiocesan shrine. The declaration was announced by the archdiocesan vicar general, Reginald Malicdem, on May 31.[12] On July 9, at the 126th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines in Kalibo, Aklan, the episcopacy conferred the title and rank of national shrine on the basilica, bypassing the usual ten-year waiting period.[e] On December 14, the basilica received the official decree making it a national shrine.[14]

On January 29, 2024, at the end of the CBCP's 127th Plenary Assembly in Manila, a Pontifical Mass was presided by Cardinal Advíncula to mark this solemn declaration of the country's 29th national shrine. At least seventy bishops attended the liturgy,[15] as well as Mayor of Manila, Honey Lacuna,[16] and the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Charles John Brown.[15] During the Mass, CBCP President and Bishop of Kalookan, Pablo Virgilio David, expressed hope for the shrine's eventual elevation to an international shrine, a title already conferred by the Holy See on Antipolo Cathedral.[15]


The sanctuary of the basilica, with the high altar in the middle and the side altars of the Blessed Sacrament (left) and Saint John the Baptist (right).

Built in the Baroque style, Quiapo Church's façade is distinctive with twisted columns on both levels. The Corinthian columns of the second level has a third of its shaft twisted near the base, while the upper portion has a smooth surface. The topmost portion of the four-storey belfries are rimmed with balustrades and decorated with huge scrolls. The tympanum of the pediment has a pair of chalice-shaped finials, and towards the end of the raking cornice, urn-like vases mark the end of the pediment. A quatrefoil window in the center of the pediment was sealed up in the late 1980s and replaced with a relief of the crossed keys and tiara of the pope – a symbol of its status as a minor basilica.[2]

During its expansion, changes to the building were made, such as the removal of the ornate exposed trusses, the removal of the interior columns to create an expansive columnless structure, and the realignment of the perimeter walls. Even though Zaragoza did not tamper the facade and altar area, this received criticisms like comparing the new interior with a basketball court.[9] Only the façade, the dome, the transept, and the apse retained the classic design.[7]

Devotion to the Black Nazarene

High altar of the church, with the Black Nazarene enshrined above it
Devotees attending Mass inside the church

The masses go to Quiapo Church in downtown Plaza Miranda and drop a visit to the Nuestro Señor Jesús Nazareno (a dark figure of Christ carved by a Mexican artist from black wood) whose image, reputedly miraculous, was brought to the country in a Spanish galleon in the 17th century.[6]

Quiapo Church holds a novena every Friday, Quiapo Day, in honor of the Black Nazarene, and is attended by thousands of devotees. A note is sounded before the novena begins as the devotees to the Black Nazarene troop in and emit their strings of petitions.[6] One can encounter the traditional folk Catholicism of Filipinos when they all climb the narrow flight of stairs to kiss the Señor's foot or wipe it with their handkerchiefs they use every time they visit.[6]

Traslación of the Black Nazarene in 2024

The Feast of the Black Nazarene on January 9 celebrates the traslación (solemn translation) of the statue to the church from the Church of Saint Nicholas Tolentino. Traffic is re-routed round the devotees who participate in this district's fiesta. There are men who are devoted to carry the Black Nazarene statue around a specific route. They have a panata, a vow to serve the Lord in this sacrifice. These people believed that an afternoon's participation in the procession can repent their sins and shady deals in a year.[6]

In 2024, 6.5 million devotees participated in the Traslación.[17] Due to popular devotion, the Archdiocese of Manila has proposed to the Holy See to declare January 9 as the "national feast of the Black Nazarene".[18]

Abortifacients sold by private vendors

The vicinity of the church is a popular area for peddlers of unsafe abortifacients, local gastric irritants and untested herbal folk (potions) remedies.[6] The merchandise are clandestinely sold from stalls surrounding the Basilica and the Plaza Miranda fronting it. Abortion is illegal in the Philippines, and individuals who cannot afford the surgical procedure resort to these vendors.[19]

The media often covers stories of dead fetuses being abandoned outside of the church's Blessed Sacrament chapel, a practice condemned by the Archdiocese of Manila.[20] Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales has issued several canonical excommunications for women who perform intentional abortion in relation to such practices near the shrine, as ruled by the Latae Sententiae punishment by the Roman Catholic Church.[21] The fetuses covered by the Filipino TV media are often left wrapped in sack-cloth or plain boxes.

See also


  1. ^ For the 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Pilgrim's Masses every Saturday
  2. ^ Filipino: Basílika Menor at Pambansang Dambana ni Jesus Nazareno (Itim na Nazareno); Spanish: Basílica Menor y Santuario Nacional del Jesus Nazareno (Nazareno Negro)
  3. ^ Filipino: Simbahan ng Quiapo; Spanish: Iglesia Parroquial de Quiapo
  4. ^ Filipino: Parokya ng San Juan Bautista; Spanish: Parroquia de San Juan el Bautista
  5. ^ The Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines employs a ten-year policy to make diocesan shrines known at the national level before a national designation can be considered. In the case of Quiapo, the policy was vaived because according to its secretary-general, Monsignor Bernardo Pantin, the church is "already well known so it was exempted from the requirement".[13]


  1. ^ Camisa Church, Binondo, Manila, Philippines, late 19th century or early 20th century. Flickr. Retrieved May 31, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d Lico, Gerald (2016). "Building Faith: Architecture and Sacred Spaces of Quiapo Church". Journal of Southeast Asian Architecture. National University of Singapore: 13, 31–50.
  3. ^ Aquino, Leslie Ann (July 5, 2020). "Quiapo Church now allowed to accept 100 mass attendees". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d Measured using Google Earth.
  5. ^ "Vicariate of Jose de Trozo". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i de la Torre, Visitacion (1981). Landmarks of Manila: 1571-1930. Makati: Filipinas Foundation, Inc. pp. 69–71.
  7. ^ a b c d e Alarcon, Norma (1991). Philippine Architecture During the Pre-Spanish and Spanish Periods. Manila: Santo Tomas University Press. ISBN 971-506-040-4.
  8. ^ Medina, Marielle (January 9, 2018). "DID YOU KNOW: Reconstruction of Quiapo Church in 1930s". Inquirer Research. Retrieved March 30, 2023.
  9. ^ a b c Cucueco, Carlos III (January 10, 2022). "The Evolution of Quiapo Church". Renacimiento Manila. Archived from the original on February 13, 2023. Retrieved February 13, 2023.
  10. ^ "Qui Loco Petri" (PDF) (in Latin). December 11, 1987. Retrieved March 30, 2023.
  11. ^ Punay, Edu (January 8, 2007). "Annual Nazarene feast highlights beginnings of 400-year-old image". Philippine Star. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  12. ^ "Quiapo Church elevated as 'Archdiocesan Shrine of the Black Nazarene'". CBCP News. May 31, 2023. Retrieved May 31, 2023.
  13. ^ "CBCP elevates Quiapo Church to national shrine". CBCP News. July 9, 2023. Retrieved July 9, 2023.
  14. ^ "Solemn declaration of Quiapo Church as national shrine slated Jan. 29". CBCP News. December 14, 2023. Retrieved January 29, 2024.
  15. ^ a b c Del Rosario, Rhowen (January 30, 2024). "CBCP head hopes Quiapo Church will turn into int'l shrine". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved January 30, 2024.
  16. ^ Calucin, Diann Ivy C. (January 30, 2024). "'Most welcome development': Mayor Honey on declaration of Quiapo Church as national shrine". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved January 30, 2024.
  17. ^ Rita, Joviland (January 9, 2024). "Black Nazarene back at Quiapo Church; Traslacion took 15 hours". GMA Integrated News. Retrieved January 29, 2024.
  18. ^ Legarde, Roy (January 9, 2024). "Manila archdiocese asks Vatican to designate Jan. 9 as nat'l feast of the Black Nazarene". CBCP News. Retrieved January 29, 2024.
  19. ^ Conde, Carlos H. (May 16, 2005). "Philippines abortion crisis". New York Times.
  20. ^ "Philippine Churches Dismayed by Aborted Babies Dumped on Church Grounds - BCNN1". Archived from the original on May 23, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  21. ^ "Fetuses found near churches". ABS-CBN News.