Manila Cathedral: A Beautiful Church in Manila, Philippines

One of the most beautiful churches I have seen in person is the Manila Cathedral inside the walled city of Intramuros in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. It's official name is the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The basilica is dedicated to the principal patroness of the Philippines, the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. The secondary patronesses are Santa Rosa de Lima and Santa Potenciana to which the church was originally dedicated to by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It is the official church of the Archdiocese of Manila.

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Manila Cathedral in Manila, Philippines

Chronological History

1566                        Secular priest Juan de Vivero arrived in Manila Bay
1571                        Church of Manila established under the Archdiocese of Mexico
6 February 1579     Became an independent diocese by Pope Gregory XIII
1579                        Raised to a cathedral
1581                        New structure of nipa, wood, and bamboo was constructed
21 December 1581 New structure was consecrated
1583                        Structure destroyed by fire
1591                        Second cathedral made of stone was built
1600                        Structure destroyed by earthquake
1614                        Construction for the third cathedral was started
1645                        Structure again destroyed by earthquake
1654 - 1671             Fourth cathedral was built
1750                        Dome was added to the structure
1751                        Cathedral was demolished
1760                        Fifth cathedral was inaugurated
1850                        Cathedral was renovated
1852                        Destroyed by earthquake
1854-1858               Sixth cathedral was constructed
3 June 1863             Severely damaged by a very strong earthquake
1870-1879               Seventh cathedral was constructed
1880                        Earthquake destroyed the bell tower
1937                        Was an integral part of the International Eucharistic Congress
1945                        Reduced to rubble by World War II Allied bombings in 1945
1953-1958               Eighth cathedral was constructed
1971                        Pope Paul VI celebrated mass at the cathedral
27 April 1981          Elevated by Pope John Paul II into a minor basilica
February 2011         Church bells relocated to ground level
2012-2014               Renovations and  earthquake retrofitting done
9 April 2014            Cathedral was reopened
16 January 2015      Pope Francis celebrated mass at the cathedral

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Interior of the Manila Cathedral in Manila, Philippines

Interesting Facts

  1. The Manila Cathedral is located within Plaza de Roma, the center of Intramuros
  2. The Manila Cathedral is the see of the Archbishop of Manila
  3. The Manila Cathedral has been built, destroyed, and rebuilt eight (8) times
  4. The cross on top of the central dome of the Manila Cathedral is used as a reference point for astronomical longitudes of the Philippine archipelago.
  5. The Manila Cathedral has been visited by three (3) popes from 1971 to 2015.
  6. The bells installed in 2012 are currently the largest bells in active use in the Philippines. The seven (7) bells weigh 17 metric tons.
  7. The biggest pipe organ in Southeast Asia can be found in the Manila Cathedral.


  1. Wikipedia. Accessed 19 March 2016.
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