Sunday, April 24, 2011

Visita Iglesia 2011: San Sebastian, San Antonio de Padua, Our lady of Loreto Church


The San Sebastian Church was designed by Genabo Palacios. The structural metal of which this church is uniquely built was manufactured in Belguim and erected here by Belgian engineers. The church was solemnly blessed on August 15, 1891. Earlier churches build on this site by Recollect Friars since 1611 were destroyed by Earthquake in 1859, 1863 and 1880. The church was declared a National Historical Landmark by President Ferdinand Marcos through Presidential Decree No. 260 in 1973. State funding was accorded the church throught the National Historical Institute which undertook restoration in 1982. The Recollect community on the other hand has also used a lot of dundas for the church’s maintenance and restoration.

There has been recent threats to the structural integrity of the church as the steel structure has been beset by rust and corrosion to which the seas breezed from the nearby Manila Bay contribute. In 1998 the church was placed in the biennial watch list of the 100 Most endangered sites by the World Monuments Fund. Although it was not retained in subsequent watch lists. In 2006 the church was included in the list for possible designation as World Heritage site on the account of its architectural and historical heritage.

Saint Anthony’s feast is celebrated every 13th of June. He is well-known as the miracle worker. People from all walks of life, even non-Christians and non-believers invoke in his help for whatever need from the recovery of lost or stolen things to helping childless couples bear a child. In the Philippines, devotion to St. Anthony dates back to the arrival of the Franciscans in 1578. Since then, it would be exceptional for a church to be without a statue or image of the famous miracle-worker.

The present St. Anthony shrine was built in 1947 throught the efforts of Fr. Mariano Montero, OFM where the devotion to St. Anthony was transferred from Intramuros in Manila. Originally, in this same location a chapel was constructed in 1794 for the use of the Secular Fransciscans under the tutelage of the Our Lady of Pilgrims whose statue is now enshrined at the fight of the shrine sanctuary.


When the Maestro de Campo or Capitan General ceded the land in Sampaloc to the Franciscans and donated to the construction of the convent and the church, residents of Sampaloc request the City of Manila to separate Sampaloc from the spiritual jurisdiction of Santa Ana de sapa. In the year 1616, the Parish church of Nuestra Senora de Loreto was dedicated and Fray Augustin de Tordesillas as the first parish priest.

Just like all Spanish built churches, the convent of Loreto which was founded in 1613 by Fransciscans withstood the test of time as it was burned during the Chinese uprising in 1639 but was rebuilt by Fr. Andres Puertollano. The church was enlarged in 1660 and was damaged by a terrible earthquake in 1880. Fr. Pedro de Alcantara Flores del Pozo initiated the renovation of the church which was later completed by Fr. Ramon Caviedas who was the one who built the Sampaloc cemetery in Balic Balic. The parish of balic balic was established in 1925.

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