MINOR BASILICA OF ST. LORENZO RUIZ
Binondo Church, also known as Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the most holy Rosary Parish , is located in the District of Binondo, Manila fronting Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz. This church was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 to serve their Chinese converts to Christianity. The original building was destroyed in 1762 by British bombardment. A new granite church was completed on the same site in 1852 however it was greatly damaged during the Second World War, with only the western facade and the octagonal bell tower surviving.
San Lorenzo, who was born of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, trained in this church and afterwards went as a missionary to Japan and was executed there for refusing to renounce his religion. San Lorenzo Ruiz was to be the Philippines' first saint and he was canonized in 1987. A large statue of the martyr stands in front of the church.
Masses are held in Filipino, in Chinese dialects (Mandarin, Hokkien), and in English.
Even before the arrival of the Spanish to the Philippines there was already a community of Chinese traders living in Manila. The population of Chinese traders increased with the advent of Spanish colonization of the Philippines, due to increased trade between the islands.The upsurge in their population prompted the Catholic Missionaries to manage the conversion of the Chinese population to the Christian faith.
In 1596, Dominican priests founded Binondo church to serve their Chinese converts to Christianity as well as to the native Filipinos.
The original structure has sustained damages during wars and various natural disasters. The current granite church was completed on the same site in 1852 and features an octagonal bell tower which suggests the Chinese culture of the parishioners. The church was burned during the British invasion of 1872. Another one was quickly built following the occupation. Improvements were made in the 18th century but the edifice was again destroyed in the 1863 earthquake. It was rebuilt in the grandeur the remains on which we see today. Before the war, it was considered as one of the most beautiful churches in the country. Its bell tower was composed of five stories, octagonal in shape. At its top was a mirador (viewing window). This roof was destroyed during the 1863 earthquake.
American bombing on September 22, 1944 destroyed the structure. Everything including the archives of the parish were burned. Nothing was left behind except the stone walls of the church and the fire-tiered octagonal belltower. After the war, Binondo parishioners had to make do with a roofless church for several years until it was rebuilt in the 1950s.
The present church and convent was renovated between 1946 and 1971.
This church was built and administered by the Jesuits up to 1768. Adjoining was the Jesuit College of San Ildefonso, founded by Governor Alfonso Fajardo dela Tenza on Jan 9, 1724. The titular patroness of the church is Nuestra Señora del Pilar, whose statue was brought from Spain prior to 1765. The confraternity of Nuestra Señora del Pilar was canonically founded in this church in 1743. On the surrounding plaza the british returned the city of Manila to Simon de Anda Y Salazar in 1764.
This is the written on a stone marker in front of the Church.