The pre-1863 earthquake Catedral de Manila located in Plaza Mayor in Intramuros. This photo is part of a collection discovered by the Hispanic Society of America in 2007 known as the Manila Daguerrotypes. The daguerrotypes were believed to be the oldest photos in the Philippines. #ArquitecturaMNL #VivaManila
*Photo courtesy of Nicholas Torrontegui of Manila Nostalgia
The cathedral originally started as the Church of Manila and was officially established in 1571 by a secular priest, Padre Juan de Vivero, who arrived in Manila Bay in 1566. De Vivero, the chaplain on the galleon of San Geronimo, was sent by the Archbishop of Mexico, Alonso de Montúfar, to establish Christianity as the spiritual and religious administration in newly colonized Philippines. De Vivero later became the vicar-general and the first ecclesiastical judge of the city of Manila.
Spanish Conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi chose the location of the church and placed it under the patronage of Santa Potenciana. The first parish priest of the church was Padre Juan de Villanueva.
When the church was raised to a cathedral in 1579, a new structure made from nipa, wood and bamboo was constructed in 1581 by Bishop Domingo de Salazar, the first Bishop of Manila. The new structure was consecrated on December 21, 1581, formally becoming a cathedral. The structure was destroyed by fire in 1583, which started during the funeral Mass for Governor-General Gonzalo Ronquillo de Peñalosa in San Agustin Church that razed much of the city.
The second cathedral, which was made of stone, was built in 1592. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1600. Construction of the third cathedral began in 1614. The new structure, consisting of three naves and seven chapels, was blessed in 1614. It was toppled by another earthquake which shook Manila in 1645. The fourth cathedral was constructed from 1654 to 1671.
It was severely damaged in 1863 by a very strong earthquake that also damaged the palace of the Governor General of the Philippines. In 1880, another earthquake toppled its bell tower, rendering the cathedral towerless until 1958.
The seventh cathedral was constructed from 1870 to 1879. It was solemnly blessed in December 1879. The cross atop the central dome is a reference point of astronomical longitudes of the archipelago.
In 1937, the International Eucharistic Congress was held in the Philippines in which the cathedral played an integral part in promoting eucharistic beliefs. Both a cathedral stamp and medal was struck in commemoration of the event and was made by the official manufacturer of medals for the Congress of the Philippines at the time, the sculptor Crispulo Zamora.
This incarnation of the cathedral was reduced to rubble by the bombing in 1945 during the Battle of Manila.
The present cathedral was constructed from 1954 to 1958 during the tenure of Cardinal Rufino Jiao Santos and under the supervision of the notable Filipino architect Fernando H. Ocampo.
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