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Manila Cathedral, Manila Overview

Situated in the Plaza Roma in the walled city of Intramuros, Manila Cathedral is the main Roman Catholic church and Basilica in Metro Manila, Philippines. Officially known as the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Manila, who is regarded as the Roman Catholic Primate of the Philippines. There have been seven previous churches that have been rebuilt on the site which were earlier destroyed by earthquakes, fires and war etc. The present church which was completed in 1958, is the eighth church to have been built at the same spot.

Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception which is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the church was initially a parish church under Archdiocese of Mexico in 1571 and it later became a separate diocese in 1579.

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Architecture of Manila Cathedral

Built in a Romanesque Revival or Neo-Romanesque style of architecture, Manila Cathedral features a magnificent cupola, stained glass windows and elaborate frescoes and mosaics. Some of the beautiful walls have been restored from the massive destruction that hit the cathedral in 1945. The ornate facade is also a replica of the seventh church that preoccupied the current structure. The current statues and busts that adorn the place are also replicas from the previous copies. However, the present ones are carved out of Roman travertine stone while the earlier ones were made in molave wood. In addition to that, the massive organ has 4500 pipes which has been made in the Netherlands. The bells in the bell tower weigh around 17 metric tons and they boast of being the largest bell activity in the Philippines.

History of Manila Cathedral

The history of Manila Cathedral can be traced back to 1571-79 when the original parish church was built here under the diocese of Mexico and was named the Church of Manila. In 1581, the Church of Manila was demolished and the very first Manila Church was built and consecrated at the site in 1581. But very soon after, just a year later in 1582, the church was damaged by a massive typhoon and unfortunately it was completely destroyed in 1582 by a horrible fire. Over the years, seven other structures were also built. Finally the current structure was completed and consecrated in 1945. Most of the features and walls and windows are restores from the earlier styles while other structures like the sculptures and statues were replicated.

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