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Santa Cruz Church Manila

  • Santa Cruz Catholic Church is located in the northern District of Santa Cruz of the City of Manila, near the mouth of the river, between the districts of Tondo and Quiapo.
  • Prior to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors to the Philippine Islands, the district of Santa Cruz was partly a marshland and some rural agriculture.
  • A Spanish expedition in 1581 claimed the territory and awarded to the Society of Jesus '' the Jesuits ''. Here the Jesuits built the first Roman Catholic Church on June 20, 1619 and administered it until 1768. Adjoining the Church was the Jesuit College of San Ildefonso founded in 9th January 1724. The titular patroness of this Church is Nuestra Senora Del Pilar. The Jesuits enshrined the statue image of her from Spain prior to 1763. The confraternity of Nuestra Senora Del Pilar was canonically founded in this Church in 1743.
  • On June 24, 1784, the King of Spain gave the deeds to about two square kilometers of land to the San Lazaro Hospital which served as a caring home for lepers in Manila at that time.
  • The suburbs were significantly occupied by Chinese, many of whom converted to Catholicism.
  • It was here on the surrounding Plaza that the British formally returned the City of Manila to Simon De Anday Salazar in 1764.



Santa Cruz Church 1619


  • Tourists visiting this church, like other religious buildings in Asia should look at the artifacts and art work and ask what am I looking at and why. Catholicism is no different than Hinduism or Buddhism in that the art and objects tell a story about the beliefs of those who practice their religious practices within these buildings. The building was built by Jesuits and the central image or object of attention is the statue image of the Virgin Mary standing upon a pillar. The meaning needs to be understood.