Sunday, June 5, 2011

Santa Cruz, Manila Church and Santa Cruz District

A visit to the Carriedo Fountain would naturally lead you to Santa Cruz Church. Online readings revealed to me that the church is actually situated within Plaza Lacson while the Carriedo Fountain is located within Plaza de Santa Cruz. A note outside the church says that on the surrounding plaza, Manila was returned by the British (after the brief British invasion) to Simon de Anda y Salazar in 1764. So that would be in Plaza Lacson.

* the façade of the Santa Cruz Church

* another look at the church’s façade

* the church’s bell tower; notice the diminishing radius of each of the tower’s level

* the side wall of the church; notice the big buttresses at the far end of the photo

* the church within – the marble retablo

* wall supports; not as elaborate unlike in other churches

* candle stands found as one enters the church

As to its origins, it was constructed and overseen by the Jesuits until 1768 when the Jesuits were expelled from the archipelago. Dominicans then took over the administration of the church. Adjacent to the church was the Jesuit College of San Ildefonso. It was founded on January 9, 1724 by Alfonso Fajardo dela Tenza. The Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar) is the patroness of the church. The confraternity named after the patroness was founded canonically on 1743.

During the liberation of Manila in 1945, the church was heavily damaged. Benito Legarda Jr.’s book, Occupation: The Later Years, shows a photo of the destroyed church. So Wikipedia’s entry on Santa Cruz, Manila needs some revision for the article implies that the church along with other buildings was spared from destruction after the Japanese, aware of the coming attack of the Americans, abandoned the area.

* another candle stand, this one is found on a side chapel

* silhouette and stained-glass window

* prayers and hopes written for the saints

* La Pieta; found inside a side chapel

* a cross composed of small carvings, most likely of the Stations of the Cross
or scenes during Jesus’ ministry

* Jesus after the crucifixion

* Jesus bearing his cross, this photo evokes an atmosphere of reflection

Regarding the district of Manila, I found a short note about the place in Ma. Soledad Lacson-Locsin’s version of Noli Me Tangere. It was said that Santa Cruz was the cradle of the first Manila artist – jewelers, sculptors, engravers, painters, musicians, goldsmiths, aesthetes, lyricists, among others. I could only imagine what Santa Cruz looked like at that time. It must have impressive to see those shops on every street. Another note said that the different images of saints paraded in the provinces mostly came from Santa Cruz. The place was more than a hub for artists; it was an artist’s paradise. Today of course the district’s streets are always busy and noisy and one has to invoke a little imagination to appreciate the beauty that once dwelt (or perhaps still dwells) within Santa Cruz.

Agoncillo, Teodoro A. History of the Filipino People. 8th Ed. GAROTECH Publishing, 1990.
Rizal, Jose. Noli Me Tangere. Translated by Ma. Soledad Lacson-Locsin. Edited by Raul L. Locsin. Bookmark, 1996.

[How to go to Santa Cruz Church, Manila: From Gil Puyat LRT Station, you can ride the LRT and drop off at Carriedo LRT Station. A short walk from the station would bring you to Sta. Cruz Church.]

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