Wednesday, April 25, 2012

8 Great Churches of Intramuros: San Francisco Church

San Francisco Church


The San Francisco Church was the mother church of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), or simply known as the "Franciscans", the most prominent group of the Franciscan Order. Located along Calle Solana cor. Calle San Francisco, the church was considered as one of Intramuros' best.


San Francisco Church, late 1800s or early 1900s.
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Showing the side facade of the San Francisco Church
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The Franciscans were the second religious Order to arrive in the country in 1578. They were welcomed wholeheartedly by the Augustinians. The first church, which was dedicated to the Our Lady of Angels, was built using bamboo and nipa materials. In 1583, fire struck Manila and destroyed the church. A new church made out of stone was constructed in 1602 but was severely damaged during the 1645 earthquake that rocked the city. It remained in ruins until the third church was built in 1738. In 1863, another earthquake damaged the church's roof and the capilla mayor (main chapel) and it had to be repaired. Some accounts say that the church had a bell tower but was damaged in 1824 because of another earthquake and it wasn't rebuilt. Perpendicular to the church is the Chapel of the Franciscan Venerable Third Order.


Statue of St. Anthony of Padua and the church's front facade.
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Original church marker from the Historical Research and Markers Committee, 1935.
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"This church had a retablo-like façade. decorated with superpositioned Ionic and Corinthian columns. Windows, niches with statues, balustrades completed the design. The church as it survived to the 20th century did not have a prominent bell tower, instead two protruding decorative piers flanked the façade."


Devotees of St. Anthony of Padua gather in the plaza.
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Original plaque on the statue's pedestal.
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The church's plaza. Notice the street sign "SOLANA" on the right.
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The church was the home for the devotion to St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of the poor. There was a statue of St. Anthony in front of the church facing the plaza. The statue is now located in the courtyard of the Sanctuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati. 


San Francisco Church destroyed after the Liberation of Manila, 1945.
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Yes, you've guessed it right! The church was badly damaged after the war and was not rebuilt. The shell of the church was still standing but it was bulldozed to pave way for future development. It's really unfortunate that they demolished the ruins because even if destroyed, the ruins looked majestic. It should have been preserved like the ruins of St. Paul in Macao which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The Mapua Institute of Technology presently occupies the site. The Franciscans found its new home in San Francisco del Monte in Quezon City.

2 comments:

  1. It is sad to know that most of our beautiful buildings and churches were destroyed during the war.

    ReplyDelete
  2. GOD ALMIGHTY BLESS THE PRESERVATION EFFORTS OF OUR CHURCH LEADERS... AMEN AND AMEN

    ReplyDelete