The cathedral for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila is a minor basilica in the capital of the Philippines. The cathedral, located within the centuries-old section of Manila called Intramuros, is the seat of the Archbishop of Manila. Having been destroyed several times by natural disasters and fires during its 400-year history, the current structure standing was completed in 1958, the cathedral’s sixth incarnation. It is dedicated to Saint Mary under the title Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the Philippines.
The first cathedral, made of nipa and bamboo, was constructed in 1581. It was damaged by a typhoon in 1582 and razed by fire in 1583.
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 magnificent 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 1959.
The fifth cathedral was constructed from 1870–1879. It was solemnly blessed in December of 1879. The cross atop the central dome is a reference point of astronomical longitudes of the archipelago. 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 Manila Archbishop Rufino Jiao Cardinal Santos, and under the supervision of architect Fernando Ocampo. It was elevated to the rank of minor basilica in 1981 by Pope John Paul II. (Source: Wikipedia)
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