The original structure of the Binondo Church, formally known as Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish or The Minor Basilica and National Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz, was constructed in 1596. Founded by Dominican friars, it is one of the oldest places of Christian worship in the Philippines. One of its significant early architects was Domingo de la Cruz González. Although repeatedly damaged from earthquakes (1645, 1863, 1880), typhoons and war the often rebuilt Binondo church still reflects its historic Spanish and European Baroque style and retains many elements of its original character. The octagonal bell tower, however, is the only significant remaining part of the original structure
Heavily damaged during the Second World War, the Binondo church was reconstructed in three phases and completed in 1984. A new three-story parish center and convent was added at the back of the church.. The most striking feature of the rebuilt interior is the more marble and gilded reredos depicting the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
The Spanish had barred Chinese from living within the walled city of the Intramuros, so they set roots north of the Pasig River. There the Filipino-Chinese Christians built their church on what is now Quitin Paredes Street at Plaza Calderon dela Barca. The numerous Chinese Christians in the community still provide much of the support for its maintenance. The neighborhood around the church remains Manila’s Chinatown with numerous “Old World” style Chinese stores, restaurants and banks—amidst the modernity of coffee and gift shops. A number of the buildings in the neighborhood managed to survive the extensive bombing of the Second World War.
St. Lorenzo Ruiz (c. 1600- 1637) was the son of a Chinese father and Filipina mother; both were Catholic. He initially served as an altar boy for the convent of the church and later served as a notary and clerk for the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. Falsely accused of murdering a Spaniard, in 1636 he took refuge on a ship that was sailing to Okinawa. Together with three Dominican priests on the ship, he was arrested, tortured and killed (he died September 19, 1637, in Nagasaki) without renouncing his faith. This occurred during intense persecution of Christians in Japan in the early Tokugawa period (although before the persecutions that followed the Shimabara uprising).
Pope John Paul II beatified him on February 18, 1981, in the first beatification to occur outside of the Vatican. Lorenzo Ruiz was canonized on October 18, 1987, and was the first Filipino saint.
(Text by Robert D. Fiala, Concordia University, Nebraska, USA).
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27 April 2010.
Nikon D60, 18-55 mm lens @ 18 mm, handheld, no flash, f/3.5, 1/30, ISO 800.
single file converted to 3 exposures in PS (-1, 0, 1).
tone mapped in Photomatix.
adjustments in PS.