Friday, November 13, 2009

Binondo Church, Chinatown, Manila, 1902


Binondo Church is located in Manila's Chinatown at the western end of Ongpin Street, Binondo.

This church was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 to serve their Chinese converts to Christianity. The original building was destroyed by a bombardment by the British in 1762 during their brief occupation of Manila at that time.

The current granite church was completed on the same site in 1852 and features an octagonal bell tower which suggests the Chinese culture of the parishioners.

Binondo Church was greatly damaged during the Second World War, although fortunately the western facade and the octagonal bell tower survived.


Binondo Church is also known as the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz. It was named after the sacristan, San Lorenzo Ruiz, who was born of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, trained in this church and afterwards went as a missionary to Japan and was executed there for refusing to renounce his religion.

San Lorenzo Ruiz was to be the Philippines' first saint and he was canonized in 1989. A large statue of the martyr stands in front of the church.

Masses are held in Filipino, in Chinese dialects (Mandarin, Hokkien), and in English.

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