Heritage Series: Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church (Guadalupe Church)

August 23, 2017

Learn about the history of Guadalupe Church, regarded as one of the most magnificent-looking churches in Metro Manila.

Guadalupe Church is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Metro Manila. It stands grand and its interiors are breathtaking,  Understandably so Guadalupe Church is one of the most sought-after churches around the city for weddings.

Facade of Guadalupe Church

Heritage Series: Nuestra Señora de Gracia (Guadalupe Church)

    Finding Guadalupe Church


    Guadalupe Church is hard to spot because it lies concealed in an inconspicuous segment of EDSA. Unless you are specifically looking for Guadalupe Church, chances are, you might not even have an idea that it's there because it's surrounded by shanties and obscured by giant billboards.

    Front of Guadalupe Church

    Anyway, Guadalupe Church is one of the churches that we considered when Khris and I were planning for our wedding. However, it was already booked on our preferred date so it didn't push through.

    To go to Guadalupe Church, if you are coming from Quezon City, a quick right turn in a narrow road right after Guadalupe Bridge will bring you to this hidden gem.

    History of Guadalupe Church


    Perched atop a hill, Guadalupe Church was built by the Augustinian friars, presided by Fray Juan de Montes de Oca, in the early 1600s and was completed after almost three decades of construction and a succession of friar administrators.

    Side of Guadalupe Church

    In the early 1600s, Our Lady of Guadalupe was designated as the patroness of the community, in honor of the Virgin Mother who was venerated in Spain. Decades later, devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe spread via the Manila-Acapulco trade. Devotees came all the way from Spain and Mexico to pay their respects to the Virgin Mary.

    Also known as Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church, Guadalupe Church is a Baroque Roman Catholic church. Viewed from its front, it looks like a massive stone fortress with thick stone walls.

    The church is a mélange of different architectural styles. The façade is Neo-Romanesque-Gothic with Doric columns holding the cornice and pediment. Throughout the exterior, there are also touches of Baroque and arabesque designs.

    Front and interior of Guadalupe Church

    Large side entrances allow a natural breeze to flow through the interiors of the church. Despite the large doorways, the interiors of the church seem impenetrable to sound, providing a respite from the noise and hustle of EDSA. It was a sanctuary. In fact, the property used to be a retreat house for the Manila clergy in the olden days.

    The Guadalupe Church also once served as a school, and an orphanage to give shelter to orphans of the victims of cholera that ravaged Manila in the late 1800s. It survived the Japanese Occupation, the Philippine-American War, and several earthquakes.

    Nowadays, the church, renowned for its splendor, is one of the most sought-after wedding venues in Metro Manila.

    The tale of Our Lady of Guadalupe


    The tale of Our Lady of Guadalupe began on December 19, 1531, when the Virgin Mary appeared before an elderly Mexican peasant named Juan Diego while on his way to church. The apparition happened at Tepeyac Hill where there once stood an Aztec Temple. 

    The Virgin instructed Juan to ask the bishop to build a church on the site where she appeared so that she may be visited by Mexicans who had petitions or who wanted to be healed.

    Juan approached the Bishop who, as expected, was in disbelief of his story. The Bishop dismissed Juan but he returned for the second time upon instructions of the Virgin.  On the second meeting, the Bishop asked for a sign to test if Juan was indeed selling the truth.

    Unfortunately, Juan was unable to return to the Bishop for 3 days because his uncle became seriously sick. When his uncle’s health took a turn out for the worse, Juan decided that it was time to get a priest. 

    On his way to the church, the Virgin appeared to Juan once again and told him to pick the flowers on top of Tepeyac Hill, the sign that the bishop asked for. He is to hide the flowers in his tilma, an outer garment worn by men until he arrived at the bishop. He did everything as instructed. 

    When Juan opened his tilma, the roses fell to the floor. However, both men were astounded the see the image of the Virgin Mother imprinted on the tilma. In the image, she appeared as a native princess with her head bowed and hands folded in prayer to God.

    Under her feet, is a great crescent moon, a symbol of the old Aztec religion, a message that is more powerful than the Aztec gods, yet she herself is not God.

    As an epilogue, a church was built in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Juan Diego's tilma, with a shelf-life of only around 30 years, remained miraculously preserved.

    On October 12, 1945, Pope Pius XII, decreed Our Lady of Guadalupe to be "Patroness of all the Americas." Her feast day is December 12, and it is a Holy Day of Obligation in Mexico.

    Epilogue


    Whenever I pass by Guadalupe bridge, I can't help but think about Guadalupe Church. I've only been here once but I found it hard to forget. Probably because I associate it with a happy memory which was the time when we were planning for our wedding.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading about the history of Guadalupe Church as well as Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    Have you even been to Guadalupe Church? If not, then you have to visit it to see its beauty for yourself.
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    6 comments

    1. good to see that there are still buildings like this that will remind us of the past. with the modernization of almost everything, nice to have the beauty of the past

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    2. I already read this blog. Isa sa itinuturing na pinakamagandang simbahan sa Metro Manila ang Guadalupe Church mahirap di itong hanapin dahil nakatago ito sa hndi kapansin pansin na segment ng EDSA.

      ReplyDelete
    3. I already read this blog. Isa sa itinuturing na pinakamagandang simbahan sa Metro Manila ang Guadalupe Church mahirap di itong hanapin dahil nakatago ito sa hndi kapansin pansin na segment ng EDSA.

      ReplyDelete
    4. I already read this blog. Isa sa itinuturing na pinakamagandang simbahan sa Metro Manila ang Guadalupe Church mahirap di itong hanapin dahil nakatago ito sa hndi kapansin pansin na segment ng EDSA.

      ReplyDelete
    5. Thank you for sharing dadi iv ng history ng Guadalupe Church grabe ang tagal niya na din po kaka amazed kahit luma na siya tingnan matibay pa din. Iba pa din talaga pag alam mo yung history ng mga old church dito sa atin.

      ReplyDelete
    6. Wow dbest po talaga to. Guadalupe Church is one of the Historical Church in the Philippines, sobrang Tagal nia nang nakatayo pero Hanggang Ngayon patuloy na Makikita yung Tibay ng pagkakagawa at marami paring nagpupunta dahil sa npaka Gandang History Nito ❤❤

      ReplyDelete

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