QUEZON CITY, Oct 5, 2012?The Sto. Domingo Church, one of the tallest and largest churches in the country, was declared on October 4 a national cultural treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines.
“Outstanding cultural significance”
Following more than a year of assessment by a panel of experts, the church with its centerpiece image of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, also known as Nuestra Señora del Santissimo Rosario, La Naval de Manila, was deemed “of outstanding cultural significance”.
Jeremy Robert Barns, Director IV of the National Museum of the Philippines, officially confirmed the church as a national cultural treasure by signing declaration 4, series of 2012, last night after a special 6 p.m. mass to celebrate the event.
Before the signing, National Museum Asst. Director Ana Maria Labrador read the declaration, which cited invaluable artistic works in the church like Galo Ocampo’s stained glass windows, depicting the mysteries of the holy rosary; murals painted by National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco, which showed the life of St. Dominic de Guzman, as well as reliefs by Italian sculptor Francesco Riccardo Monti, who resided in the Philippines for a time.
Precious liturgical objects housed in the Museo Sto. Domingo like crucifixes, images and relics of saint, vestments and vessels are also considered “movable cultural properties” that enhance the cultural and historical significance of the church.
Home of faith
After the mass, Fr. Giuseppe Pietro Arsciwals, OP, Prior of the Convent of Sto. Domingo talked about how the church became a “tahanan ng pananampalataya ng mga Pilipino” (home of faith for Filipinos) since its construction in the 16th century.
Originally built within the walls of Intramuros, Manila, the church became a training ground for missionaries who would be sent to other parts of Asia.
It also became the official home of the miraculous image of Our Lady of La Naval starting in 1588.
Angel Bautista, Curator II of the Cultural Properties Division of the National Museum, said, “This church is priceless, symbol of identity and unity. And it must be preserved for the future generations.”
The image of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary will have a grand procession on October 14. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]