San Sebastian Church

San Sebastian ChurchThe San Sebastian Church is a Roman Catholic church located in Manila, Philippines. Also known as Basilica Minore de San Sebastian, it is the seat of the Parish of San Sebastian as well as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Aside from that, it is also known for its unique architectural features.

San Sebastian Church History

The San Sebastian Church that exists today is actually not the original church that stands on the site. There was previously a church that stood on the same site during the early 1600’s. The original church was made of wood that burned down in 1651during a Chinese uprising. There were other churches that preceded in but were also destroyed by natural calamities.

It was during the 1880’s that then parish priest of the ruined San Sebastian church approached a Spanish architect by the name of Genaro Palacios in order to plan a more sturdy and durable structure that can withstand fire as well as earthquakes that have destroyed the previous edifices. It was during this time that the plan to build a church made out of steel was suggested.

San Sebastian Church Construction

Genaro Palacios went on to design a church made out of steel as the parish priest had planned a more durable structure. The steel used for the church was prefabricated from Binche, Belgium and were shipped section by section to the Philippines from Belgium. The first column was erected in September 11, 1890. The walls were filled with a gravel and cement mixture. Stained glass windows were imported from Germany and with local artisans adding the missing touches on the all steel church. It was eventually completed on august 16, 1891.

San Sebastian Church Features

The San Sebastian Church is considered to be the only all-steel church found in Asia. It is also said to be the very first pre-fabricated building in the world, if not the only pre-fab steel church in the world. It has two openwork towers and steel vaulting. It stands thirty two meters high from the floor to the tip of the spires.

The church itself follows a mix of Baroque and Neo-Gothic architectural style. The church interior amply displays its Gothic architectural style influences. It can be evident in the groined vaults up to the design of the pulpit, altars and the confessionals inside the church. And true to its design, the San Sebastian Church has withstood various earthquakes and fires that had consumed its predecessors. But the current threat to the structure of the church may be the rust and corrosion that has beset its steel parts.

 

 

 
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