Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is the ecclesiastical seat of the metropolitan archdiocese of Cebu. It is under the titulage of St. Vitalis, whose feast day on April 28 coincides with the very same day that the image of the Sto. Niño de Cebu, currently kept at a basilica nearby, was found almost 450 years ago, and the elevation of Cebu to an archdiocese.
Cebu was established as a diocese on August 14, 1595 and elevated to a metropolitan archdiocese on April 28, 1934 with the dioceses of Dumaguete, Maasin, Tagbilaran, and Talibon as suffragans.
Construction of the cathedral took long due to frequent interruptions brought about by lack of funds and other unexpected events. At one point in time, funds meant for the building of the cathedral were diverted to the moro wars in Mindanao. The death of an incumbent bishop who spearheaded the construction/reconstruction and vacancies in the office were also factors.
The architecture of the church is typical with baroque colonial churches in the country — squat, cruciform, and with thick walls to withstand typhoon and other natural calamities. The trefoil-shaped pediment is decorated with carved relieves of floral motifs, an IHS inscription and a pair of griffins. The Spanish Royal Coat of Arms is emblazoned in low relief above the main entrance owing perhaps to the contribution of the Spanish monarch to its construction. Much of the cathedral was destroyed by Allied bombings in World War II with only the belfry (built in 1835), the facade, and the walls remaining. It was quickly rebuilt in the 1950s under the supervision of Architect Jose Zaragosa during the incumbency of Archbishop Gabriel Reyes .
In 1982, a mausoleum was built at the back of the sacristy of the cathedral by then Archbishop Julio Cardinal Rosales. It serves as a final resting place for the mortal remains of Cebu’s bishops and clergy. Cardinal Rosales himself, who died three months after the mausoleum was inaugurated, is buried there along with Archbishop Manuel Salvador, coadjutor Archbishop of Cebu, and Archbishop Mariano Gaviola, Archbishop of Lipa. The bones of Bishop Juan Gorordo, the first Filipino and Cebuano bishop of Cebu, are also interred in the mausoleum.
The cathedral recently underwent a major renovation in time for the 75th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Cebu on April 28, 2009. A petition was also sent to Pope Benedict XVI for its elevation into a basilica minore in honor of St. Vitalis.

Source: Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

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