Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Cebu City

4.4
#7 of 18 in Historic Sites in Cebu City
Religious Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, officially known as the Metropolitan Cathedral and Parish of Saint Vitalis and of the Immaculate Conception (dedicated to Mary, under her title, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and to Saint Vitalis of Milan), is the ecclesiastical seat of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Cebu in Cebu, Philippines. Cebu was established as a diocese on August 14, 1595. It was elevated as a metropolitan archdiocese on April 28, 1934, with the dioceses of Dumaguete, Maasin, Tagbilaran, and Talibon as suffragans. Before being raised as a primatial church in Cebu, the church was one of the first churches in the Philippines (besides the Basilica del Santo Niño) dedicated to St. Vitalis and built near the fort in April 1565 by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, Fray Andrés de Urdaneta and Fray Diego de Herrera.
Construction of the cathedral took many years due to frequent interruptions, brought about by lack of funds and other unexpected events. At one time, funds meant for the building of the cathedral were diverted to the Moro wars. 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 of Spanish colonial churches in the country, namely, squat and with thick walls to withstand typhoons and other natural calamities. The facade features a trefoil-shaped pediment, which 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, reflecting perhaps the contribution of the Spanish monarch to its construction.

During World War II, much of the cathedral was destroyed by Allied bombings of the city. Only the belfry (built in 1835), the façade, and the walls remained. It was quickly rebuilt in the 1950s under the supervision of architect Jose Ma. Zaragosa, during the incumbency of Archbishop Gabriel Reyes.

In 1982, a mausoleum was built at the back of the sacristy at the initiation of Archbishop Julio Cardinal Rosales. It serves as a final resting place for the remains of Cebu's bishops and clergy. Cardinal Rosales, who died three months after inauguration of the mausoleum, is interred there along with Archbishop Manuel Salvador, a coadjutor archbishop of Cebu, Archbishop Mariano Gaviola, the archbishop of Lipa (1981–1993), and most recently, Cardinal Rosales' successor, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal. The remains of Bishop Juan Bautista Gorordo, the first Filipino and Cebuano bishop of Cebu, are also interred there.

The cathedral was renovated for the 75th anniversary celebration on April 28, 2009, of the elevation of Cebu into an archdiocese. An application is pending at the Vatican for the cathedral's elevation into a minor basilica in honor of St. Vitalis, an early Christian martyr. His feast day coincides with the day the image of the Sto. Niño de Cebu was found almost 450 years ago, as well as the anniversary of the elevation of Cebu into an archdiocese.

The present cathedral rector and moderator of the team of pastors is Reverend Monsignor Ruben C. Labajo, P.C., who was appointed in 2014. He succeeded Msgr. Roberto F. Alesna, P.A., who was named moderator of the team of pastors of the Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of Saint Therese in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

Endowed with the status of a full-fledged parish, the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral comprises the civil barangays of Tinago, San Roque, Santo Niño, T. Padilla, Day-as, Tejero, and Parian, all located in the southeastern and downtown area of Cebu City.

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Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral reviews

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  • Along the way going to Yap Sandiego Ancestral House we approach by this church its a quiet place and also nearby church by Sto. Nino Church. A good place for Pilgrimage.  more »
  • Located near the Basilica, this was the second Catholic Church that I visited on a Sunday morning. I like its intricate facades, the bells. the flowering gardens and the statue of Jesus...  more »
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  • Reconnect with God and find peace within your soul. Thank him for all He has done. May it be good or bad, it is beneficial to you. He's always up there, watching over you. Here, you can find your perfect peace to pray. You will be enlightened by the elaborate architecture of the church.
  • Beautiful church both inside and out. The aesthetic is very pleasing and warm. There is a golden warmth that envelopes the entire place and the sound resonates beautifully throughout the church
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