Tuesday, 11 March 2014

St. Pancratius Chapel

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Last year I had a chance to visit one of the oldest cemeteries in Asia, the La Loma Cemetery. I gave left flowers on the tombs of our heroes and I put flowers on the tombs that seemed to be forgotten by the departed's loved ones. As we were walking and putting flowers on random gravestones, I saw the St. Pancratius Chapel.

During last year's heritage summit, Mr. Ivan Henares said that there were rumors that this 100 year old chapel will be demolished soon.  I was hoping  that they will not push through with it.  Not again! I don't even understand the reasons behind the demolition. It is maybe because they wanted to make more space for mausoleums and toms or maybe they needed a newer and modern chapel for the cemetery. Despite of all that, demolition is not the only solution and there are other better alternatives that they can explore.

This chapel has witnessed wars and battles. The St. Pancratius may not be as big or as grand as other churches here in Manila but it played a big role in our history. It is one of the most beautiful and most ornamented chapels I have seen in Manila. 

I during World War II, 7 churches have been demolished by the Japanese during the war. Some churches outside of the walled city were either heavily damaged or demolished. This chapel luckily survived the war.

The 19th Century chapel of St. Pancratius, has already been commissioned with the construction of a modern parish church near the cemetery's new entrance.  The chapel was permanently locked since then, but every 1st and 2nd of November, the chapel is opened for a mass held inside.  The St. Panctiatius chapel served as a funeral chapel since its opening in 1884.  By the 1960's the church's services were transferred to the newly built St. Pancriatious chapel.  It also served as a fort by Filipino fighters during the Philippine-American War.

1 comment:

  1. Do they still hold masses there? I've never seen recent photos of its interiors.