Tuesday, June 13, 2017


La Purisima Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Parish Church (also The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary Parish Church), commonly known as Baclayon Church, is a Roman Catholic Church in the municipality of Baclayon, Bohol, Philippines within the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tagbilaran. Baclayon was founded by the Jesuit priest Juan de Torres and Gabriel Sánchez in 1596, and became the oldest Christian settlement in Bohol. It was elevated as a parish in 1717 and the present coral stone church was completed in 1727. The Augustinian Recollects succeeded the Jesuits in 1768 and heavily renovated the church since then.

The church was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Together with the churches of MaragondonLoboc and Guiuan, the Baclayon Church was formerly included for the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List of the Philippines since 1993 under the collective group of Jesuit Churches of the Philippines. When a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Bohol and other parts of Central Visayas in 2013, the church building sustained major damage.

In 1717, Baclayon was elevated as a parish. The present stone church constructed under the Jesuits was finished in 1727. When the Jesuits were expelled in the country in 1768, the Augustinian Recollects immediately succeeded them in the late part of the same year in administering the spiritual needs of the people of Baclayon. Renovations on the church was done during the administration of Father Pedro de la Encarnación, OAR (1839–1854), Father Antonio Úbeda, OAR (1856–1859, 1861–1868) and Father José María Cabañas, OAR (1870–1898). The church was saved from destruction that might be brought by American soldiers in exchange for food and water in 1901. During the Second World War, the church suffered damages but was later restored. From being part of Baclayon, BalilihanAlburquerqueCorella and Sikatuna became independent parishes in 1829, 1869, 1884 and 1914 respectively. Although it survived damages and was eventually restored, the church of Baclayon was heavily damaged when an earthquake struck Bohol on October 15, 2013.


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