Only in the Philippines: Shrine Dedicated to 7 Archangels in the Heart of Manila
Christa De La Cruz
One of the prayers we learned as a child is the one addressed to our guardian angels. Who can forget, "Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day, be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen."?
Often believed to be intermediaries between Heaven and Earth or messengers of God, we often see them in our imaginations as human-like beings in a white robe, with a halo, and having bird-like wings on their backs. They are also sometimes portrayed as cherubs (cute babies with small wings).
These supernatural creatures or spirits cross through borders—the division of religions, between mythologies, art in various forms, and pieces of literature. ABS-CBN has even come up with an inspirational series titled "Nathaniel," also the name of the angel "who has a mission to return to Earth and restore the belief of humanity in God and remind them about the innate goodness that everyone possesses in their hearts."
With such a strong belief, it is no wonder that the Philippines houses the only shrine in the world dedicated to the seven archangels: Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, Saint Raphael, Saint Uriel, Saint Selatiel, Saint Jhudiel, and Saint Barachiel.
The National Shrine of Saint Michael and the Archangels, also known as San Miguel Church, was first constructed in 1603 by the Jesuits in Paco, Manila. It was dadly damaged by an earthquake in 1645 and was rebuilt in 1913 with its current European Baroque architecture.
When Manila was destroyed by World War II, San Miguel Church served as the temporary cathedral (or pro-cathedral) of the Archdiocese of Manila while the Manila Cathedral was undergoing restoration from 1946 to 1958. The church became a national shrine in 1986.
- The Marcoses got married in San Miguel Church on May 1, 1954.
- Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes, Manila's first Filipino archbishop, was first entombed in the Shrine before being transferred to the Manila Cathedral.
- Also buried in San Miguel are the remains of Don Enrique M. Barreto, founder of San Miguel Brewerey, and Don Domingo Roxas, patriarch of the Zóbel-de Ayala-Roxas-Soriano clans.
Who are the Archangels?
The Archangels belong to the 8th rank of angels in what they call the angelic hierarchy. They are believed to have higher responsibilities than the angels.
Who is Your Archangel?
Just right outside the church doors is a small stall where you can meet your archangel, or at least, know his name. You only need to know your date of birth. (Of course, you do!) This has a corresponding day of the week and the corresponding name of your archangel.
So, the next time you're in Manila, drop by San Miguel Church and have a meet & greet with your angel!
San Miguel Church or the National Shrine of St. Michael and the Archangels is located at 1000 J.P. Laurel corner Gen. Solano St., San Miguel, Manila.