Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Catherine of Alexandria
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About Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Catherine of Alexandria

The church of St. Catherine of Alexandria in Carcar, Cebu is already 124 years old and is among the great wonder and treasure of the town. It is not clear in the history records as to who built the church but it must be observed that the Augustinian friars were in charge of the parishes from San Nicolas up to Tañon and from then on.


Fr. Antonio Maglano became the parish priest of Carcar on October 16, 1858, he began the construction of the present day church a year later. The construction lasted for six years since it was left unfinished by the succeeding friars. At that time St. Catherine’s already had three naves. The style was patterned after the “mujedar” in Spain, comprising of two bells. With an onion-shaped tip. Nine years later, Fr. Manuel Rubio Fernandez from Asturias, Spain became the parish priest and continued the construction which was finished after two years.

St. Catherine’s Church holds unprecedented history. Inspired by the Graeco-Roman style, with strong Muslim influence, the church is made of masonry with one main nave and two aisles. The nave measures 68 meters long, 22 meters wide, and 12 meters high. The main entrance has a double arch design inviting attention in the massive rectangular façade. The twin bell towers of solid geometric pylons, act as buttresses but are integrated as part of the façade. The twin bell towers end up at the third level in the minaret shape common to Muslim mosques.

The only embellishments that have been provided are the geometric flora on the spandrels, the blind rose window below the upper recessed arch and the carved Augustinian symbol above it. The simplicity of the design of the facade is countered by the complex pattern of the upper-story of the Muslim like bell tower and the Baroque pediment. It is noticeable that all the twelve apostles were carved in white except for Judas, which was done in black.

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Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Santa Catalina, Carcar City, Cebu

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