SAN IGNACIO CHURCH
SAN IGNACIO CHURCH was the second church of the Jesuit Order to be built in Intramuros.
The Society of Jesus or Jesuits arrived in 1581, the third religious order to come to the country. The Jesuits had established missions and schools all over the Philippines before being expelled in 1768. Charles II had issued a decree banning the order from Spanish domains. A year before their return in 1859, they were granted a subsidy by the Spanish government to purchase a house and a small piece of land in the city. This became the CASA MISION or the Jesuit Mission House.
The idea of a church was discussed in 1876 with Archbishop Pedro Payo, O.P. (1876-1889). Work began for a new church in 1878.
The second San Ignacio Church was called sueño durado or “golden dream” by its architect Felix Roxas Sr.. The church was built under the direction of Fr. Francisco Riera, S.J.. In was neo-classical in style with two flanking towers and a small patio surrounded by wrought-iron grills.
The interior and furnishings were the handiwork of Filipino artisans. The bells and metal ornaments were made by ironworkers supervised by Hilarion Sunico. The marblework was by Francisco Rodoreda. Some 60 Filipino sculptors led by Isabelo Tampingco, Jr. filled the church with altars, pulpits, fluted pillars, ceilings and wall panels, figures of saints, and Stations of the Cross made of the finest Philippine hardwoods.
San Ignacio was consecrated in a week-long celebration in 1889. The festivities’ main attraction was the lighting of the church facade with electric lights -- a new technology at that time.
The church and the mission house remained unscathed in the fire of 1932 which destroyed the Ateneo.
Both structures were burned by Japanese troops in 1945. The gutted shell of the church was repaired and used as an office in the 1950s, but later abandoned. The lot and ruins became government property. Plans are underway for the restoration of the church and its use as an ecclesiastical museum for the IA collection.