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The Minor Basilica of the Holy Child (Spanish: Basílica Menor del Santo Niño; Italian: Basilica Minore del Santo Bambino) is a minor basilica in Cebu City in the Philippines that was founded in the 16th century. It is the oldest Roman Catholic church established in the country, purportedly built on the spot where the image of the Santo Niño de Cebú, a statue depicting the Holy Child Jesus was found in 1565 by Spanish explorers led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. The image is the same statue given by Ferdinand Magellan to the wife of Rajah Humabon as a gift over forty years before after Humabon’s baptism to Christianity on April 14, 1521. It was found by a soldier preserved in a burnt wooden box after Legazpi razed the village of hostile natives.
The present building, which was completed from 1739-1740, has been the sanctuary of the oldest religious image in the country ever since. A full schedule of masses from 5:00 am to 12:00 midnight are held every Friday at the basilica for devotees of the Holy Child Jesus and followers of novena.
The church of the Holy Child was founded by an Augustinian priest, Rev Andrés de Urdaneta on April 28, 1565. The first church and convent were built out of earth, hard wood and nipa. Both structures burned down of November 1, 1566. In 1605, Rev. Pedro Torres started the construction of its replacement. The second church was completed in 1626, but it was also destroyed by fire in March of 1628. It was rebuilt immediately under the administration of Rev. Juan de Medina. This time it was built using stone and bricks, but the construction was stopped because of problems with the integrity of the bricks being used.
Fernando Valdés y Tamon, the Spanish governor of the Philippines, ordered the church in 1735 to be constructed of hard stone, which was built in the same spot were the previous churches stood. Father Provincial Bergaño, Governor-General Fernando Valdes, Bishop Manuel Antonio Decio y Ocampo of Cebu and Rev. Juan de Albarran, Prior of the Santo Niño, started the foundations of the church on February 29, 1735. The construction was designed and led by Rev. Juan de Albarran, and it was completed in 1739 or 1740. The convent and library were later added and completed in 1764.
In 1965, during the fourth centenary of the Christianization of the Philippines, Pope Paul VI elevated the church to the rank of minor basilica. The basilica remains under the care of the Order of St. Augustine. – From wikipedia.org