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Built Heritage

Saints Peter and Paul Parish

Category: Built Heritage
Sub-category: Religious
Barangay: District 1-29 (Poblacion)
History: The formal Christian evangelization of Ormoc started in the year 1597 with the arrival of the Jesuits who founded the church of Ormoc under the heavenly protection of the apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul. Overcoming difficulties the early missionaries ventured into a systematic task of introducing Christianity to the communities in around present-day Ormoc even establishing a visita as far as Baybay. The Jesuit presence in Ormoc ended with their expulsion from the country in 1768. That same year the Augustinians took over the Jesuit mission in Ormoc and in their town administration of Palompon (becoming a vista of Palompon) until their eventual departure from Leyte in 1834, handling the administration of the parishes in the western side to the Diocesan Clergy of Cebu (and those in the East to the Franciscans). Soon after, the parish of Ormoc was re-established in 1850 with the secular priests belonging to the Diocese of Cebu. Throughout these years there has been a continued presence of the Christian community who have constantly invoked the divine protection and the intercession of her heavenly patrons, Sts. Peter and Paul. This year, 2013 marks the 416th year of the annual celebration in honor of these two pillars of the church. The present-day church of the parish of Sts. Peter and Paul dates its original foundation and expanded throughout the centuries. The present structure emerged after the bombings and destruction during the Second World War. The sanctuary and its original altar (with the twin five foot images of Sts. Peter and Paul right at the center on the upper portion of the altar and their images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary flanking on the side of the apse) have been renovated in the mid 1960’s right after the second Vatican Council to demands of the new liturgy. The old altar was torn down to give way to freestanding altar at the center of the sanctuary, and bigger six- foot gothic images clearly visible from the entrance of the church replaced the original images of the patrons at the upper of the apse. In the 1980’s images of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart were once again taken down. The year 2007 saw the construction of a new reredos (or retablo) in the sanctuary. The images and their positions were retained, but now closed in baroque altarpiece. In 2013, the desire to enhance the present day altarpiece (for sake of artistic harmony and iconography authenticity) and the need to retrieve this historical patrimony of the church led to the decision to replace the image of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart on the left. However the newly refurbished images of Sts. Peter now holds a miniature of a church (upon Peter the church was built) also points to the future look of the parish church with dome on top and a portico up from. All these have been accomplished with a fervent faith and the belief that structures images and symbols of the church do aid in the encounter between God and his people.
Physical Description: The Sts. Peter and Paul church of Ormoc City is described as an old church that is made of stone blocks whose floor area followed the shape of a cross, with the top of the church being the part that had the altar and sacristy. The middle section had a dome for ceiling, painted with religious figures and icons, but the roof had a square base. Under the roof was a catwalk that was accessible to whoever was brave to explore the area. The frontage was sparse in its ornamentation, and its door was made up unadorned thick hard wood that has an iron bolt. But on each side was gargoyle-like figure that guarded the entrance, craved from stone. Above the door just below the roof were tree stone cherubs. To the left side of the entrance was the belfry. The windows had stained glass of different colors. Church benches were donated by Ormocanon families, in diverse designs, their names into each bench. Every 29th of June, the parishioners celebrate its feast day. The festival is commemorated not just in this city, but the entire province. For Catholics, their beliefs to Sts. Peter and Paul becomes stronger that is why everyone gives value to it. It is through the church that people attend worship services, spiritual fellowship and give service to others heartily. Above all, the importance of faith in God is shown in this sacred place. Measurements of Saints Peter and Paul Parish - Floor to Ceiling 8.28 meters - Altar to main entrance 68.70 meters - The wings of the church 37.40 meters - Side doors H- 2.82 meters W- 2.40 meters - Window H- 2.07 meters W- 1.6 meters - Main Window W- 2.9 meters H- 4.1meters

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