Since I’ve featured Iloilo City’s Jaro Belfry more than 2 years ago, I guess now it’s time to do a post about the belfry’s associated church itself, the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral (Wikipedia article). I’ve said before that the Jaro Belfry is among the minority of belltowers that stand apart from its church. In Jaro’s case, its church and belfry is probably the farthest apart in the country.
Anyway, the Jaro Cathedral, being a cathedral, means that it is the seat of a diocese, and since it is a metropolitan cathedral, it additionally signifies that the diocese is an archdiocese, namely the Archdiocese of Jaro, and has suffragan dioceses under it, which are the dioceses of San Jose de Antique, Bacolod, Kabankalan, and San Carlos. The archdiocese is one of the oldest in the country and was once under the See of Manila.
The cathedral is officially called the Parish of Our Lady of Candles (Nuestra Señora de Candelaria) whose feast day is on February 2. The statue of the Virgin Mary above the entrance, according to Wikipedia, was canonically crowned by Pope John Paul II in 1982 and is supposedly the only religious image in the country to receive such an honor. She has also been designated as the patroness of Western Visayas. In addition, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary is also another patron saint of the parish.
Finally, according to the marker on the church placed by the National Historical Institute, this church is where Iloilo’s preeminent son, Graciano López Jaena, was baptized.