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Oldest Church In Mindanao Reopens After Two-Year Renovation

The faithful can now once again marvel at the priceless collections inside the San Salvador del Mundo Parish.

After two years of restoration work, the San Salvador del Mundo Parish in Davao Oriental reopens to the faithful. The church is the oldest Catholic Catholic church in Mindanao.

Built in the year 1883, the San Salvador del Mundo Parish is declared as a national historical site. Upon renovation it was turned over to the Diocese of Mati— “a dream come true” for the parishioners, said Most Reverend Bishop Abel Apigo. (Read: The 10 Oldest Churches In The Philippines)

“The day has finally come for the people of Caraga, for them to come and pray again inside the church. They have waited for the restoration. Making them happier is having a beautiful place of worship. The priceless collections that one can see inside speaks so much of the strong Catholic faith of the people,” Apigo said. (Read: The 500-Year History of Catholicism in the Philippines)

Religious Heritage

Photo from Brenda P. Milan / Davao Catholic Herald

In 2012, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) declared San Salvador del Mundo Parish as one of the country’s religious heritage and spent P20 million for its restoration and preservation. The town of Caraga, on the other hand, put up P2 million for the restoration of the sanitarium and baptistry.

“The restoration was a very meticulous process, based on the restoration guidelines of the agency. The walls were thoroughly cleaned and repaired, as well as the doors, windows, the roof, especially the corals,” says NHCP Executive Director Restituto Aguilar. “The Commission wanted to help the locality, the institution, and the parish so that it will remain preserved.” (Read: Notre Dame Cathedral to Be Restored Exactly the Way It Was Before)

Joint Undertaking

Photo from San Salvador del Mundo Parish – Caraga Facebook

Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang said that the church restoration of the San Salvador del Mundo Parish is a symbol of unity between the church and state and “is proof of a successful spiritual undertaking.”

“There will be more collaborations for the people,” he says. “In the province, we can boast of exchanges of support between the province and the Diocese, and the latest instance of support is evident in this time of the pandemic.”

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