After our quick visit to San Bartolome Apostol Parish in Nagcarlan, Laguna, we headed next to Saint John the Baptist church in Liliw. We also had our lunch in the White House Bistro 1938, an ancestral house that was converted into a Filipino Cuisine restaurant. We continued our pilgrimage in Laguna and headed next to Majayjay. Here, we visited another old yet beautiful church dedicated to Saint Gregory the Great. The last time I went to the town of Majayjay is when I visited their popular Dalitiwan spring resort.
Interestingly, Majayjay almost share the same history with the Nagcarlan Church. When the Spaniards arrived in Laguna and started colonizing the towns in 1571, they arrived in this place situated at the foot of Mount Banahaw that was called by the locals as Malay Barangay, a name that was eventually changed to Majayjay. When the Franciscans arrived in the town in 1571, they built the first church out of light materials like nipa and bamboo and dedicated it under the patronage of San Gregorio Magno (Saint Gregory the Great). The church, however, was destroyed by fire in 1576. In 1578, Franciscans Fathers led by Padre Juan De Plasencia (one of the first Franciscan friars who arrived in the country and the author behind the Doctrina Christiana) and Padre Diego Oropesa started to evangelize the town and a new church was built that same year. However, it took 16 years before the town had its first parish priest.
Father Antonio Nombela was assigned in Majayjay in 1594. Five years later (1599), the construction of the stone church has started. It was, however, temporarily postponed after the makeshift church was burned in 1606. Construction of the stone church was resumed in 1616 and was completed in 1649. Since then, the church went through several mishaps over the years and went through a series of rehabilitation. The longest construction took place in 1711 and took 19 years to complete (1730).
On completion in 1730, the church became the biggest in the Philippines. A century later, the stone church was destroyed by typhoon and was repaired in 1839, 1842 and 1848 respectively. The roof was replaced with galvanized iron in 1892 under the supervision of Father Gregorio Platero. During the American occupation, the church served as headquarters of the American army but it was also utterly destroyed during the Spanish and American Revolution and was repaired again in 1912.
The most recent rehabilitation took place in 1954 with the help of the National Conservation Society of the Philippines and in 2001, the church was declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum.
Majayjay Church features a very old-looking Romanesque-style façade built with red adobe bricks similar to churches in Liliw and Nagcarlan. The three tiered facade features multiple niches and a triangular pediment with a single circular niche. The niches contain images of the four evangelists; (bottom tier) Saint John and Saint Luke; (middle tier) Saint Mark and Saint Matthew. The uppermost tier enshrines the images of Saint Peter, Saint Paul, and Saint Gregory the Great.
Liceo de Majayjay
The belfry of Majayjay church
Statue of Saint Mark
Statue of Saint Matthew
Saint Gregory the Great
A statue of the Immaculate Conception at the patio of the church
The main facade is also attached to a five-story high square bell tower on one side and the Liceo de Majayjay on the other. It is a Catholic school under the supervision of the local parish and the Diocesan Catholic School System of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Pablo.
The interior of Majayjay church
The interior of the church is equally mesmerizing. It contains a grand-looking retablo mayor and four other minor retablos with intricate designs.
The church features a three-tiered retablo mayor and four side altars. Interestingly, the church contains antique images of santos, reliquaries and century-old liturgical objects.
The topmost tier of the altar features images depicting the scenes of the Calvary. Next to it are the images of the Immaculate Conception an Saint Claire. The lowermost tier comes with niches enshrining images of Saint Anthony of Padua, San Diego de Alcala, and San Gregorio Magno.
Image of Immaculate Conception in one of the side altars
Image of Saint Joseph in one of the side altars
Sacred Heart of Jesus.
One of the antique bas reliefs that are displayed on the walls of the church. This one depicts the image of the Inmaculada Concepcion
Another bas relief depicting the Nativity
The grand altars of Majayjay church
The altar’s dome features beautiful and heavenly painting depicting the ascension and resurrection of Christ. You can also spot a pulpit near the altar with beautiful intricate details
Another amazing feature of Majayjay church is the beautiful choir loft. This huge swallow nest organ loft once had a real pipe organ.
The church also features a newly-installed digital pipe organ, the largest in the province of Laguna.
Historical marker of Majayjay church
Things You should know about Saint Gregory Parish of Majayjay Laguna
- The Church was founded in 1571 which makes it one of the oldest churches not just in Laguna but in the Philippines
- It was declared as National Cultural Treasure in 2001
- The town celebrates the SaGreMa Festival (San Gregorio Magno) every September 3 in commemoration of the Feast day of their patron saint.
- For mass schedules: Feel free to visit their Facebook page (San Gregorio Magno Parish)
This post is part of my Laguna Pilgrimage series 2022: Feel free to check the rest of my entries here:
- A Pilgrimage to Laguna 2022: Visiting 14 Beautiful Churches in Laguna
- White House Bistro 1938 – An Ancestral House Turned Restaurant in Liliw, Laguna
- La Resurreccion Parish in Victoria, Laguna
- Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery
- San Bartolome Apostol Parish – Nagcarlan, Laguna
- San Gregorio Magno Parish – Majayjay, Laguna
Also feel free to visit my articles about these Laguna churches
- National Shrine of Saint Anthony of Padua in Pila, Laguna
- Immaculate Conception Church in Santa Cruz, Laguna
- Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish – Pagsanjan, Laguna
- Saint James the Apostle Parish – Paete, Laguna
- Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Turumba/ Saint Peter of Alcantara Parish in Pakil, Laguna
- Nuestra Señora de Candelaria Parish in Mabitac, Laguna
- Nuestra Señora de la Natividad Parish in Pangil, Laguna
- Saint John the Baptist Parish in Liliw, Laguna
- San Agustin Parish in Bay, Laguna
- List of Churches to Visit in Laguna for Visita Iglesia
- Pilgrimage to Laguna 2019
Places to visit in Laguna
- White House Bistro 1938 Restaurant
- Esmeris Farm in Liliw
- Camp Silva Hotspring in Calauan, Laguna
- Dalitawan Resort in Majayjay