Tell it to SunStar: Missing pulpit panels must be returned to Boljoon

Tell it to SunStar
Tell it to SunStarSunStar file photo

By The Augustinian Friars of the Province

of Santo Niño de Cebu-Philippines (Order of Saint Augustine)

(Statement of support to the Archdiocese of Cebu concerning the four pulpit panels from the Archdiocesan Shrine of Patrocinio de Maria

Santissima in Boljoon, Cebu)

The friars of the Augustinian Province of Santo Niño de Cebu-Philippines, in oneness with the Archdiocese of Cebu, are immensely thankful that the missing pulpit panels have resurfaced and definitively ascertained their provenance. These valuable objects are considered important artifacts of Catholic Cebuano heritage but bespeak as well of Augustinian legacy.

The foundational and socio-pastoral ministry of the Boljoon Parish holds dear in the memory of the Augustinians in the Philippines. Our predecessors of happy memory dedicated the church of Boljoon to the Blessed Virgin Mary which started as visita of Carcar. It was elevated to a parish in 1690, and the first Augustinian parish priest Fray Nicolas de la Cuadra, OSA took possession of the church only two years later. However, in 1737 the parish administration was transferred to the Jesuits but returned eventually to the Augustinians 10 years later. One of the prominent ministers of Boljoon was Fray Julian Bermejo, OSA known as the builder of the coastal defense system of watchtowers (baluartes) that shielded local settlements from constant attacks and raids of marauders. The Augustinians, through the last Augustinian parish priest, Fray Leandro Moran, OSA, ceded the parish to the bishop of Cebu on July 1, 1948.

Recognizing its historical and cultural significance, it was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. It is also considered an extension of the four baroque churches of the Philippines recognized as Unesco World Heritage Sites of the Philippines.

In consideration of the foregoing, we express our full support to the Archdiocese of Cebu on its declaration of ownership of the four pulpit panels and the demand their immediate return to the rightful owner and sanctuary, the Boljoon Parish Church and Shrine.

We also espouse the spirit of mutual openness for a fraternal dialogue to settle the accompanying issues in the interest of justice and fairness, and joint advocacy of protecting and preserving our common patrimony.


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