- Historical event
- 16 August 1891
- The steel parts of the church were made in Belgium, and weighed a total of over 50 tons. There exists a theory that the famous Gustave Eiffel participated in the designing of the church.
This day in 1891 marked the consecration of the only steel church in Asia – San Sebastian Church in Manila on the Philippines.
It also seems to be the only church in the world made from previously prepared steel parts.
This building technique remains exotic even today, and was particularly modern even when the church was built over 100 years ago.
The steel parts for the church were made in the Belgian town of Binche. They were transported to the faraway Philippines by sea, in eight separate shipments.
All parts put together weighed over 50 tons. The first shipment arrived at the Philippines in 1888. The church’s construction was overseen by Belgian engineers.
It is important to note that large metal constructions were very popular at that time. For example, the famous Eiffel Tower was erected in 1889, precisely at the time when preparations for the building of San Sebastian Church were underway.
San Sebastian Church was completed on this day in 1891, and consecrated by the Archbishop of Manila himself.
Pope Leo XIII gave the church the status of a minor basilica (Latin: basilica minor). There exists a theory that the famous Gustave Eiffel participated in the designing of the church.