The National Museum of the Philippines will declare the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu Church and the image of the Santo Niño de Cebu as National Cultural Treasures in April to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the nation.
NMP defines National Cultural Treasure as a cultural property possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic, or scientific value that is significant and important to the nation.
National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) chairperson Rene Escalante announced this milestone on January 30, 2021, during his three-part webinar series “Bound by History: Magellan, Santo Niño and the Beginning of the Augustinian Evangelization.”
The event will take place on April 14 this year. It's also the same day when Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer, held the first mass in the Philippines in 1512. It is also considered the D-day of the Philippine Catholic Church’s quincentennial celebration.
Furthermore, the event will also be one of the 34 major milestones of the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines (2021 QCP), Escalante said.
The Basilica is the 9th Augustinian-built church to be declared a National Culture Treasure. The Augustinian-built church was established in 1565 and 1965 has been designated by the Holy See as the "Mother and Head of All Churched in the Philippines."
The oldest catholic religious relic in the Philippines is the image of Sto. Niño. It's also this same image that Ferdinand Magellan gave to the queen of Cebu in 1521 and was later found by a soldier named, Juan Campus of the Legazpi-Urdaneta expedition in a burning hut in 1565, it was then entrusted to the Augustinian missionaries who at present are still the caretakers of the miraculous image. The image of Sto. Niño was also declared as a National Cultural Treasure.
Christianity’s half-millennium celebration in the Philippines is led by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) carrying the theme “Gifted to Give” taken from Matthew’s Gospel (10:8).
Meanwhile, the National Quincentennial Committee of the Republic of the Philippines leads the celebratory events set to happen on April 27, 2021, for the quincentennial or 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan.
Source: Good News Pilipinas