A place of worship is a specially designed structure or consecrated space where individuals or a group of people such as a congregation come to perform acts of devotion, veneration, or religious study. A building constructed or used for this purpose is sometimes called a house of worship. Temples, churches, and mosques are examples of structures created for worship. A monastery, particularly for Buddhists, may serve both to house those belonging to religious orders and as a place of worship for visitors. Natural or topographical features may also serve as places of worship, and are considered holy or sacrosanct in some religions; the rituals associated with the Ganges river are an example in Hinduism.
Under International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions, religious buildings are offered special protection, similar to the protection guaranteed hospitals displaying the Red Cross or Red Crescent. These international laws of war bar firing upon or from a religious building.
Religious architecture expresses the religious beliefs, aesthetic choices, and economic and technological capacity of those who create or adapt it, and thus places of worship show great variety depending on time and place.
Binondo Church, also known as Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish , is located in the District of Binondo, Manila fronting Plaza Calderón de La Barca, in the Philippines. This church was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 to serve their Chinese converts to Christianity. The original building was destroyed in 1762 by British bombardment. A new granite church was completed on the same site in 1852 however it was greatly damaged during the Second World War, with only the western facade and the octagonal bell tower surviving.
San Lorenzo Ruiz, who was born of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, trained in this church and afterwards went as a missionary to Japan and was executed there for refusing to renounce his religion. San Lorenzo Ruiz was to be the Philippines' first saint and he was canonized in 1987. A large statue of the martyr stands in front of the church.
Masses are held in Filipino, in Chinese dialects (Mandarin, Hokkien), and in English.
Even before the arrival of the Spanish to the Philippines there was already a community of Chinese traders living in Manila. The population of Chinese traders increased with the advent of Spanish colonization of the Philippines, due to increased trade between the islands.The upsurge in their population prompted the catholic missionaries to manage the conversion of the Chinese population to the Christian faith.
In 1596, Dominican priests founded Binondo church to serve their Chinese converts to Christianity as well as to the native Filipinos.
The original structure has sustained damages during wars and various natural disasters. The current granite church was completed on the same site in 1852 and features an octagonal bell tower which suggests the Chinese culture of the parishioners. The church was burned during the British invasion of 1872. Another one was quickly built following the occupation. Improvements were made in the 18th century but the edifice was again destroyed in the 1863 earthquake. It was rebuilt in the grandeur the remains on which we see today. Before the war, it was considered as one of the most beautiful churches in the country. Its bell tower was composed of five stories, octagonal in shape. At its top was a mirador (viewing window). This roof was destroyed during the 1863 earthquake.