Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de Jaro

Our Lady of Purification and Candle
Nuestra Señora de la Purificación y la Candelaria

The icon enshrined on the balcony of Jaro Cathedral.


Jaro, Iloilo City, Philippines


April 1587


Don Cristobal Mercado




Pope John Paul II


National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles


Jaro, Iloilo City, Western Visayas

Nuestra Señora de la Purificación y la Candelaria (English: Our Lady of Purification and Candle) is a venerated image of the Blessed Virgin Mary enshrined in Jaro Cathedral and the patroness of Western Visayas.

The devotion to Candelaria de Jaro derives from the original Virgin of Candelaria in Canarias, Spain and its feast day or Candlemas is celebrated every February 2.

Pope John Paul II (now a papal saint) personally crowned the image on February 20, 1981. It is the first Marian image in Asia crowned by a pope and saint in person. Later, the image is declared as the patroness of Western Visayas via decree Quod Urbes on 1982.

Pope John Paul II personally crowning the image on February 20, 1981.

Tradition recounts the statue\'s first appearance in 1587, when a group of fishermen found it floating in the Iloilo River. The fishermen initially could not lift the image due to its weight, but when they decided to bring it to Jaro, the image suddenly became easier to carry. The statue was initially placed in a small niche near the apex of the local church\'s central spire. Folklore speaks of the statue\'s growth in size over the centuries, to the point that it was transferred to the balcony. The image\'s shrine is accessible today by a flight of steps attached to the cathedral\'s northeastern façade.

The statue was declared patroness of the Western Visayas by Pope John Paul II who, in person, canonically crowned this image on February 21, 1981, during his first Apostolic Visit to the Philippines. It is thus the only Marian statue in the Philippines personally crowned by the Pontiff (and saint) instead of a proxy legate.

National Shrine

Main article: Jaro Cathedral

Pope Pius IX authorised the canonical erection of the Diocese of Jaro on May 25, 1865. Bishop Mariano Cuartero took possession of the diocese in 1868, and later partitioned it into nine dioceses. In 1874, Cuartero had the cathedral built on the site, dedicating it to Elizabeth of Hungary.

The original edifice was among the many structures destroyed in the Lady Caycay earthquake, an 8.2 surface wave magnitude tremor which struck Panay Island on January 25, 1948. Pope Pius XII elevated Jaro to an archdiocese on June 29, 1951, via a papal bull, and the cathedral was fully restored by 1956 under José María Cuenco, the first Archbishop of Jaro.

In January 2012, the Catholic Bishops\' Conference of the Philippines approved \"National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles\" as an additional title for the cathedral.


The Cofradia de la Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria is the shrine\'s lay confraternity recognized by the Archdiocese of Jaro.


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