EDSA Shrine

The EDSA Shrine, also known as the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, and Our Lady of EDSA, was a monument dedicated to the People Power Revolution and its peaceful outcome on December 15, 1989. Located at the intersection of Ortigas Avenue and Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Quezon City, it is situated in the same place that witnessed two demonstrations that eventually overthrew the presidencies of Ferdinand Marcos (EDSA I) and Joseph Estrada (EDSA II).

The idea for the Shrine came to be from the mind of His Eminence Cardinal Jaime Sin. Accompanied by Bishop Reyes, they were driving past the site when Reyes pointed out that that was where young men and women, both of and not of the cloth, faced tanks and soldiers with prayers and flowers. They then glanced at a neighboring billboard containing the image of the Virgin Mary and such slogans as “The family that prays together stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace”, realizing the role the Virgin Mary played on those two fateful days. It led them to think about the role she played in “La Naval de Manila” and the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1751. Both participants in the EDSAs and the battles faced overwhelming odds with the help and guidance of the Virgin Mary.

Cardinal Sin wanted to commemorate the efforts of the Virgin Mary and began to do so. He approached the Ortiga and Gokongwei families regarding donating the lot and architects and artists to donate their creativity to the project. Architect Francisco Mañosa, along with the assistance of National Artist Architect Laandro Locsin and Architect William Coscolluela, constructed the architectural and structural design for the church. Mañosa wanted the Shrine to evoke a sense of the freedom of movement and celebratory spirit of the original EDSA Revolution, so the Shrine opens out to the streets, has cascading stairs and ramps, and conjoins the two main avenues of EDSA and Ortiga.

The soul of the Shrine was at the hands of the various Filipino artists, who were successful in fully capturing a sense of peace and freedom within the vicinity. Virginia Ty-Navarro sculpted the bronze Virgin Mary seen outside of the Shrine as the apex of the entire structure. Similar bronze works are seen throughout the plaza as the 14 Stations of the Cross by Napoleon Abueva. Manny Casal’s “Flame of Freedom” sculpture, however, is of a different nature. Three men representing the Philippines’ three major islands – Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao – are seen bearing a cauldron of flame upon their shoulders. Other metal-works other than bronze are also seen, specifically the carillon bells built from the bullets and cannons of World War II by artists from Holland. At certain periods of the day, the bells chime familiar religious and patriotic melodies, reminding passer-bys of the EDSA Revolutions.

The chapel itself is dedicated to and divided into two areas – one for San Lorenzo; the other for Perpetual Adoration – and although separated, is united by naturally-lit stained glass ceiling designed by Eduardo Castrillo. The main chapel is as adorned as it is outside, with a floating glass sculpture of the Risen Christ by Ramon Orlina above Abueva’s marble altar. The walls of the chapel are covered in murals depicting and interpreting the four-day revolution by 15 artists from Angono, Rizal, led by Nemi Miranda. Casal’s “Doves of Peace” rest gently on the holy water fountains by the entrances, immediately providing symbols of peace to its visitors. At the chapel of the perpetual adoration the Blessed Sacrament is dramatically exposed through the monstrance-sculpture done by Castrillo. At the other side chapel named after the first Filipino saint, San Lorenzo Ruiz, there is a wall mural depicting the saint’s life painted by artist Ben Alano. Through this shrine, all who visit it are able to witness and relive what had occurred at EDSA.

♥ Jessel Villegas


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