San Carlos Seminary, Manila


The Royal and Conciliar San Carlos Seminary is the archdiocesan seminary of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. It was established in the year 1702, by decree of King Philip V of Spain. At present, the institution houses seminarians belonging to various dioceses in Luzon, particularly from the Metro Manila region.

San Carlos Seminary, the Archdiocesan Seminary of Manila, was the first diocesan seminary established in the Philippines. Its foundation was decreed by King Philip V of Spain who, on April 28, 1702, ordered the establishment in Manila of a seminary for the formation of the diocesan clergy as envisioned by the Council of Trent.

On December 8, 1707, the seminary was blessed and inaugurated by Archbishop Francisco Cuesta, and was named Royal Seminary of San Clemente, in honor of the reigning Pope Clement XI.

In 1715, the name of the seminary was changed to Real Seminario de San Felipe, in honor of the king's patron saint. The next decade, civil authorities turned San Felipe into a university, so the seminarians have to take most of their philosophy and theology courses at the Jesuit-run Colegio de San Jose and at the Dominican-run Colegio de Santo Tomas. But the University of San Felipe was short lived and by 1730, the seminary was back to the exclusive use of the seminarians. Years later, as part of the reforms being instituted, the Jesuits' Colegio de San Ignacio, located on Calle Real de Palacio (now General Luna Street) and Calle Escuela (now Victoria Street) was converted into a diocesan seminary. In 1786, it was bestowed another name - REAL SEMINARIO CONCILIAR DE SAN CARLOS.

The seminary building was heavily damaged during the earthquake of 1889, so again the seminarians had to be moved. The Vincentian Fathers who had been in charge of the seminary since 1862, in accordance with the wishes of Queen Isabella II, transferred the students to their Casa del Campo in San Marcelino. Three years later, Archbishop Pedro Payo constructed a building for seminarians in Arzobispo Street beside the new San Ignacio Church. In 1905, Archbishop Jeremiah Harty placed San Carlos under the care of the Jesuits. It was later transferred to Cavite with the missionaries of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) when they took over Trinity College there in 1909. Three years later, San Carlos was back in Intramuros, joining the Jesuit-run Colegio de San Francisco Javier on Padre Faura until it was closed in 1913. Archbishop Harty later found another place for the San Carlos Seminary in a renovated building (now Don Bosco) in Mandaluyong City and the Vincentians were again put in charge of the seminary.

For two centuries, thus, the archdiocesan seminary was shuttled, being lodged whenever it was convenient for the archdiocese or the congregation in charge of it.

It was not until the years of calm after the World War II that the archdiocese could begin the process towards the fulfillment of a vision - to have a permanent building for the formation of the archdiocese's future priests, and to make it the biggest and the most modern seminary in the country. Through the unstinting and untiring efforts of Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes, the first Filipino Archbishop of Manila, the cherished dream became a reality in the early 1950's. San Carlos was finally granted its own five-hectare site in San Pedro (now Guadalupe), Makati City, along Highway 54 (now EDSA). Constructions began, and on January 24, 1953, his Eminence Norman Thomas Cardinal Gilroy, then legate a latere to the on-going First Plenary Council of the Philippines, inaugurated the new San Carlos Seminary building. Twenty years later, in 1973, His Eminence Rufino Cardinal Santos, the first Filipino Cardinal, installed the first Filipino diocesan rector of San Carlos, Fr. Oscar Cruz, who is now the Archbishop of Lingayen.

On June 29, 1987, the San Carlos Graduate School of Theology and the Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes Memorial Library were completed and blessed by His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila and His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu.

Some of the historic events that took place in San Carlos Seminary were the following: the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (January 20 to February 17, 1991); the 6th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (January 10- 19, 1995); the grace-filled visit of His Holiness Pope John Paul II (January 15, 1995); and the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal (January 20- 27, 2001).