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Archdiocesan Archives of Manila (AAM)

Brief History

History of the Church in the Philippines is tied up with the history of the Spanish colonial period since religion was at the very core of the colonial lifestyle.

Record collection of the Church provides historical materials for writing. Record keeping was part/parcel of the colonial lifestyle of early missionaries

Archiving antedated the organization of the Diocese of Manila in 1579 as seen in the Manila’s earliest chuch record kept at AAM dating back to 1573. The Pope elevated Manila into an Archdiocese in 1595

Ecclesiastical organization remained unchanged throughout the Spanish colonial period but the gaps in the church records may be attributed to the losses during the 20th century transfers from the Arzobispado in Intramuros

to the University of Sto Tomas in España St. in Manila before the war
to the Archbishop’s Villa in Mandaluyong after the war

to the San Carlos Major Seminary in Makati in 1969 and to the original home in Intramuros, in the reconstructed Arzobispado de Manila in 1987.


Arranged into 4 main record groups totaling some 600 cu. ft.

General Administration consisting of records pertaining directly to the functions of the Archbishop of Manila and of the administration of the archdiocese with 7 series

Archbishop’s Council and auxiliaries, other ecclesiastical units, office of the economus and the financial aspects of the administration consisting of 6 series

Personnel consisting of series on diocesan clergy and another on religious clergy

Asuntos Generales as a miscellany to cover varied items outside the 3 main record groups

Valuable collection includes the following:

Cedularios (from 1573) which are orders from Spanish monarchs

Obras Pias (from 1615) which is money dedicated to pious works

Capellanas which are donations by families to the church for their intentions

Anales Ecclesiasticos de Filipinas (1681) which deals with the history of the Church in the Philippines, specifically on the life, powers and activities of the metropolitan archbishops of Manila and the suffragan bishops of the colony


established primarily to serve the Archdiocese of Manila

private researchers may apply to the Archbishop of Manila or his Vicar for

permission to have access to the collection

subject/ purpose must be specified; research is scheduled once permit is granted


Other Church Archives

arrival of the Americans ended the union of Church and State which characterized Spanish rule and paved the way for the emergence of non-Catholic religions and their own church archives, to wit:

Methodists Presbyterians
Baptists Congregationalists
Christian Missionary Alliance Aglipayan
Iglesia Filipina Independiente Iglesia ni Cristo
About the Author:
Maria Bernardita M. Reyes holds a degree in BS Chemistry from the University of Sto. Tomas and initially assumed the position of Curator/Head Restorer of the National Historical Institute under the Department of Education, Culture & Sports. She is currently the Assistant Director & Head of the Conservation Section of the Archdiocesan Archives and Museum.