Lord Takayama was buried near the High Altar – in the expectation he would, one day, be elevated to Sainthood
►The story of Lord Justo Takayama Ukon – and ‘350 Japanese Christian exiles,’ including Lord Juan Tocuan Naito and the 15 cloistered nuns of the ‘Beatas de Miyako’ form part of the evangelical annals of the Philippine Church — (not of the Church of Japan) – as detailed in five chapters of “Labor Evangelica, ministerios apostolicos de los obreros de la Compañia de Iesvs, fvndacion, y progressos de su provincia en las islas Filipinas” by Colín, Francisco (1592-1660; first published 1663); Chirino, Pedro (1557-1635); and Pastells, Pablo (1846-1932), eds. Barcelona: 1900. The history of the Japanese Catholic exiles, written by Jesuits, appears on pp. 434-562.
With Full Military Honors
After State Honors by Spanish Governor-General Juan de Silva and necrological services by Manila Archbishop Diego Vazquez de Mercado (r. 1610-1616), and Superiors of the five religious orders — Augustinians, Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans and Recollects – Lord Takayama was laid to rest, with great pomp and ceremony, near the high altar of the Jesuits’ ‘Iglesia de Santa Ana.’
Takayama’s tomb near the main altar – was similar to that of El Adelantado, the Spanish Governor-General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (1502-1572), who was buried 43 years earlier at the Capilla de Legazpi of San Agustin Church, its top slab covered by a bas relief of Legazpi.
After Santa Ana Church was destroyed by a series of earthquakes (1621-1625), Takayama’s remains were transferred to the new San Ignacio Church (I) that was built in 1632 alongside the ruins of the original church.
But when the Jesuits were deported from the Philippines in 1768, this church deteriorated from neglect and decay. Upon their return to the Philippines in 1859 — after 91 years in exile, the Jesuits built at a different site (partly with stones from the first San Ignacio Church) a new Church – which they also called San Ignacio Church (II). This was inaugurated in 1889.
It means that from 1615 to 1889 – for 274 years! — the bones of Blessed Takayama were at the Jesuit Compound (now PLM Compound), until their transfer from the compound to the newly constructed San Ignacio Church (II) at Arzobispo St., near the Arzobispado de Manila.
Already proposed for sainthood in 1630 – though not yet recognized as a ‘Servant of God’ by the Vatican — fragments of Takayama’s bones served nonetheless as the altar-stone of the Main Altar of the second San Ignacio Church.
The Odyssey of Takayama’s earthly remains is told in “The Search for the Bones of Takayama Ukon.” ◘
Dr. Ernie A. de Pedro
Lord Takayama Jubilee Foundation