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Region of the Philippines
The History of the Immaculate Conception In The Philippians
Among the titles under which Mary is venerated in the Philippines, two are particularly prominent: the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of the Rosary. The invocation of the Immaculate Conception goes back to the year 1578 when Pope Gregory XIII in a Bull issued on February 6 decreed that the Manila Cathedral should be erected under the invocation of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Clement VIII decreed on 13 August 1595 that the Cathedrals of Nueva Segovia and Caceres also be erected under the same title of the Immaculate Conception. Moreover, one of the three ships that reached the Philippines in the first voyage of Magellan in 1521 was the "Concepcion," named after the Immaculate Conception, together with the ships "Trinidad" and "Victoria." Hence the Islands before being named Filipinas, and even before the name of Christ had begun to be preached, saw on these shores the name of Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Conception , whose feast falls on December 8, remains the principal Patroness of the Philippine Islands. After the suppression of several Church holidays in the Catholic Calendar of the Philippines, still her feast stays as one of the three holidays of obligation during the year, the other two being Christmas and January 1, when the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, is celebrated.
The Stainless Mirror
A spheric mirror stands on a hovering cloud. The mirror is an old and well known Marian symbol. Here it signifies Mary's sinlessness. This motif has its origin in the Book of Wisdom (7:26): "She is (wisdom) a reflection of the eternal light, and a stainless mirror of God's majesty." (speculum sine macula) The cloud points to Mary's exalted station, and the two decorative trees flanking the mirror are expressions of youth and purity, reaching beyond this life into eternity. This symbol of the Immaculate can be found in Raphael Sadeler's engravings of the Litanies of Loreto (1601/04) and Picinelli's Mondo simbolico. The latter refers to the Song of Songs: "Pulchra es ... macula non est in te." [You are beautiful and there is no stain in you." (4:7)]