Lorenzo Ruiz

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Saint Lorenzo Ruiz
First Saint and Protomartyr of the Philippines
Born28 November 1594
Binondo, Manila
Captaincy General of the Philippines
Died29 September 1637(1637-09-29) (aged 42)
Nagasaki, Hizen Province, Tokugawa Shogunate
Venerated inCatholic Church
BeatifiedFebruary 18, 1981, Manila, Philippines by Pope John Paul II
CanonizedOctober 18, 1987, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Major shrineBinondo Church, Binondo, Manila, Philippines
Feast28 September
AttributesRosary in clasped hands, gallows and pit, Barong Tagalog or camisa de chino and black trousers, cross, palm of martyrdom
PatronageThe Philippines, Filipinos, Overseas Filipino Workers and migrant workers, the poor, separated families, Filipino youth, Chinese-Filipinos, Filipino Altar servers, Tagalogs, Archdiocese of Manila.

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz (Filipino: San Lorenzo Ruiz ng Maynila; Spanish: San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila; Latin: Laurentius Ruiz Manilensis; 28 November 1594 – 29 September 1637) is a Filipino saint venerated in the Catholic Church. A Chinese-Filipino, he became his country's protomartyr after his execution in Japan by the Tokugawa Shogunate during its persecution of Japanese Christians in the 17th century.

Saint Lorenzo is the patron saint of, among others, the Philippines and the Filipino people.

Early life[edit]

Binondo Church, the main shrine of St Lorenzo Ruiz

Lorenzo Ruiz was born in Binondo, Manila, to a Chinese father and a Filipino mother who were both Catholic. His father taught him Chinese while his mother taught him Tagalog.[1][2]

Lorenzo served as an altar boy at the Binondo Church. After being educated by the Dominican friars for a few years, Ruiz earned the title of escribano (calligrapher) because of his skillful penmanship. He became a member of the Cofradia del Santísimo Rosario (Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary). He married Rosario, a native, and they had two sons and a daughter.[3] The Ruiz family led a generally peaceful, religious and content life.

In 1636, whilst working as a clerk for the Binondo Church, Lorenzo was falsely accused of killing a Spaniard. Lorenzo sought asylum on board a ship with three Dominican priests: Saint Antonio Gonzalez, Saint Guillermo Courtet, and Saint Miguel de Aozaraza; a Japanese priest, Saint Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz; and a lay leper Saint Lázaro of Kyoto. Lorenzo and his companions sailed for Okinawa on 10 June 1636, with the aid of the Dominican fathers.[1][2][4]


Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, with a red sash indicating his status as a martyr, in the convento of St James the Apostle Parish, Plaridel, Bulacan.

The Tokugawa Shogunate was persecuting Christians by the time Lorenzo had arrived in Japan. The missionaries were arrested and thrown into prison, and after two years, they were transferred to Nagasaki to face trial by torture. The group endured many and various cruel methods of torture.[3]

On 27 September 1637, Lorenzo and his companions were taken to Nishizaka Hill, where they were tortured by being hung upside-down over a pit. This form of torture was known as tsurushi (釣殺し) in Japanese or horca y hoya ("gallows and pit") in Spanish. The method, alleged to have been extremely painful, had the victim bound; one hand was always left free so that the individual may signal their desire to recant, leading to their release. Despite his suffering, Lorenzo refused to renounce Christianity and died from eventual blood loss and suffocation. His body was cremated, with the ashes thrown into the sea.[1][2][4]

According to Latin missionary accounts sent back to Manila, Lorenzo declared these words upon his death:

Ego Catholicus sum et animo prompto paratoque pro Deo mortem obibo.
Si mille vitas haberem, cunctas ei offerrem.

(I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for God;
Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him shall I offer.)[3]


Cause of beatification and canonization[edit]

The Positio Super Introductione Causae or the cause of beatification of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz was written by respected historian, Fr. Fidel Villarroel, O.P. Lorenzo was beatified during Pope John Paul II's papal visit to the Philippines.[5][6][7] It was the first beatification ceremony to be held outside the Vatican in history. Saint Lorenzo Ruiz was canonized by the same pope in the Vatican City on 18 October 1987, making him the first Filipino saint.[1][2][4]


His canonization was supported by a miracle in October 1983, when Cecilia Algeria Policarpio of Calinog, Iloilo, was cured of brain atrophy (hydrocephalus) at the age of two, after her family and supporters prayed to Ruiz for his intercession. She was diagnosed with the condition shortly after birth and was treated at University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center.[8]

Places and things named after Lorenzo Ruiz[edit]

In the Philippines[edit]



Educational institutions[edit]


  • Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz, the present name of the plaza fronting Binondo Church, Manila
  • San Lorenzo Ruiz Diocesan Academy Inc. - San Bartolome, San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija founded in 1989
  • San Lorenzo Ruiz Hospital – Naic, Cavite (formerly "The First Filipino Saint Hospital")
  • San Lorenzo Ruiz Women's Hospital – medical clinic located at Malabon, Philippines
  • San Lorenzo Ruiz Bridge, Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines


Other Churches[edit]

Educational institutions[edit]


  • San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila Community Center in Sugar Land, Texas, United States of America

Other tributes[edit]

Lorenzo Ruiz is included in American painter John Nava's Communion of Saints Tapestries, a depiction of 135 saints and beati which hangs inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California.[10]

On 28 September 2007, the Catholic Church celebrated the 20th anniversary of Lorenzo's canonisation. Then-archbishop of Manila Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales said: "Kahit saan nandoon ang mga Pilipino, ang katapatan sa Diyos ay dala-dala ng Pinoy." ("Wheresoever Filipinos are, the Pinoy brings fidelity to God.")[11]

A mosaic of St. Lorenzo is found in the Trinity Dome of Mary's National Shrine in Washington DC.

On 28 September 2017, St. Lorenzo Ruiz celebrated his 30th anniversary of his canonisation by Archbishop of Manila.

In popular culture[edit]

Film and theatre[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Visit of Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to Participate in the 2005 World Summit – High Level plenary session of the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, United States of America, 12–15 September 2005", Press Kit, Office of the President, Government Mass Media Group, Bureau of Communications Services, Manila, September, 2005.
  2. ^ a b c d Religion-Cults.com Dominguez, J, M.D., September 29: Saints of the Day, Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions, 1600–1637, Religion-Cults.com, retrieved on: 10 June 2007
  3. ^ a b c Foley O.F.M., Leonard. Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and Feast, (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M), Franciscan Media
  4. ^ a b c Filipino Apostolate/Archdiocese of New York, Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz, ChapelofSanLorenzoRuiz.org Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved on: 9 June 2007
  5. ^ azheepineda. "UST Archives director Fr. Fidel Villarroel, O.P. : Master key to UST's past". Skyrock.
  6. ^ "2-volume UST history charts evolution of higher education in the Philippines". inquirer.net.
  7. ^ "UST historian named Master of Theology". The Varsitarian.
  8. ^ The Pinoy Catholic. "The Pinoy Catholic: St. Lorenzo Ruiz". thepinoycatholic.blogspot.com.
  9. ^ "ParishWorld.org". stlorenzo.org. Archived from the original on 2005-08-31. Retrieved 2020-03-18.
  10. ^ "Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels". olacathedral.org.
  11. ^ "Roxas may slide down for Poe, says LP" (TXT). Newsinfo.inquirer.net. Retrieved 2015-05-17.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Mat Ranillo III, the Pork Barrel Scam and His Religious Movies". Pinoy Pop Culture Blog. February 15, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2019.

External links[edit]