Lorenzo Ruiz

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila
Close-up of a statue of Lorenzo Ruiz in procession, Santo Domingo Church, Quezon City
First Saint and Protomartyr of the Philippines
Born ca. 1600
Binondo, Manila
Captaincy General of the Philippines
Died September 29, 1637 (aged 36–37)
Nagasaki, Tokugawa Shogunate
(now Japan)
Venerated in Catholic Church
Beatified 18 February 1981, Manila by Pope John Paul II
Canonized 18 October 1987, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Major shrine Binondo Church, Binondo, Manila, Philippines
Feast 28 September
Attributes rosary in clasped hands, gallows and pit, Barong Tagalog or camisa de chino and black trousers, cross, palm of martyrdom
Patronage The 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 ; ca. 1600 – 29 September 1637) is a Filipino saint venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. A Chinese-Filipino, he became the 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 patron saint of, among others, the Philippines and the Filipino people.


  • Early life 1
  • Martyrdom 2
  • Path to sainthood 3
    • Cause of beatification and canonization 3.1
      • Miracle 3.1.1
  • Places and things named after Lorenzo Ruiz 4
    • In the Philippines 4.1
      • Places 4.1.1
    • Churches 4.2
    • Educational institutions 4.3
      • Other 4.3.1
    • Elsewhere 4.4
      • Churches 4.4.1
      • Educational institutions 4.4.2
      • Other 4.4.3
  • Other tributes 5
  • In popular culture 6
    • Film and theatre 6.1
    • Books 6.2
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

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]

Ruiz 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 lead a generally peaceful, religious and content life.

In 1636, whilst working as a clerk for the Binondo Church, Ruiz was falsely accused of killing a Spaniard. Ruiz 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. Ruiz and his companions left for Okinawa on 10 June 1636, with the aid of the Dominican fathers and Fr Giovanni Yago.[1][2][4]


Image of 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 Ruiz 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. He and his companions faced different types of torture.[3]

On 27 September 1637, Ruiz and his companions were taken to the 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 was supposed to be extremely painful: though the victim was bound, one hand was always left free so that victims may signal their desire to recant, leading to their release. Ruiz refused to renounce Christianity and died from 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, Ruiz declared these words upon his death:

Path to sainthood

Cause of beatification and canonization

A painting of Ruiz in the stairway of San Carlos Seminary, Makati City.

The Positio Super Introductione Causae or the cause of beatification of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz was written by respected historian, Fr. Fidel Villarroel, O.P. Ruiz 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. San 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 based on a miracle that took place in 1983, when Cecilia Alegria Policarpio, a two-year-old girl suffering from brain atrophy (hydrocephalus), was cured after her family and supporters prayed to Ruiz for his intercession. She was diagnosed with the condition shortly after birth and was treated at Magsaysay Medical Center.[8]

Places and things named after Lorenzo Ruiz

In the Philippines



Educational institutions




Educational institutions


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

Other tributes

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 Ruiz'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]

In popular culture

Film and theatre


  • , Social Studies Publications, Metro Manila, Philippines, 1980.To Die a Thousand Deaths: A Novel on the Life and Times of Lorenzo RuizCarunungan, Celso Al.
  • Delgado, Antonio C. The Making of The First Filipino Saint, The Ala-Ala Foundation, 1982.

See also


  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 28: Saints of the Day, Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions, 1600-1637, Religion-Cults.com, retrieved on: 10 June 2007
  3. ^ a b c , (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M), Franciscan MediaSaint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and FeastFoley O.F.M., Leonard.
  4. ^ a b c Filipino Apostolate/Archdiocese of New York, Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz, ChapelofSanLorenzoRuiz.org, 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. 
  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. 

External links

  • Cause for Beatification
  • Mosaic in Saint Peter's Basilica
  • St. Lorenzo Ruiz in the Communion of Saints Tapestries
  • St. Lorenzo Ruiz Prayer in times of adversity. Translated into Spanish by José Tlatelpas, traditional version in English and Tagalog. Published in the Canadian Hispanic webzine "La Guirnalda Polar".
  • Lorenzo Ruiz at Find a Grave
  • LORENZO, a musical on the life of Lorenzo Ruiz
  • [2]
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