The Cathedral Parish of St. Gregory the Great, popularly known as Albay Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Legazpi City, Albay, and the seat of the Diocese of Legazpi.

Before the Province of Albay was originally the name of the pre-colonial port town located between the two branches of Tibu River, a site now occupied by the Port District of Legazpi. It became a Franciscan mission administered from Cagsawa until 1616 when the parish of St. Gregory the Great of Albay was established by Fr. Francisco de Santa Ana, who also built its first church.

Before the middle of the 17th century, the destruction of the old port town of Ibalon and capital of the Province of Ibalon had prompted the Spanish authorities to transfer the provincial capital to Albay, and the Province of Ibalon eventually came to be known as the Province of Albay. This meant, however, that the town, like its predecessor capital, became more vulnerable to attacks by the enemies of Spain, particularly the Dutch pirates, so that by 1649, the stone church of Albay was reported to be built like a fortress. But what ultimately destroyed the church like many others in the province was the 1814 eruption of Mt. Mayon.

The survivors of the eruption first settled at Macalaya (in Castilla, Sorsogon) and later at Taysan. It was eventually decided that Albay would be rebuilt on a new town site, and the chosen place was Caserio de Taytay located some distance inland from the old town. This site is marked by the building of a new stone church in 1839, which today survives as the Albay Cathedral. The church was designed by Don Jose Maria Penฬƒaranda, who was then the Alcalde Mayor of Albay (the equivalent of todayโ€™s governor). Penฬƒarandaโ€™s background as engineer can be seen in how the church pediment is seemingly able to carry a large belfry, which would otherwise be supported by a separate bell tower. Apart from its large belfry and flat facฬงade, the design and construction of the Albay Cathedral is similar to that of Tiwi Church, a style that has been called โ€œPartido Baroque.โ€

In 1951, the church was elevated to a cathedral when the Diocese of Legazpi was created. Three decades later, it hosted the historic visit and celebration of the Holy Mass by Pope John Paul the Second.

The Cathedral of St. Gregory the Great is a Level II historic structure (structure with NHCP marker).


Article: Provincial Tourism Culture and Arts Office (PTCAO)