MANILA – As the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) commemorates the 135th birth anniversary of its founder, Felix Manalo, Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Sunday thanked the congregation for its contributions to Filipinos.
“We laud these resounding efforts of the Iglesia ni Cristo as we commemorate the 135th birth anniversary of Brother Felix and the 41st Anniversary of Brother Eduardo as their Executive Minister,” Panelo said in a press statement.
Panelo lauded INC for providing “spiritual care” and “charitable service” to Filipinos.
“We support the endeavors of Iglesia ni Cristo, under the leadership of Brother Eduardo, as it continues to provide spiritual care and charitable service to its members, as well as to the Filipino people,” he stated.
INC launched socio-civic programs, such as My Fellowmen, My Brethren and Lingap sa Mamamayan (Aid to Humanity) projects, that have benefitted millions worldwide.
“Through thousands of Aid to Humanity projects conducted worldwide, the INC has given not just food but also a means of livelihood and shelter to countless of citizens. The Iglesia ni Cristo, for many years, has also been extending help to those in need, especially to victims of disaster and calamity,” he said.
Panelo also pointed out the church’s achievement of having set more than 24 Guinness World Records, including Most Individuals Baptized (18,272 individuals), Largest Charity Walk in a Single Venue, Largest Charity Walk in Multiple Venues, Largest Picture Mosaic, and Largest Human Sentence.
He said the church is also responsible for opening the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, the world’s largest indoor arena, in 2014.
The arena, which can accommodate as much as 55,000 people, hosted the opening ceremony of the Southeast Asian Games in December 2019.
At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, he noted how the arena was converted into a mega quarantine facility, one of the We Heal As One centers, which can accommodate 300 patients and 300 healthcare workers.
Iglesia ni Cristo was founded by Manalo on July 27, 1914 in Sta. Ana, Manila.
Panelo cited Manalo’s “intellectual grasp” of the Bible and “determination” to search for the truth, which not only attracted several followers but earned their respect as well.
When the INC founder died on April 12, 1963, some non-members predicted the fall of his church.
However, its membership continued to grow in the Philippines and other parts of the world.
“Brother Felix then became the Executive Minister of the Church and oversaw its tremendous expansion. His son, Eraño, who also became the Executive Minister upon his death in 1963, further expanded the Church internationally. It continued to grow in wealth and prestige,” he said.
Currently, the church’s Executive Minister is Eraño’s eldest son, Eduardo, who was ordained as INC Minister on May 9, 1980.
“The Iglesia ni Cristo or Church of Christ, in its humble stature as an indigenous Christian Church from the Philippines, a century and six years ago, has thrived to reach a triumphant form of international prominence now present in 158 countries and territories,” he said. (PNA)
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