Felix Manalo

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Felix Ysagun Manalo
Religion Iglesia ni Cristo
Personal
Born (1886-05-10)May 10, 1886
Taguig, Philippines
Died April 12, 1963(1963-04-12) (aged 76)
Quezon City, Philippines
Senior posting
Based in F. Manalo, San Juan City, Philippines
Title Huling Sugo ng Diyos sa mga Huling Araw ("The Last Messenger of God in these Last Days")[1]
Period in office 1914-1963
Successor Eraño G. Manalo

Felix Ysagun Manalo (born Félix Manalo ý Ysagun May 10, 1886 - April 12, 1963), also known as Ka Félix,[2] was the founder and first Executive Minister (Filipino: Tagapamahalang Pangkalahatan) of the Philippine-based religious organization Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), and incorporated it with the Philippine Government on July 27, 1914. He is the father of Eraño G. Manalo, who succeeded him as Executive Minister of the INC, and the grandfather of Eduardo V. Manalo, the current Executive Minister.

Because there were no precursors to the registered church, external sources and critics of the INC refer to him as its founder.[3] The official doctrine of the Iglesia ni Cristo is that Felix Y. Manalo is the last messenger of God, sent to reestablish the first church founded by Jesus Christ, which the INC claims to have fallen into apostasy following the death of the Apostles.[4]

Biography[edit]

Felix Y. Manalo was born in Barrio Calzada, Tipas, Taguig, Manila province (transferred to Rizal province and now part of Metro Manila), Philippines on May 10, 1886. He was raised in the Catholic faith by his parents, Mariano Ysagun and Bonifacia Manalo. (It was sometime after his mother’s death that he decided on his mother’s name over his father’s name). In his teenage years, Manalo became dissatisfied with Roman Catholic theology. According to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the establishment of the Philippine Independent Church or the Aglipayan Church was his major turning point but Manalo remained uninterested since its doctrines were mainly Catholic. In 1904, he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church,[5] entered the Methodist seminary, and became a pastor for a while.[6] He also sought through various denominations, including the Presbyterian Church, Christian Mission, and finally Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1911. Manalo left the Adventist church in 1913, and associated himself with atheist and agnostic peers.[7][8]

Foundation of Iglesia ni Cristo[edit]

Iglesia ni Cristo's first congregation in Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila.

On November 1913, Manalo secluded himself with religious literature and unused notebooks in a friend's house in Pasay, instructing everyone in the house not to disturb him. He emerged from seclusion three days later with his new-found doctrines.[7]

Manalo, together with his wife, went to Punta, Santa Ana, Manila on November 1913, and started preaching. He left the congregation in the care of his first ordained minister, and returned to Taguig to evangelize. In Taguig he was ridiculed and stoned in his meetings with locals. He was later able to baptize a few converts, including some of his persecutors. He later registered his new-found religion as the Iglesia ni Kristo (English: Church of Christ; Spanish: Iglesia de Cristo) on July 27, 1914 one day before the start of World War 1 at the Bureau of Commerce as a corporation sole with himself as the first executive minister.[7][5][8] Expansion followed as INC started building congregations in the provinces in 1916.[9] The first three ministers were ordained in 1919.

In 1922, the INC's first schism, led by Teofilo Ora, one of INC's first ministers,[10] resulted in the loss of several congregations, along with their church buildings, in Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.[6] Ora founded Iglesia Verdadera de Cristo which was later changed to Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus.[11]

By 1924 the INC had about 3,000 to 5,000 adherents in 43 or 45 congregations in Manila and six nearby provinces.[8] By 1936 the INC had 85,000 members. This figure grew to 200,000 by 1954.[9] A Cebu congregation was built in 1937—the first to be established outside of Luzon, and the first in the Visayas. The first mission to Mindanao was commissioned in 1946. Meanwhile, its first concrete chapel was built in Sampaloc, Manila in 1948.[8][12] Adherents fleeing for the provinces away from Manila, where the Japanese forces were concentrated during the World War II, were used for evangelization.[8] As Manalo's health began to fail in the 1950s, Eraño Manalo started to take leadership of the church.

Death of Felix Manalo[edit]

The first concrete house of worship or chapel of Iglesia Ni Cristo.

On April 2, Manalo was confined to treat his intestines which had burst and hemorrhaged. On April 11, doctors performed a third surgery on him which would be his last.[13] He had stomach ulcers which brought him constant pain that medication did not help. On April 12, 1963 at 2:35 in the morning, Felix Ysagun Manalo died at the age of 76. He passed the leadership of the church to his son, Eraño de Guzman Manalo who was elected unanimously by the council of elders.[14] His remains were observed by his followers at his funeral in the INC's 3200-seater cathedral in San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City. [15] On April 23, he was buried at San Juan Cemetery in San Juan, Rizal.[16] The local police estimated the crowd in the funeral procession to be 2 million and the rite took five hours.[17]

Felix Manalo started his preaching mission with only a handful of listeners in a small room at the workers quarters of a construction company. When he died, he left a well-established church with millions of members all over the Philippines. In only 49 years of existence, the Iglesia ni Cristo had 1,250 local chapels, and 35 large concrete cathedrals.[17] Felix Y. Manalo was a recognized and highly respected religious leader of the Philippines.[3]

Recognition[edit]

Birthplace of Felix Y. Manalo as a National Historical Landmark
FYM historical marker

The church’s growth and expansion met many criticisms and persecutions. Its leaders and members alike were often ridiculed and maligned. However, Felix Manalo was an eloquent speaker, and he could deliver a skillful argument, had a facility in the use of Scriptures and a mastery in organization.[17]

The ministers of the Christian Mission honored him on December 25, 1918, as an outstanding evangelist.[3]

The Genius Divinical College of Manila on Avenida, Rizal, a non-sectarian institution headed by Eugenio Guerero, conferred on Felix Manalo the degree of Master of Biblo-Science honoris causa on March 28, 1931.[14]

On July 27, 2007, coinciding with the 93rd Anniversary of the Iglesia ni Cristo, the National Historical Institute (NHI) of the Philippines unveiled a marker on the birthplace of Felix Manalo, declaring the site as a National Historical Landmark. The marker is located at Barangay Calzada, Tipas, Taguig City, Metro Manila where the ancestral home of Manalo once stood. The marker sits on a 744 square meter plaza. In his dedication speech, Ludovico Badoy, NHI executive director said "Brother Felix Manalo's significant contribution to Philippine Society is worth recognizing and emulating.". He further said "...the church he preached have changed the lives and faith of many Filipinos. He deserves the pride and recognition of the people of Taguig.". The responsibility, maintenance and operation of the landmark was turned over to the INC.[18]

On the same year, the Philippine government declared July 27 of every year as "Iglesia ni Cristo Day" to enable millions of INC followers in the Philippines and in 75 countries around the world to observe the occasion with fitting solemnity.[19]

On May 10, 2014, coinciding his 128th birth anniversary, the Philippine Postal Corp. (Philpost) launched the Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial Commemorative Stamp at the INC Central Office in Diliman, Quezon City, to mark the 100th anniversary of the church’s registration in the Philippines. The stamp features the INC Central Temple and Felix Y. Manalo in sepia. At the bottom of the stamp is the INC centennial logo in color. Philpost issued 1.2 million of the stamps, which is more than twice the number of stamps they usually issue for a single design. The stamp, 50 millimeters by 35 mm, is bigger than the ordinary-sized 40 mm by 30 mm stamps.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "sugo". s´ugo' n. messenger n. 1 one sent: sugo 2 a messenger in a firm: mensahero 3 a bringer of news: tagapagbalita, taga- hatid ng balita. TAGALOG DICTIONARY. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  2. ^ "Tagalog - Dictionary: ka". Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Suarez, E.T. (July 27, 2008). "Officials celebrate with Iglesia ni Cristo on its 94th anniversary". The Manila Bulletin Online (The Manila Bulletin). Retrieved 2008-11-10. [dead link]
  4. ^ Cantor, Marlex C (May 2005). "The Church After the time of the Apostles, His choice, not ours". Pasugo - God's Message (Quezon City, Philippines: Iglesia ni Cristo) 57 (5): 28–31. ISSN 0116-1636. 
  5. ^ a b Juan Miguel Zubiri (2011-05-12). P.S. Res. No. 471. Quezon City: Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  6. ^ a b Robin A. Brace (February 2009). "Who are the 'Iglesia ni Cristo'?". UK Apologetics. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  7. ^ a b c Quennie Ann J. Palafox. "122nd Birth Anniversary of Ka Felix Manalo". National Historical Commission of the Philippines. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Robert R. Reed (2001). "The Iglesia ni Cristo, 1914-2000. From obscure Philippine faith to global belief system" (PDF). Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania (Leiden: Royal Netherlands of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies) 157 (3): 561–608. 
  9. ^ a b "96th Anniversary of the Iglesia ni Cristo on Tuesday, July 27, 2010". Manila Bulletin. 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  10. ^ "Iglesia ni Cristo". Catholic Answers. 2004-08-10. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  11. ^ The Deseret News - Google News Archive Search
  12. ^ Quennie Ann J. Palafox. "The Iglesia ni Cristo". National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  13. ^ May–June 1986 issue of Pasugo magazine
  14. ^ a b Palafox, First Executive Minister, NHI
  15. ^ Harper, Ann C (2001). "The Iglesia ni Cristo and Evangelical Christianity". Journal of Asian Mission (PDF) 3 (1): 101–119. 
  16. ^ Felix Manalo's Death Certificate
  17. ^ a b c Sanders, Albert J. (1969). "An Appraisal of the Iglesia ni Cristo". In Gerald H. Anderson. Studies in Philippine church history. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-0485-1. 
  18. ^ Cantor, Pasugo God's Message, August 2007, pg 12)
  19. ^ Suarez, Officials celebrate ... ,The Manila Bulletin Online, July 27, 2008
  20. ^ Cueto-Ibañez, Donna (May 12, 2014). "‘Iglesia’ gets centennial stamp". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
None
Executive Minister of Iglesia ni Cristo
1914 – 1963
Succeeded by
Eraño G. Manalo