|Felix Ysagun Manalo|
Felix Y. Manalo on the cover of Pasugo
|Religion||Iglesia ni Cristo|
May 10, 1886|
|Died||April 12, 1963
Quezon City, Philippines
|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")|
|Period in office||1913-1963|
|Successor||Eraño G. Manalo|
Felix Ysagun Manalo (born Félix Manalo ý Ysagun May 10, 1886 - April 12, 1963), also known as Ka Félix, was the first Executive Minister (Tagalog: Tagapamahalang Pangkalahatan) of the Philippines'-based religious organization Iglesia ni Cristo, 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 Iglesia ni Cristo, 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 Iglesia ni Cristo refer to him as the founder of the Iglesia ni Cristo and describe him as such but the official INC doctrines claim otherwise.
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.
Felix Y. Manalo was born in Barrio Calzada, Taguig, in Rizal province, southern Luzon, in the Philippines on May 10, 1886—at a time when the country was yet in the clutches of Spanish colonialism and when Roman Catholicism was still considered the state religion. 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. He grieved over the death of his mother for whom he had a great affection. Thus for sentimental reasons and for expressing his reverence, he adopted her surname, Manalo.) He began acquiring his education from barrio school under the tutelage of a “maestrong Cario” (a teacher called Cario).
He worked as a herd boy, and was later apprenticed to his uncle in the latter’s photography studio and sometime in 1904, opened a hat shop in Paranaque, Rizal.
Felix Manalo began to entertain his first doubt in the Catholic teachings when, sometime in 1904, he witnessed a public debate between a Catholic priest and a Protestant pastor in Paranaque, Rizal. The Protestant pastor evidently prevailed and gained Manalo’s profound interest.
That year, he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church and attended classes given by that sect in the Methodist Theological Seminary wherein he eventually became an evangelist.
Thus began a seemingly endless search for the true religion—a search that led Manalo to join one Protestant sect after another—scrutinizing every doctrine and comparing them with the biblical percepts.In 1907, he joined the Presbyterian Church wherein he became a pastor after attending the Union Theological Seminary. In 1908, he joined the Disciples of Christ and served as an evangelist for a year before leaving, having been accused of domestic violence.
The manner of baptizing by immersion by the Christian Mission attracted Manalo’s attention and, in 1910, he joined the missionaries and later became an evangelist. He married Tomasa Sereneo of Paco, Manila who died soon after giving birth to their son, Gerardo.
In 1911, he joined the Seventh day Adventists wherein he also became a pastor. Then Bro. Manalo remarried. His second wife was Honorata de Guzman of Sta. Cruz, Manila. The couple were both active in the Church’s activities, Felix Manalo as a minister and Honorata, a deaconess. But then, after pondering on the Adventist’s persistent observance of Sabbath, Manalo found it unscriptural. He abandoned the Adventist Church and returned to his hat shop. According to some source, Manalo was suspended by the Seventh Day Adventist for alleged adultery.
Dissatisfied with the doctrines and practices of the then existing religions, Manalo severed himself from all of them. Then he transferred his business and domicile to Pasay City and also opened a barber shop. Although he was frequently visited by his former colleagues in the Adventist Church who tried to bring him back to the fold, Manalo did not waver.
He totally lost faith in the established religions. He began to associate himself with atheist and free-thinkers to examine their conviction which he found false and irrational, as well. He discovered that wrong interpretations of the bible caused both the atheist’s disbelief and the diversity of the doctrines of different religions.
In search for the truth, Manalo resolved to undertake a thorough examination of the doctrines of the different religions.
Foundation of the Church of Christ
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In an early month of 1914, Felix Manalo with his wife, Honorata, left their home and headed for Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila to begin preaching about the Church of Christ (Iglesia ni Cristo). There he started with four or five listeners in a small room at the workers’ quarters of Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company of Manila, Incorporated. As the listeners began to grow in number the nightly religious meetings moved out in the open. Soon, the first converts were baptized in the nearby Pasig River.
A few months later, the church in Punta gained more converts and Manalo decided to propagate the church in other places. He left the small congregation in the care of Federico Inocencio, one of the converts, and Atanacio Morte, the head deacon. He headed for Tipas with his wife and infant daughter, Pilar, to bring the mission of salvation to his town mates.
In his hometown, he met stiff persecutions. His town mates could hardly believe that so familiar a figure as he could bring no less than the message of salvation to them. They derided him. Yet some of the more determined detractors were later converted. Among these were Justino Cassanova, pastor of the Christian and Missionary alliance and Norbeto Asuncion who became ministers of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
On July 27, 1914 the Iglesia ni Cristo was officially registered with the Philippine government with he himself as the first Executive Minister.
A few months later, the Church’s work of propagation was launched in the town of Pateros and then in the town of Pasig. The propagation of the Church first began in Tondo, Manila in the closing months of 1915.
Manalo met various oppositions and persecutions from entrenched religious establishments such as the Catholic and Protestant forces. He also conducted Bible classes for the ministry. Soon some student members were ordained on whose assistance Manalo could now depend in looking after the spiritual needs of the growing church.
Trusted ministers were assigned to pioneer in the work of propagating the faith in the areas surrounding Manila. The church branched out to the provinces in Central Luzon. In 1937, the church began propagating in the Visayas when Manalo sent Alipio Apolonio to pioneer in preaching the church in Cebu, whence it hopped from one Visayan Island to another.
In Feb. 1939, the first issue of Pasugo came out. The Tagalog magazine aimed to disseminate the doctrines of the Church. Publication of this monthly periodical temporarily stopped during the war years and reappeared in Jan. 1951.
During the wartime period, when the Japanese Imperial Army occupied the Philippines, the mission of salvation continued in spite of the reign bombs and threats. While other religious groups compromised, out of fear, with the Japanese and succumbed to the machinations of the enemy, the Iglesia ni Cristo continued to hold worship services, continued to hold missionary campaigns and continued to minister to the spiritual needs of the brethren.
In 1948 the church began constructing a concrete house of worship in Washington street, Sampaloc, Manila. It was the beginning of pious undertaking; the resurgence of big houses of worship that became landmarks through the breadth and length of the archipelago. It was far from the expectation of many people because of the majority of the church members are numbered among poor. Because of its force, this church has gained the respect even of those who disagree with it in many things.
Before becoming the founder of Church of Christ (Iglesia ni Cristo), he was a former member of different religious organizations such as the Catholic Church, the Philippine Mission Churches of Christ, and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
Manalo was accused of immorality in 1922, that resulted in a schism led by Teofilo Ora and the loss of some followers. Many journalists, like the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) also began criticizing his church.
Felix Manalo felt his health declining rapidly. 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.
He had stomach ulcers which brought him constant pain that even 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.
At his funeral, thousands observed the remains of their beloved religious leader, seized with grief, weeping and in anguish. The local police estimated the crowd in the funeral procession to be 2 million and the rite took five hours. INC believe that Felix Manalo is the angel from the "East" as described in the bible from the book of revelations describing the different angels coming from the different sides of the world.
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. Felix Y. Manalo was a recognized and highly respected religious leader of the Philippines.
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.
The ministers of the Christian Mission honored him on December 12, 1918, as an outstanding evangelist.
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.
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.
On the same year, President Arroyo 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.
Richard Gomez will portray Brother Felix on the movie Ang Sugo The Last Messenger.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Felix Manalo|
- NHI marker
- Coordinates: 14°32'0"N 121°4'45"E
- Richard Gomez to portray Iglesia Ni Cristo founder Felix Manalo in biopic
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- "Tagalog - Dictionary: ka". Retrieved 4 April 2013.
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|Executive Minister of Iglesia ni Cristo
1914 – 1963
Eraño G. Manalo