|Gregorio Aglipay Cruz y Labayan
Obispo Maximo I
|Religion||Catholic Church (former)
Iglesia Filipina Independiente
5 May 1860|
Batac, Ilocos Norte, Spanish Philippines
|Died||1 September 1940
|Based in||Laoag, Ilocos Norte, Philippines|
|Title||First Supreme Bishop|
|Period in office||1902 - 1 September 1940|
|Successor||Santiago Antonio Fonacier y Suguitan, Obispo Maximo II|
|Spouse||Pilar Jamias y Ver|
Gregorio Aglipay Cruz y Labayan (Latin: Gregorius Aglipay; 5 May 1860 – 1 September 1940) was a former Roman Catholic priest who became the first Filipino Supreme Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church, a Christian Protestant sect in the form of a national church in the country.
Known for inciting patriotic rebellion among the Filipino clergy, he was also a political activist who became acquainted with Isabelo de los Reyes, who would start a Protestant church named after Aglipay in 1902.
Aglipay was previously excommunicated by Archbishop of Manila Bernardino Norzaleda y Villa on May 1899, upon the expressed permission of Pope Leo XIII. Aglipay later joined the Freemason Order in May 1918. Aglipay later married Pilar Jamias y Ver from Sarrat, Ilocos Norte in 1939 and then died one year later. Followers of Aglipay through the Philippine Independent Church colloquially sometimes refer to their membership as Aglipayans.
Born in Batac, Ilocos Norte, Aglipay was an orphan who grew up in the tobacco fields in the last volatile decades of the Spanish occupation of the Philippines. He bore deep grievances against the colonial government, stemming from abuses within the agricultural system and the radical ecclesiastical reforms he championed. Arrested at fourteen for not meeting his tobacco quota, he later moved to Manila to study law under the private tutelage of Julian Carpio.
After two years of study under Carpio, Aglipay continued his studies at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran and at the University of Santo Tomas. After obtaining his degree, he then entered the seminary in Ilocos Sur in 1883 and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood seven years later. He began a career as an assistant priest in various parishes around Luzon. Despite being a Catholic priest, Aglipay, like other Filipino revolutionaries, joined the Freemasons.
Establishment of the Filipino Catholic Church
In 1898, the Katipunan was led by the Supremo, Andrés Bonifacio. Archbishop Bernardino Nozaleda asked Aglipay to confront the revolutionary leaders, offering them a level of autonomy for the Philippines if they would end the rebellion. Aguinaldo, in turn, sent Colonel Luciano San Miguel to Aglipay with the intention of getting him to join the rebellion. In the course of Aglipay's journey north, the Philippine–American War started.
When Aglipay returned to Manila and discovered that the Americans had attacked, he joined the revolution. On 20 October 1898 he was appointed Military Vicar General of the revolutionaries. The next day, Aglipay sent a letter to various clergy asking them to ask the Pope to appoint Filipinos in all local church positions. On 5 May 1899, Archbishop Bernardino V. Nozaleda excommunicated Aglipay from the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1902, with the Philippines now a territory of the United States, Isabelo de los Reyes was working towards the formation of a Filipino national church, and on 3 August he suggested that a church independent of Rome with Aglipay as its Supreme Bishop be established. Aglipay, a devout Catholic at the time, initially did not accept. He was approached by Jesuit priests, Francisco Foradada and Joaquin Villalonga. They attempted to get him to sign a document swearing his allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church.
Aglipay said he would sign it if the Church would continue to work towards appointing more Filipino priests. Foradada asked him why he wanted more Filipino priests so badly, as he felt they were inefficient and vicious; this statement offended Aglipay (some reports say that he punched Foranda afterwards). He severed his ties with the Roman Catholic Church, and accepted de los Reyes' offer. On 18 January 1903, Aglipay was appointed Supreme Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church by the bishops of Manila, Cavite, Nueva Ecija, Isabela, Cagayan, Pangasinan, and Abra.
While visiting other churches while travelling abroad, Aglipay rejected the belief in the Holy Trinity, becoming theologically Unitarian, however the Aglipayan church refused to accept his amended theology. Aglipay's unitarian and progressive theological ideas were evident in his novena, Pagsisiyam sa Birhen sa Balintawak, 1925  and its English translation, Novenary of the Motherland, 1926.
Aglipay ran for the presidency of the Commonwealth of the Philippines along with the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas Norberto Nabong in a joined Republican-Communist Party ticket in 1935, but lost to Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmeña of the Nacionalista Party. He married D. Pilar Jamias y Ver in 1939 (the new church permits married clergy), but Aglipay died the following year on 1 September 1940.
- University, Princeton. The Catholic Historical Review, Volume 4. American Catholic Historical Association, 1919, p. 320.
- "Famous Filipino Mason – Bishop G. Aglipay". Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
- Aglipay, Gregorio, Pagsisiyam sa Birhen sa Balintawak, 1925
- Aglipay, Gregorio, Novenary of the Motherland, 1926
- Halili, Christine N. (2004) Philippine History, pp 192–93. ISBN 9712339343.
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