Apostolic Catholic Church (Philippines)

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Apostolic Catholic Church
The seal of the Apostolic Catholic Church showing the Catholic cross (right) and the Eastern Orthodox cross (left).
Orientation Apostolic and Paleo-orthodox
Polity Episcopal
Leader John Florentine L. Teruel[1]
Associations National Council of Churches in the Philippines[2]
Region Philippines
Founder John Florentine L. Teruel and Maria Virginia Peñaflor Leonzon[1]
Origin July 7, 1992[1]
 Philippines Hermosa, Bataan, Philippines
Separated from Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church
Official website http://www.acc-ingkong.org/
EDSA, Quezon City
The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Sacrifice Valley, Hemosa, Bataan.
Picture of ACC Patriarch
Matriarch of Apostolic Catholic Church

The Apostolic Catholic Church (ACC) is a Philippine-based self-governing church[1] founded in 1992 by John Florentine L. Teruel, P.P. The ACC considers its faith and worship traced from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that Jesus Christ and his Apostles established and claims 24 lines of apostolic succession. The church's goal is to mediate and unite the Western Rite or the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Rite or the Orthodox Church to form a single Catholic Church. The Apostolic Catholic Church is classified as an independent and autocephalous Catholic church because it is not in communion with the Pope although it follows Catholic teaching and theology, such as Marian devotions and recitation of the 15 decades of the Rosary.

The church was founded and is currently headed by Patriarch John Florentine L. Teruel, P.P. and his mother, Maria Virginia Peñaflor Leonzon, is considered as its matriarch and honorary foundress. The church is based in Sacrifice Valley in Hermosa, Bataan, Philippines. It has two main shrines: the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Sacrifice Valley (its main cathedral) and the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Rock in Quezon City.

Church governance and congregation[edit]

The Apostolic Catholic Church, as a self-governing autocephalous church, having two congregation and religious order which is the Order of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit (OMHS) and the Order of the Missionaries of John Florentine (OMJF) . The members of the congregation are the archbishops, bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, nuns, and third order members, bound by their evangelical vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and acceptance of their immediate superiors, to the Patriarch, John Florentine L. Teruel, P.P., and to God the Holy Spirit, who is called by his new Name Ingkong.[3] The lay governing body of the Apostolic Catholic Church is headed by the Parish Pastoral Council, with its own elected officers and committees, the working force of the church.

The Apostolic Catholic Church is a mainline Protestant denomination that can be classified as paleo-orthodox because its goal is to mediate Catholicism to revive the ancient traditions that Jesus Christ taught humanity. The church manifests itself as Protestant catholic because it does not accept the authority of the Pope nor the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility and the conditions approved in the Vatican II Council that removed some ancient Christian traditions.

The church is an active member of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines along with other Protestant and non-Roman Catholic churches whose goal is to achieve ecumenism.[4] Today, the church is said to have more than five to eight million members worldwide, making it the third largest Christian denomination in the Philippines after the Roman Catholic Church as the first and the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church) as the second.[5][dead link]


The Apostolic Catholic Church is headed by a patriarchate similar to Eastern Orthodox churches, and is located in Hermosa, Bataan, Philippines. The highest clergy of the church and the Patriarch, Dr. John Florentine Leonzon Teruel, P.P., resides and governs the church from Sacrifice Valley, a barangay in Hermosa, Bataan. Like Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Apostolic Catholic Church does not accept the authority of the Pope, but still generally respects it.[6] Its principal church is the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, where the history and foundation of the church took place. There is also an outdoor church in Sacrifice Valley, called the Nature's Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which has circular structures that shelter different images of Mary, the Theotokos. It is also known as the "Pilgrimage Capital of Bataan" because every year during Holy Week, thousands of people including Roman Catholics visit it for their devotion to Mahal na Ingkóng, the title given by their leader to God as revealed to the Patriarch and St María Virginia. The Apostolic Catholic Church follows the episcopal polity because it maintains a council of bishops that is headed by a sole leader, the Patriarch.

Beliefs and practices[edit]

The church believes the doctrine of the Trinity that states that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three persons in one God.[citation needed]

It is a conservative church because it observes the traditional attire of men and women. Especially during the sacrifice of the Holy Mass, veils and decent dress are worn by women while men wear white shirts and pants but mostly white soutanes. Attire such as mini skirts and jeans by women and sando shirts by men are strictly prohibited. These ancient church traditions were removed after the Vatican II Council by the Roman Catholic Church but were all retained by the Apostolic Catholic Church. Members of the church are also known for their discipline and piety, youths are not allowed intimate relationships with one another. Adults are prohibited alcohol, cigarettes, gambling and drugs.[citation needed]


The Apostolic Catholic Church follows the doctrine of recognizing saints and holy people based on what they have done while still alive. Similar to the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and the Anglican Communion, it recognizes all Roman Catholic and Orthodox saints. Currently, there is only one saint beatified by the ACC Patriarch. St. Maria Virginia Peñaflor Leonzon, mother of the Church and the Patriarch, Dr. John Florentine L. Teruel, PP. She is the honorary foundress of Apostolic Catholic Church and its Cursillo Movement. Having an elevated spiritual life, she was beatified and canonized a saint in 1995 by the Patriarch. Because of this, St. Maria Virginia P. Leonzon became the first Filipino non-Roman Catholic saint. When she was still alive, St. Maria Virginia was a living saint for all ACC members. She died at the age of 83 in Sacrifice Valley in 2005.[5]


The official symbol of the church are two crosses with a dove between them. The Eastern Rite Orthodox cross is on the left and the Western Rite Roman Catholic cross is on the right with a dove that represents unity and peace between them in the center. The combination of the two crosses are viewed by the Apostolic Catholic Church as symbolic of the unity of Christianity, particularly the Eastern and Western Churches.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d "History of the Apostolic Catholic Church". Acc-ingkong.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  2. ^ National Council of Churches in the Philippines. "Our Member Churches". Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Ingkong (The Holy Spirit)". Acc-ingkong.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  4. ^ "Our Member Churches". National Council of Churches in the Philippines. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  5. ^ a b Davila, Karen. "Sekta ng sakripisyo: Kulto o sentro ng mga relihiyoso?". The Correspondents (in Tagalog). ABS-CBN News. Archived from the original on 2006-02-21. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  6. ^ "Governance". Acc-ingkong.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 

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