QUEZON City, Philippines — In view of the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s historic Centennial on Sunday, July 27, the Philippine government, through the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) installed a “national historical marker” inside the INC Central Office grounds along Commonwealth Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City, as
With the historical marker installed inside the INC Central Office, the site has now become part of “historical ground” recognized by the Philippine government which mandates its preservation.
The historical marker is proof that the INC or Church of Christ is of “national historical significance” said NHCP research director Alvin Alcid.
INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo and NHCP executive director Ludovico Badoy unveiled the marker that served as the government’s official recognition of the church’s contribution to national history and nation building. The unveiling of the historical was done on Thursday, July 24, three days before the INC’s centennial celebration on July 27.
The decision to install a historical marker for the INC on its centennial year came about after passing through a rigorous process at the NHCP Board, which then decided that the INC as a whole, including its rich history, was of “national historical significance,” said NHCP research director Alcid.
Alcid said it was not difficult to grant a historical marker to the INC on its 100th year, since various historical documents authenticate the date of its centennial, and the events of the INC from the time of its establishment in the Manila by Felix Y. Manalo, its first executive minister in 1914, to its rapid expansion in more than 100 sites abroad at the present time, were inextricably linked to the Philippines.
NHCP director Badoy said the “history of the Philippines would never be complete without mentioning the Iglesia Ni Cristo”, which was registered in the country on July 27, 1914, simultaneous with the start of the first World War, a time period considered very significant in the INC doctrinal teachings.
In his speech, the NHCP chief even likened how the INC had survived intense persecutions and criticisms at its start, to the biblical story of the young “David” who had faced a formidable foe, “Goliath.”
“Ang kasiglahan ng Iglesia Ni Cristo ay maihahalintulad sa batang si David na pinatumba ang higanteng si Goliath,” he said. “Hindi naging hadlang ang pagiging maliit o payak ng Iglesia Ni Cristo dahil napagtagumpayan nito ang malalaking unos, gaya ng pag-uusig at mga pagtutuligsa na hinarap ng mga kaanib nito simula nang una itong naitatag hanggang ngayon.”
Badoy said the INC was able to do seemingly “impossible things” because of the members’ strong faith in God. He mentioned as examples the construction of the Philippine Arena, considered as the world’s largest indoor arena, and the various distinctive houses and buildings of worship of the INC all over the country and even abroad.
Badoy said that these structures are so strong that not even strong typhoons could destroy these structures.
“ Sino po ang makapagsasabi na ang Piipinas ay nagkapalad na magkaroon ng pinalakamalaking arena sa buong mundo dahil sa glesia Ni Cristo?’ said Badoy of the imposing Philippine Arena which is designed to withstand strong earthquakes and typhoons.
Badoy said the Philippine Arena as well as the various “palatial” buildings of worship of the INC symbolized the hardiness and strength of the INC and its members whose faith could not be knocked down by the intense “storms” that they encounter.
He said that the victories of the INC showed that being a minority is not an excuse to achieve great goals, especially if the “intentions are good,” as he cited the immediate help extended by the church to victims of calamities and strong typhoons like “Yolanda” (international name Haiyan) in November.
“Ipinakita nito ang pagmamahal sa kapwa kahit saan man relihiyon nabibilang,” Badoy said.
He also repeated the line of President Aquino “to love one another” even if Filipinos are of different faiths, which he said had been done by the INC through its medical and evangelical missions, and various socio-civic works helping people in need here and abroad.
Outside the Philippines, the INC had extended its help to victims of typhoons in Australia, United States, Japan, Austria, among other countries, and even to the victims of the Japan quake in March 2011. Through its project called “My Countrmen, My Brethren,” it had also extended help in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Rome in Italy, and the Dominican Republic recently.
“Maraming salamat sa Iglesia Ni Cristo dahil sa magagandang ehemplo na ipinakita nito sa kanyang nakalipas na 100 taong kasaysayan, gaya ng pagkakaisa, pagsisigasig, at pagmamahal sa kapwa” Badoy said.
Badoy also asked the INC to preserve and safeguard the historical marker installed inside the church compound.
In his speech, the INC’s executive minister, Manalo thanked the Philippine government for recognizing the INC’s contributions to society.
The INC leader also thanked President Aquino for issuing Proclamation No. 815 declaring this year 2014 as the “Iglesia Ni Cristo Centennial Year.”
“Ikinagagalak natin ang pagkilala ng pamahalaan ng Republika ng Plipinas sa Iglesia Ni Cristo sa mga naiambag ng organisasyong ito para sa ikasusulong ng kapakanang pangmoral at espirituwal ng maraming mga Pilipino, gayundin sa paghubog nito sa kanyang mga kaanib upang maging responsible at mabubuting mamamayan,” Manalo said.
He said that today, not only INC members give importance to the church and its contribution to society but, non-members as well, as indicated by various greetings on the INC centennial being brought to his attention.
“Ngayon ay hindi lamang mga kapatid ang nagpapahalaga sa Iglesia Ni Cristo, maging ang mga kababayan natin na hindi kaanib sa Iglesia ay nagpadala ng kanilang mga pagbati sa pagdiriwang ng ating sentenaryo bilang pagkilala sa naging ambag ng Iglesia Ni Cristo sa pagbuo at pagpapatatag ng ating bansa,” he said.
But Manalo said that the string of victories of the INC happened because it was God’s will.
Citing Jeremiah 9:23-24, Manalo said the INC is giving back to the Lord God all the honor and glory through its works that God had allowed to happen.
“Ganito ang sabi ng Panginoon, Huwag magmapuri ang marunong sa kanyang karunungan, at huwag magmapuri ang makapangyarihan sa kanyang kapangyarihan. Huwag magmapuri ang mayaman sa kanyang kayamanan, kungdi ang magmapuri ay dito magmapuri na kanyang nauunawaan at nakikilala ako na ako ang Panginoon na nagsasagawa ng kagandahang loob, ng katarungan, at ng katuwiran sa daigdig, sapagkat sa mga bagay na ito ay nalulugod ako, sabi ng Panginoon.” (“Thus says the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, and let not the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who executes loving kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, says the Lord.”
“Sa Panginoong Diyos ang lahat ng kapurihan,” Manalo said. “Anuman ang ating naiambag at nagawa natin sa ating kapwa, ito ay sa tulong at awa ng ating Panginoong Dyos. Ito ay gawa ng Kanyang makapangyariang kamay, ito ay pagtupad ng ating Pangunoong Diyos sa Kanyng mga pangako sa Iglesia kaya ibinabalik natin sa ating Panginoong Diyos ang lahat ng kaluwalhatian.”