(Eagle News) – The new and state-of-the-art Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) museum, featuring the Church’s history, culture, and rapid global expansion since 1914, opens to the public after it was inaugurated on Monday, August 26, 2019 by INC Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.
The five-level INC Museum, with a total area of 46,000 square meters, is considered to be the largest private and heritage museum, as well as the largest single-building museum in the country, according to INC General Auditor Bro. Glicerio Santos Jr.
He said that establishment of a vast modern museum that would present the history of the INC to the public was a vision of the INC Executive Minister so that this could house all the memorabilia and other historical items of the Church, from the early years when it was first registered in the Philippines in 1914 to the present.
“Itong ating Museum na katatapos lang ang inauguration ay panukala ito ng ating Tagapamahalang Pangkalahatan, ang kapatid na Eduardo Manalo. Kung bakit siya nagpanukala ng ganito kalaki, sapagkat yung ating dating Museum na nandoon sa basement ng Templo ay talagang napakaliit na, kaya naisip niya na magpagawa ng ganito kalaki.,” Santos explained.
(This newly inaugurated Museum was envisioned by our Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo. As to why he had envisioned to have a large museum like this was because the old INC museum located at the basement of the INC Temple had little space so he thought of having a large museum built.)
-Museum designed by National Artist Mañosa-
The INC Museum was designed by the renowned Philippine national artist for architecture, Francisco ‘Bobby’ Mañosa, who is known for having pioneered the art of Philippine neovernacular architecture.
The Museum itself, including its design is a work of art.
But this is not the only reason why Filipinos should take pride in the INC Museum, because the Iglesia Ni Cristo itself – the phenomenon of its remarkable growth and expansion in the last 105 years – is something that every Filipino should be proud of, Santos said.
“Ang Sugo ay Pilipino. Ang unang mga kaanib ay Pilipino. Dapat ngang ipagmalaki natin ang Iglesia Ni Cristo. Akalain mo itong Iglesia Ni Cristo sumambulat sa buong mundo. Inaniban ito ng iba’t ibang lahi sa mundo. Nakarating ito sa anim na kontinente ng daigdig. Ano pang masasabi natin dito? Bakit hindi natin pag-aralan ito? Ano bang nangyayari? Bakit ito nagtagumpay?” the INC General Auditor noted.
(The Messenger is a Filipino. The first [Church] members are Filipinos. Just imagine how the Iglesia Ni Cristo suddenly spread all over the world. Various races and nationalities in the world became members of the Church. This has reached the six continents of the world. What else can we say about it? Why don’t we study this phenomenon? What is happening? Why did it succeed?)
-God’s help manifested-
Santos noted how through the preaching of the Brother Felix Y. Manalo whom INC members regard as the fulfillment of the biblical prophecy on God’s Messenger (Sugo) in these Last Days, the INC was registered in the Philippines in 1914 and had its phenomenal growth. This was all because of God’s help, he said.
“Akalain mo, ito ay nagsimula sa kalagayang walang wala. Pinagtatawanan ang Sugo. Ayaw tanggapin mismo ng mga kababayan niya sa Taguig, at maging yung mga kaibayo sa pananampalataya, yung iba’t-ibang relihiyon,” he said.
(Just imagine, this started with nothing. The Messenger was being laughed at. His own townmates in Taguig, and even those from other religions, would not accept him.)
“Kaya pag nakita ito ng mga kapatid, makikita na ito ay gawa ng ating Panginoong Diyos, na sa kabila ng mga humahadlang ay nagpatuloy sa pagtatagumpay ang Iglesia. Yan ang unang unang magiging impresyon ng kapatid.”
(So if this [museum] will be viewed by the brethren, they will see that this Church is the work of our Lord God, that despite the hindrances, the Church continued with its victories. That would be the very first impression of our brethren [in the Church])
“At ikalawa pag nakita na itong museum na ito, hahanga sila sa mga kasaysayan, sa mga tagumpay at nagawa ng Iglesia na hindi natin akalain. Kaya ito magpapatibay sa pananampalataya sa lahat ng makakakita nito.”
(And secondly, if they will see this museum, they will be amazed with its history, its victories, and what the Church had achieved beyond our imagination. So this will strengthen the faith of those who will see this.)
INC Museum Assistant Director and curator Brother Cornelio Cortez Jr., said that somehow the Museum presents “tangible evidence not only the history of the Church Of Christ but also on the fulfillment of God’s prophecy on its emergence in these Last Days, including its spread and expansion all over the world.”
Miniature and life-sized dioramas depicting important period of the Church’s history can be seen in the Museum, as well as the Bibles and other things used by the Church’s first Executive Minister, Brother Felix Y. Manalo, in the early years of the INC, which were all wonderfully preserved.
The vintage car used by “Ka Felix”, which is still on running condition, is also on display in the Museum.
Even the office room which was used by Brother Felix can be seen in the INC Museum, including the original tables, chairs, and other furnishings. The office room of Brother Eraño G. Manalo, the second INC Executive Minister, can also be viewed in the INC Museum.
Among the historical items displayed are the early photos, old letters and lessons written by Ka Felix, letters and certificates of recognition from government officials, and congratulatory greetings from various world leaders. Various memorabilia from the time of the administration of Brother Felix Y. Manalo, Brother Eraño G. Manalo, to the present administration of Brother Eduardo V. Manalo are also on display.
Going into the Museum is like stepping back in time.
The visitor is transported to the early years of the Church Of Christ in the Philippines in 1914 when the Church was first registered in the Philippines, to the tumultuous years of World War I and II, and the years when the Church rapidly expanded across the globe starting with the first worship service outside the Philippines in Ewa Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii on July 27, 1968 officiated by the late Executive Minister Brother Eraño G. Manalo.
-Iglesia Ni Cristo part of Philippine history-
Santos noted how the history of the Iglesia Ni Cristo is inextricably linked with Philippine history.
“Ang bahagi ng Iglesia Ni Cristo sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas ay napakalaki. Kaya nga sabi ko kung Pilipino ka, at meron kang pagkakataon na tingnan ang museong ito, tingnan mo,” he said.
(The Iglesia Ni Cristo plays a huge part in the history of the Philippines. That’s why, as I have said, if you are a Filipino, and you have the chance to visit this museum, see this)
“Makikita mo na ikaw bilang Pilipino, ipagmamalaki mo ang Iglesia Ni Cristo na galing sa ating bansa (You will see that you as a Filipino, you will take pride that the Iglesia Ni Cristo came from our country),” he said.
A student of history would be astonished with the INC’s growth and expansion.
It has established its presence in 152 countries with members belonging to 147 nationalities and races or ethnicities.
“Ang magiging epekto niyan pag nakita ng mga kapatid itong bagong Museum.. Yun ay makikilala nila bilang patotoo na ang Iglesia Ni Cristo ay totoo (Our brethren, when they see this new Museum, the effect would be that they will know that this is a testament that the Church Of Christ is true).”
-Invitation to the public-
“Kung Pilipino ka, di dapat lalo mong tingnan itong nagagawang ito ng Iglesia Ni Cristo. Makikita rito ang lahat ng kasaysayan ng Iglesia Ni Cristo simula noong 1914 hanggang ngayon, pagkalipas ng 105 taon ng pag-iral ng Iglesia Ni Cristo sa Pilipinas, naroon na lahat. Kaya napakaganda nga itong balak ng Kapatid na Eduardo Manalo,” Santos said.
(If you are a Filipino, then the more you should see what is this that the Iglesia Ni Cristo had done. You will see here the history of the Iglesia Ni Cristo from 1914 to the present, after 105 years of the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s existence in the Philippines. All is here [in the museum]. That is why this vision of Brother Eduardo Manalo is truly remarkable)
The INC Museum is open to the public.
Everyone is invited and welcome to visit the Museum and to view the INC’s history, Santos said.
“Kahit sino ay puedeng magpunta rito. Inaanyayahan namin kayo na makilala nyo naman ang Iglesia Ni Cristo (Anyone can come here. We are inviting you to know the Iglesia Ni Cristo),” the INC General Auditor said.
-State of the art technology –
The spacious and elegantly designed museum also includes state of the art technology with touchscreen interactive globes that show the locations of various INC local congregations around the world, and other gadgets to show various video stories of INC worldwide. Even the Museum building itself uses state of the art technology with controlled temperatures, and sensors even at the parking area, said history professor Vic Villan, a volunteer curator-researcher for the INC Museum.
In the first floor is the Museum’s Audio Visual Room, the Children’s Museum, Museum Café, and Souvenir shop.
On the second floor is the lighted Philippine Floor Map showing the areas where the INC has local congregations, the interactive globe and a fast lane section of the Museum.
The third floor shows the historical section of the Museum tracing the history and growth of the Church Of Christ from 1914 to the present time.
The fourth floor shows the thematic sections of the Museum including the various INC Aid to Humanity events, the various issues of the God’s Message magazines.
Miniature models of some INC worship buildings in the Philippines and abroad are also showcased in the Museum.
Visitors could use either an elevator or a walkalator to go up or down the various floors of the museum.
Santos said that as the INC continues to grow and expand, more historical items would be added to the INC Museum.
“Ang totoo yung nandoon nga sa Museum ay kulang pa sa dami ng nangyari sa Iglesia na kailangang idagdag doon. Kaya walang tigil na pagdaragdag ang isang tinatawag na Museum (The truth is this Museum is still not enough because of the many things that are happening in the Church which should be added. That is why the addition of more items is endless for a museum),” he said.
The first INC museum was opened in 1984. It was located at the basement of the INC Central Temple along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.
The new INC Museum is located at 25 Central Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.