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July 27, 1914, Felix Manalo founded Iglesia ni Cristo in Punta Sta. Ana, Manila

The Iglesia Ni Cristo was preached by Brother Felix Y. Manalo, God’s Messenger in these last days, and was registered in the Philippines on July 27, 1914 in Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila. It is the largest homegrown Christian Church in the Philippines.

From its first local congregation in Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila, the Church quickly spread not only throughout the metropolis but also to the neighboring provinces in Luzon and across the islands of Visayas and Mindanao.

Brother Manalo, whom followers and members recognized as God’s messenger, professed to the reestablishment of the original church founded by Jesus and claimed that the original church was apostatized.

The INC began with a handful of followers with Manalo as its head minister propagated his message within his local area, subsequently growing its members and converting members of other religions.

(First Iglesia ni Cristo congregation in Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila) Photo:

In 1924, the INC had about 3,000 to 5,000 members in 43 or 45 congregations in Manila and six nearby provinces. By 1936, the INC had 85,000 members. This figure grew to 200,000 by 1954. 

A Cebu congregation was built in 1937, the first to be established outside of Luzon, and the first in the Visayas. 

The first mission to Mindanao was commissioned in 1946. 

Its first concrete chapel was built in Sampaloc, Manila in 1948.

As Manalo’s health began to fail in the 1950s, his son, Eraño Manalo started to take leadership of the church. Felix Manalo died on April 12, 1963.

When Brother Felix Manalo was laid to rest, the Church had already established ecclesiastical districts in more than half of all the provinces in the country.

Image courtesy of

The first overseas INC mission was sent in 1968 on its 54th anniversary and in 1973, the church established a congregation in Honolulu, Hawaii on July 27, and in San Francisco, California. 

Thus began the Church’s expansion in the Far West and eventually around the world.

The Ministerial Institute of Development, currently the New Era University College of Evangelical Ministry, was founded in 1974 in Quiapo, Manila. It moved to its current location in Quezon City in 1978. 

In 1995, New Era University had 4,500 students and five extension schools in Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga and Rizal. 

In 1971, the INC Central Office building was built in Quezon City. Fifteen years later, the Central Temple was added in the complex. The Tabernacle, a tent-like multipurpose building which can accommodate up to 4,000 persons, was finished in 1989. The complex also includes the New Era University, a higher-education institution run by the INC.

Eraño Manalo died on August 31, 2009. His son, Eduardo V. Manalo, succeeded him as executive minister upon his death.

According to the 2000 census of the Philippine National Statistics Office, 2.3 percent of the population in the Philippines was affiliated with the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Membership in the INC is conferred through baptism. People who wish to be baptized in the INC must first submit to a formal process taking at least six months.

Once someone officially registers with their locale, the person is given the status of Bible Student, as they are called within the Iglesia ni Cristo and taught the 25 lessons concerning fundamental beliefs of the INC.

Thursday and Sunday are its days of worship.

On July 27, 2009, President Gloria Arroyo declared this day of every year as the “Iglesia ni Cristo Day.”

The declaration was in keeping with Republic Act 9645, signed into law by the President on June 12, 2009, which designated the said day as a special working holiday in recognition of the founding anniversary of the INC in the Philippines.


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