Aglipayan

The Philippine Independent Church, officially the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) in Spanish, is a Christian denomination of the Catholic tradition in the form of a national church. It is better known as the Aglipayan Church after its founder, Gregorio Aglipay.[1] Since 1965 it has been part of the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht Association of Churches. Today the Philippine Independent Church or Aglipayan Church is the third largest Christian denomination in the Philippines after Roman Catholic and Iglesia ni Cristo respectively, with approximately two to four million members which is scattered all over the Philippines and with large congregations as well in the United States and parts of Asia. The bulk of the Aglipayans comes from the northern part of the island of Luzon especially in the Ilocandia region, where its first Supreme Bishop comes from. Now the church is divided into 10 dioceses which includes the Diocese of United States and Canada. But due to lack of priests to serve its church, many parishes in the USA are priestless.

The current Obispo Maximo now is the Most Rev. Godofredo J. David, which has its central office in the capital of the country in Manila (National Cathedral of the Holy Child in Taft Ave, Manila). The line of succession goes back from the first Obispo Maximo Aglipay and which is followed by 10 other successors.

The Philippine Independent Church is considered the most tangible product of the 1898 Revolution against Spain.

Rise of nationalism

At the end of the 19th century, Filipino nationalism emerged, preceding the struggles of other colonized countries in Asia such as British India and French Indochina, and the fight for independence gave way to revolution. Latin American countries at this time were also breaking away from Spain. With the execution of prominent ethnic Filipino clergy such as Fr. José Burgos at the hands of the Spanish royal authorities, church reforms became a facet of the Philippine independence movement.

Colonial church

Whereas many Spanish friars protested abuses by the Spanish government and military, other friars were committing many abuses. Many Filipinos were enraged when Spanish friars blocked the ascent of the Filipino clergy in the Catholic Church hierarchy. Vast lands were claimed as friars' estates from landless farmers. There were also widely known cases of sexual abuse of women by priests. Anak ni Padre Dámaso (Child of Father Dámaso, alluding to a character in one of Rizal's novels) has become a cliché or stereotype to refer to an illegitimate child, especially that of a priest. The death of Fr. José Burgos, Fr. Zamora, and Fr. Gomez is said to have indirectly ignited the Philippine revolution and had a profound effect on Dr. José Rizal.

Gregorio Aglipay

Main article: Gregorio Aglipay
Gregorio Aglipay was an activist Roman Catholic priest from Ilocos Norte who, despite his intercession and defense of some of the Spanish Roman Catholic clergy from liberal-nationalist Filipino revolutionaries, was excommunicated by the Vatican for inciting rebellion within the Filipino clergy. During the brief interlude between independence from the Spanish and the subsequent reoccupation by the Americans, Isabelo de los Reyes (also known as Don Belong) and Aglipay reformed the Filipino Catholic clergy into the Philippine Independent Church, officially established in 1902. The new church absolutely rejected the spiritual authority of the Pope (then Pope Leo XIII) and abolished the celibacy requirement from its clergy, allowing marriage among its priests, who were all apostate Roman Catholic priests. Later on, the new independent Church reformed the traditional Roman Catholic Latin Tridentine liturgy drastically after the model of the Anglican vernacular reform. The Eucharist has been said in Spanish (sometimes: Portuguese) for already more than one hundred years in the IFI. The apostolic succession of bishops ordained in the historic episcopate was restored via the Episcopal Church in the USA in 1948.

Factionalism and current state

Winning large numbers of adherents in its early years because of its nationalist roots, Aglipayan numbers decreased due to factionalism and doctrinal disagreements. Some factions, tending towards more radical cryptoprotestant reforms, formally joined other denominations including the Episcopal Church and the American Unitarians.

Today, the Philippine Independent Church are affiliated with the Old Catholics and the Anglican Communion. Aglipayans number around two to six million, mostly in the Ilocos Region. They make about 7% of the total population of the Philippines, while 83% of the population is a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church), an independent church, has Concordat relationships with the Anglican provinces and the Old Catholic Church. Its members are currently spread throughout the Philippines, the United States and Canada. The spiritual head is called Obispo Maximo (Supreme Bishop). His Eminence Godofredo J. David, is the incumbent and the 11th Obispo Maximo.

In 2002 Aglipayan bishops registered their objection to the presence of U.S. Special Forces troops in the Philippines.[2]

List of Obispo Maximos from 1902 to 2006

  1. The Most Rev. Gregorio Aglipay y Labayan- First Obispo Maximo from 1902-1940
  2. The Most Rev. Santiago Antonio Fonacier y Suguitan- from 1940-1946
  3. The Most Rev. Gerardo Bayaca y Medina- 1946
  4. The Most Rev. Isabelo de los Reyes, Jr.y Lopez- from 1946-1971
  5. The Most Rev. Macario Ga y Vilches- from 1971-1981
  6. The Most Rev. Abdias dela Cruz y Rebantad- from 1981-1987
  7. The Most Rev. Soliman Ganno y Flores- from 1987-1989
  8. The Most Rev. Tito Pasco y Esquillo- from 1989-1993
  9. The Most Rev. Alberto Ramento y Baldovino- from 1993-1999
  10. The Most Rev. Tomas Millamena y Amabran- from 1999-2005
  11. The Most Rev. Godofredo David y Juico- from 2005-present

List of dioceses

  • Laoag-under Obispo Maximo
  • Batac-The Right Rev. Rosario S. Acoba
  • LUISA-under Obispo Maximo
  • Nueva Vizcaya & Quirino-under Obispo Maximo
  • Santiago City-under Obispo Maximo
  • Tuguegarao-The Right Rev. Ernesto M. Tamayo
  • Zambales- The Right Rev. Generoso A. Rosales
  • Dagupan-The Right Rev. Hermogenes M. Ranche
  • Eastern Pangasinan-The Right Rev. Warlito P. Baldomero
  • Tarlac-under Obispo Maximo
  • Nueva Ecija-The Right Rev. Ernesto F. Tadly
  • Bataan and Bulacan-The Right Rev. Raymundo L. Rivera
  • Cavite-under Obispo Maximo
  • Greater Manila-The Right Rev. Gregorio de los Reyes
  • Rizal and Pampanga-Under Obispo Maximo
  • Laguna- The Most Rev. Tomas A. Millamena
  • Romblon and Mindoro-The Right Rev. Ronelio V. Fabriquer
  • MAQUEBACA-under Obispo Maximo
  • Masbate-under Obispo Maximo
  • Cebu and Bohol- The Right Rev. Felomino N. Ang
  • Negros Oriental & Siquijor-The Right Rev. David M. Ga
  • BILLESA-The Right Rev. Vic A. Esclamado
  • Negros Occidental-Under Obispo Maximo
  • Aklan and Capiz-The Most Rev. Abdias R. dela Cruz
  • Antique-The Right Rev. Leon T. Estrella
  • Palawan-under Obispo Maximo
  • Iloilo-The Right Rev. Gaspar D. Bañes
  • Guimaras-The Right Rev. Tito Vilches
  • Western Mindanao-The Right Rev. Pablito M. Jarantilla
  • MOBUCA-The Right Rev. Felixberto L. Calang
  • AGUSURI-The Right Rev. Denny D. Dapitan
  • Surigao-The Right Rev. Rhee M. Timbang
  • Southern Mindanao-The Right Rev. Delfin Callao
  • United States and Canada-The Right Rev. Raul C. Tobias
National Cathedral and specially assigned clergy under OM The Most Rev. Godofredo J. David

Churches in Full Communion

Old Catholics:
  • Old Catholic Churches (Union of Utrecht)
Anglican Communion:
  • Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA)
  • Church of the Province of West Indies
  • Church of the Province of Central Africa
  • Church of the Province of West Africa
  • Church of the Province of East Africa
  • Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon (today Church of North India)
  • Nippon Sei Ko Kai
  • Church of Ireland
  • Lusitanian Church
  • Church of England
  • Episcopal Church in Scotland
  • Anglican Church of Canada (ACC)
  • Anglican Church of Australia
  • Church of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi
  • Spanish Episcopal Reformed Church
  • Church of the Province of South Africa
  • Church of the Province of New Zealand
  • Church of Melanesia (COM)
  • Episcopal Church of Brazil
  • Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP)
IFI, by virtue of its concordat relations with the Anglican Churches, is given the privilege to send delegates to the Council of Churches of East Asia (CCEA) as organized by the Anglican Provinces in East Asia in 1962. Since 1964, the IFI Bishops have also been regular members of the international Anglican gathering, the Lambeth Conference.

Other Concordat Churches worldwide:
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden

References

1. ^ de Achutegui, Pedro S. & Miguel A. Bernad, "The Religious Coup d'Etat 1898-1901: A Docuentary History. Religious Revolution in the Philippines, Volume III. The University Press, 1971. Cited in John A. Larkin, "Review 74-- No Title, The Journal of Asian Studies, Nov 1972; 32,1. at Proquest (subscription)
2. ^ "Clerics object to US troops." BusinessWorld. Manila: Feb 14, 2002. pg. 1
Struggle for Freedom: The Philippine Independent Church. Lewis Bliss Whittemore. Greenwich, CT: SPCK, 1961.

External links

The Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Churches
Unifying Institutions Old Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht | International Old Catholic Bishops' Conference | International Old Catholic Congresses |
Member Churches Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands | Catholic Diocese of the Old Catholics in Germany | Old Catholic Church of Austria | Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland | Old Catholic Church of the Czech Republic | Polish Catholic Church |
Dependent jurisdictions Old Catholic Church of Croatia | Old Catholic Mission in France | Old Catholic Church in Italy | Old Catholic Church in Sweden and Denmark | St. John's Polish Catholic Cathedral, Toronto |
Churches in full communion Anglican Communion | Philippine Independent Church

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Gregorio Labayan Aglipay was born on May 8, 1860 in Batac, Ilocos Norte, an orphan who grew up in the tobacco fields in the last volatile decades of the Spanish occupation of the Philippines.
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