Celebration: IGLESIA NI KRISTO 98TH ANNIVERSARY

JULY 27, 2012 is "Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Day," a special national working holiday, pursuant to Republic Act 9645, signed on June 12, 2009, to recognize "the exemplary feat of INC in leading its members towards spiritual enlightenment and good citizenry." This year, the INC is celebrating its 98th Anniversary, with activities designed to prepare its millions of followers for the church's centennial in 2014. INC was established by "Ka" (Brother) Felix Y. Manalo, its first Executive Minister, in Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila, on July 14, 1914.

From a handful followers in 1914, the INC has grown to become one of the country's biggest religious denominations, counting millions of members in its more than 5,400 congregations in the Philippines and in 90 countries worldwide. INC started to set up congregations in 1916. A Visayan congregation was set up in Cebu in 1938 and in Mindanao in 1946. The first concrete chapel was set up in Sampaloc, Manila, in 1948. It started its first overseas mission n 1968. The INC Central Office building was built in Quezon City in 1971 and the Central Temple was added 15 years later. It set up congregations in Hawaii and San Francisco, USA, in 1973. The Ministerial Institute of Development (now New Era University) was founded in 1974.

The post of Ka Felix, who passed away on April 12, 1963, was taken over by his son, Ka Eraño G. Manalo. Upon the latter's demise on August 31, 2009, he was succeeded by his eldest son, Bro. Eduardo "Ka Ed" V. Manalo, now INC Executive Minister.

To mark its 98th Anniversary, the INC held a medical-dental mission, dubbed "Lingap sa Mamamayan" (Aid to Humanity) in Baseco, Parola, and Isla Putting Bato in Tondo on July 7, 2012. The mission made it to the Guinness world records. The largest - 4,128 people - dental health check, higher than that recorded in India in 2009; the biggest number - 8,026 - of blood pressure readings taken in eight hours; and biggest number 5,217 - of blood glucose level tests conducted in eight hours, higher than the past Guinness records of 7,203 in Kuwait and 3,573 in India, respectively. INC has outreach programs on education, youth development, family counseling, and community extension. It assists during calamities and disasters. INC is building a 50,000-seat indoor arena in Ciudad de Victoria, Bulacan, in time for its centennial celebration in 2014.

We greet the spiritual leadership of the Iglesia ni Cristo, headed by its Executive Minister, Eduardo V. Manalo, other Officials and Members, on their 98th Anniversary. We join them in their mission to bring the faithful closer to God and to salvation. May God bless us all. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!

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