Archbishop of Canterbury Visits the IFI, Concordat Relations Re-affirmed and Signed

The Iglesia Filipina Independiente and the Church of England reaffirmed the Concordat of Full Communion which the two Churches entered into in 1963. The commemoration, which was part of the Golden Anniversary Celebration of the Concordat, was held at the IFI National Cathedral in Manila on August 8, 2014 with the heads of the two Churches leading the historic occasion.

The Most Revd Dr Justin P. Welby, Archbishop of the Church of England and Primate of the Anglican Communion, and The Most Revd Dr Ephraim S. Fajutagana, Obispo Maximo of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, received a joyful applause from a congregation of more than a hundred bishops, priests, and laity and friends from the ecumenical circle after inking their names during the ceremonial signing of the Concordat.

The historic signing of the Concordat, sealed in 1963 by The Most Revd Dr Michael Ramsey, the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, and The Most Revd Isabelo de los Reyes, Jr., the 4th Obispo Maximo; was made during a special liturgical service. The Most Revd Dr Edward Malecdan, Prime Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, graced the occasion and stood witness to the reaffirmation of the Concordat between the Filipino and Anglican Churches.

The Rt Revd Joselito T. Cruz, IFI General Secretary, read the contents of the document of the Concordat of Full Communion. The Concordat was based on the Bonn Agreement entered into in 1930 by the Anglican Church and the Old Catholic Church in the Union of Utrecht.

Archbishop Welby was warmly received by the welcoming party of several lay and ordained dignitaries of the IFI led by the 12th Obispo Maximo. He was accompanied by his wife, Caroline, and the Revd Precious Onoku, the Archbishop’s Ecumenical Adviser.

The Obispo Maximo, in welcoming the Archbishop, said, “This is also your Cathedral.” as he reminded that Archbishop Arthur Michael Ramsey celebrated the Holy Mass in the National Cathedral.

In his message after the signing, Archbishop Welby expressed his profound gratitude for the warm welcome accorded by the Filipino Church. He said that it was his strong desire to visit his brothers and sisters in far-away places like the Philippines.

“Thirty years ago, ecumenism seemed a difficult thing to achieve. What we are doing now is achieving the unity in Christ.” the Archbishop said. “Unity is a precious gift of God and that each one of us belongs to another. The love of Christ is calling on us for unity.” he added.

The Archbishop also said that he was very happy that a Filipino Chaplaincy was opened for the migrant Filipinos in London as one expression of the Concordat.

A reception program was tendered in honor of the Archbishop after the worship service. Archbishop and Mrs. Welby were entertained with cultural presentations of songs and dances. The program was highlighted by the exchange of gifts of the heads of the two Churches.

Bishops present on the occasion had an audience with the Archbishop after the reception program.

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines, a Province of the Anglican Communion, hosted the Archbishop on August 7, where he presided the Holy Eucharist at the Cathedral of Saint Mary and Saint John in Quezon City.

The Archbishop was on a two-day visit to the Philippines as part of his tour to Anglican Churches in Southeast Asia. Archbishop Welby and party flew to Australia for their next destination.

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