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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                Message of the Obispo Maximo on the 112th Proclamation         Anniversary of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente

    Let Us Joyfully Celebrate Our 112th Proclamation Anniversary by Taking the Challenge of God’s Mission

         In God’s merciful goodness and grace, we now come to celebrate the 112th proclamation anniversary of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente. With thanksgiving, we lift our voices in unison of praise as we proclaim God’s wonderful works in our midst, His people. In humble supplication, we continue to ask for God’s guidance as we take another forward step and march into the future, praying together “Spirit of God, strengthen the bond of our unity and sustain us in our journey!” This solemn prayer reflects our strong collective resolve to firmly live-out our discipleship as a community of believers through the power of the Holy Spirit who works within us and among us. 

        Today, we renew our commitment to pursue our historical journey through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who leads the Iglesia Filipina Independiente to become a living testimony to God’s mission in the world. Our situation, where the pangs of poverty and the terror of tyranny cut deeply into our people, challenges us to incarnate our historic mission Pro Deo et Patria with stronger dedication. Justice and peace remain elusive for the people of our country where politics cater only to the interests of the powerful and rich and pitted against the weak and poor, where the laws of the land have become an instrument for the suppression of the legitimate demands of the poor for meaningful reform.

        In a country where the political system is founded on the rule of the few over the many; where the principles of service are forfeited by greed for political power and economic wealth; where public office is treated as a private property that can be passed from one generation to another; then certainly, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente must continue to firmly assert her historic mission. Our Church, from the very moment of her birth, has taken a progressive stance in advocating for national independence, integrity and identity and has been an strong advocate for the interest of the peasants and workers of the Filipino people.

        We must firmly continue to live-out this historic mandate. We are clear about this divine duty, and we must stay strong in our commitment to assert our rights and dignity as God’s people even in the face of grave danger and certain death. As long as the Iglesia Filipina Independiente stands in solidarity with the poor and powerless for the creation of structures of justice and peace, she proclaims God’s mission. As long as the Iglesia Filipina Independiente denounces oppression and the suppression of the rights of the poor, the concentration of wealth into the hands of a very few, and works for the equitable distribution of the gifts of creation, she proclaims God’s vision of a world where just peace is actualized and affirmed.

        Brothers and sisters, let us make the 112th proclamation anniversary celebration a moment to defend the weak from the hands of the wicked as we renew our commitment to participate with God in building a world where the violence of war and domination, hunger and deprivation, tyranny and oppression, will be no more; rather justice, peace, joy and prosperity for all people. Let us seize this moment to take the challenge of God’s mission and take a bold new step to proclaim His wonderful works. Growing in spirit and grace, and tirelessly sowing the seeds of love, faith and hope to a nation and people that await the coming of God’s kingdom, may we, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, be faithful to live-out of our historic mission Pro Deo t Patria.

    † The Most Reverend Ephraim S. Fajutagana                                                                                    Obispo Maximo

    3rd August 2014                                                                                                                     


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