Born in Batac City. Aglipay was an orphan who grew up in the tobacco fields in the last volatile decades of the Spanish occupation of thePhilippines. He bore deep grievances against the Spanish, stemming from abuses within the agricultural system and the radical ecclesiastical reforms he championed.
Arrested at fourteen for not meeting his tobacco quota, he later moved to Manila to study law at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran and at the University of Santo Tomas. After obtaining his degree, he then entered the seminary in Ilocos Sur in 1883 and was ordained to theRoman Catholic priesthood seven years later. He began a career as an assistant priest in various parishes around Luzon.
In spite of being a Catholic priest, Aglipay, like other Filipino revolutionaries, joined the Freemasons.
Establishment of the Filipino Catholic Church
In 1898, the Philippine Revolution in the Philippines was led by 2 leaders, Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo. He, then joined Aguinaldo’s forces and was appointed in October 21, 1898 as a Military Vicar General or a Military Priest. He issued a manifesto asking the Filipino priests to occupy all the abandoned Catholic Churches in the Philippines. Archbishop Nozaleda was startled at Aglipay’s popularity. He sent a letter telling that if Aglipay doesn’t stop what he is planning to do, he would be excommunicated. He ignored the authority of Nozaleda and was formally excommunicated by the pope in Rome.
One of his first followers were Isabelo de los Reyes, the man who translated the Catholic Bible in Tagalog and also became one of the initiator of the Independent Church.
A messenger was sent to tell Aglipay to go back to the Catholic faith, in the person of Foradada. Foradada gave Aglipay a contract telling him to come back in Roman Catholicism, he will be also appointed as a Bishop and will be given a large sum of money, in short, its an indulgence, he wanted to sign the contract to end the problem with Filipino priests and to give them free will. He did not sign the contract and returned it to Foradada with anger.
In 1902, he was ordained as the Supreme bishop of the Filipino Church. He celebrated his first mass in October 26, 1902 and also started to spread the reformed Christian religion in Isabela, Cagayan, Cavite, Abra, Manila, Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan.
The establishment of the Independent Church was now complete. They took name “Yglesia Filipina Independiente”(in Spanish).
The Philippine Independent Church, later known as the Aglipayan Church, was announced in 1902 and in the next three decades, Aglipay fought for Filipino independence through the political process. He ran for the presidency of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935, but lost to Manuel L. Quezon. He married D. Pilar Jamias y Ver in 1939 (the new church allows married clergy), but died the following year on September 1, 1940.
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