Are INC chapels calamity proof?

MANILA, Philippines – Every time calamity strikes, members and devotees of a particular religious group are concerned about the durability, integrity and strength of their cathedrals, temples or chapels. As an object of pride, these members believe that survival of their edifices or even relics represents supernatural protection over them by the deity they believe.

On October 15 2013, Tuesday morning, an earthquake equated to ’32 Hiroshima bombs’ hit Bohol killing at least 97 people, disrupting phone and power services and causing at least 10 iconic centuries-old churches to crumble. This included Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño in Cebu City, and Church of San Pedro Apostol in Loboc, Bohol. Amidst the ruins brought by the earthquake, ABS-CBN broadcaster Julius Babao shared on Instagram a photo of “a Virgin Mary statue” unharmed by the quake.

Virgin Mary statue unharmed by Bohol quake

Julius Babao, ABS-CBN reporter, shared on Instagram a photo of “Virgin Mary” statue untouched by Bohol quake.

A month after, when super typhoon Haiyan, locally dubbed as Yolanda, struck Eastern Visayas on November 7, 2013, it left devastating trails claiming 4,460 lives according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). At the height of the aftermath, Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members grabbed the chance to highlight the strength of their chapel amidst the rubbles in the typhoon-hit Tacloban City based on a photo posted on SCAN Int’l Facebook Page.

Chapel standing strong according to INC

The image posted on SCAN International’s Facebook page quickly went viral, gathering more than to 19K shares, 27K likes and 6K comments. The sect believes there is no salvation outside their church.

When the photo surfaced on the web, netizens, mostly Catholic, reacted and found the content insensitive.

INC mocks Catholic based on chapel standing

Some exchanges of comments about the INC in Tacloban found on an INC Facebook page.

A blogger and Catholic priest named Abe Arganiosa retorted by sharing on his blog, Splendor of the Church, a controversial text message of a certain Mai Militante from Balasan, Iloilo. Militante claimed that INC, during the storm, refused shelter for her staff, which are non-member typhoon victims. INC officials denied the incident in Tacloban City but until now left unanswered the allegations in Balasan, Iloilo.

INC believes that their temple stands still in congruence to their belief that the spirit of the Lord dwells in it according to August 1969 issue of Pasugo, INC’s official church magazine, page 17. The article said that INC members are “summoned by the Lord to serve Him in the Body or the Church of Christ” pointing the chapel as the house of worship.

INC House of Worship

INC members believe that their chapel is sacred that it can surpass heavy calamities like the recent Yolanda storm.

Contrary to their belief, however, INC towers also suffered from the previous Bohol quake as reported by Inquirer News writers Jeanete I. Andrade and Nikko Dizon.

“Two towers of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on General Maxilum Avenue in Cebu City collapsed while cracks were found on the walls of Fort San Pedro, the Bureau of Customs building and approaches to the flyover in Barangay Mambaling.”

Also, photos spreading on Facebook show that INC chapels are not exempted in super typhoon and flood.

INC Chapel destroyed by typhoon Yolanda

Despite its modern design, an INC chapel suffered from super typhoon Yolanda in Tanauan, Leyte. (Photo credit: Rocky Ending)

Flooded INC chapel

(Photo credit: Jessica Iglesia Santos)

According to Dr. Daniel Razon, Doctor of Humanity, honoris causa, when it comes to disaster, members should be reminded that the strong tower is the name of the Lord citing Proverbs 18:10 of the Bible. The Vice Presiding Minister to the Members Church of God International (MCGI) also emphasized the importance of God’s mercy on his Community Prayer Broadcast prior to Yolanda’s landfall.

MCGI Presiding Minister Eliseo Soriano, popularly known as Bro. Eli, also believes in the power of prayers as stressed in his blog. He said, “The impossibility of a human doing things greater than his entire being necessitates the need to pray!”


About Jeffrey Eugenio

Jeffrey Eugenio is a writer, motion graphic designer, artist, video editor and entrepreneur. He is currently a member of WritersConnect International - Philippine chapter. He loves doing a lot of things especially one that drives his creative passion. He believes that using himself to the greater good of others gives purpose and meaning to his life. As of now, he self-studies film making believing that as time allows, there should always be a room for exploring possibilities of learning more.

Posted on November 19, 2013, in Calamity, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I remember that Dr. Daniel Razon and Bro. Eli Soriano last October 2, 2009 taught us that the name of the Lord is a strong tower were the righteous runs to and is safe. Even Former President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo declared the whole country under state of calamity due to Super Typhoon Parma (Pepeng) early that morning,

    It’s not church buildings that are strong towers. We should instead praise and pray to God, glorify God – Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4 KJV

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