Iglesia ni Cristo
Church of Christ - Iglesia de Cristo  
Kirche Christi
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The Iglesia ni Cristo Architecture - Part 1
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Why we firmly believe Bro. Felix Manalo is God's Messenger The Church rapid global expansion
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Iglesia ni Cristo Worship Service Directory Interesting Questions about the Iglesia ni Cristo
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  The Iglesia ni Cristo Architecture  
  Part - 1 Part - 2

Not much is written about the so-called Iglesia ni Cristo architecture as to what design elements it incorporates. What we can present to you for now are comments from other people, excerpts from articles written about it and chapel pictures on how it slowly evolved over time. Based on comments from other people, one thing is sure about the present state of the Iglesia ni Cristo architecture—it is unique, modern, impressive, magnificent and beautiful.

Iglesia ni Cristo church buildings (chapels) serve as places of worship and other religious functions, are "vehicles for glorifying God." These are described by
Culture and customs of the Philippines, a book published by Greenwood Publishing Group, as structures "which employ exterior neo-Gothic vertical support columns with tall narrow windows between, interlocking trapezoids, and rosette motifs, as well as tower and spires." There are multiple entrances leading to the main sanctuary, where males and females sit on either side of the aisle facing a dais where sermons are made. The choir loft is located behind the dais, and in larger churches, baptistry pools for immersion baptism are located at the back of the church.   0-INC temple

Meanwhile, Fernando Nakpil-Zialcita, an anthropologist from Ateneo de Manila University, said that INC churches can be uniquely identified for "its exuberant use of fanciful forms and ornaments [and a] brilliant white facade whose silhouette is a cusped Gothic arch or a flattened Saracenic arch." The distinctive spires represent "the reaching out of the faithful to God." Churches were started to be built in this style during the late 1940s and early 1950s with the first concrete chapel built in Sampaloc, Manila in 1948.

The Central Temple which opened in July 1984 can accommodate up to 7,000 persons, and cost about US$2 million. The Central Temple features octagonal spires, "fine latticework" and ribbed windows. Recent buildings are variations of Carlos A. Santos-Viola's designs on the Central Temple. These are designed to accommodate 250 to 1,000 persons while larger churches in Metro Manila and provincial capitals can accommodate up to 3,000 persons. Prominent architects, such as Juan Nakpil (a National Artist of the Philippines for architecture) and Carlos Raul Villanueva, had been involved in designing INC churches, while the Engineering and Construction Department of INC, established in 1971, oversees the uniformity in design of church buildings.
Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Iglesia_ni_Cristo&oldid=523087702 (last visited Nov. 16, 2012).

Central  Temple
The Central Temple is the Iglesia  ni  Cristo's  main house of worship. It can comfortably seat 7000 worshipers at a time. The Iglesia  Ni  Cristo Central  Temple was designed  by  Arch. Carlos Antonio Santos-Viola. He is best known for designing and  building  churches. His first exposure to the Iglesia ni Cristo was executed under Juan Nakpil's company through the Bishop's Palace in San Juan, Manila. Brother  Erano G. Manalo  gave the subsequent project directly to Santos-Viola. Each structure was created on functionality that was built with integrity, adorned with 20th Century geometric forms garnished with Gothic revival and Baroque lines.

The  Central  Temple was dedicated  to God by  Executive  Minister  Brother  Erano  G.  Manalo  on  July  29,1984. The Central Temple is  the crown  jewel  of  the  Iglesia  Ni  Cristo  architecture. It is  first  and  foremost  the  house  of  the  Lord—a  holy  place  built  for  the  honor  and glory  of  God.

11-pics-central temple
The Central  Temple is characterized  by  simple  elegant  lines  and  towering  spires  pointing  toward the  heavens  and  seemingly  reaching  for  the  heavens. The Central  Temple  unique  design is  inspired  by   Neo-Gothic  architecture,  this mega  structure  continues  to  leave  one  awestruck by  its imposing   brilliance  and  un-ignorable  majesty. The  temple  has  five  huge  and  ten  small  towering  vertical  spires with  a  sense  of  great  height.  It features  huge  size    cantilever  over the main  entrance  and detailed  curving  and  asymmetrical  windows above.   The temple is  built  with  one  huge  arch  vault  and    two   smaller arc  vault  which can be transformed into two separate worship areas by a moving partition. The  Central  Temple  today  remains  as  beautiful   and  magnificent  as  ever,  well-preserved  through  the  years.
Source: http://elmersthought.blogspot.com/2011/03/iglesia-ni-cristo-central-temple.html
What other people say about the Iglesia ni Cristo Chapels or Houses of Worships
Its impressive beautiful cathedral-chapels in the major towns and cities add to this image of imposing power.”  (Iglesia ni Cristo: A Study in Independent Church Dynamics, p.13)

“…a Japanese architect was driving in Tondo and saw the Iglesia church there. Its like a jewel sparkling the sun. …I have traveled to many places, but I have not seen anything like it.”
(“A signature in the sky,” Philippine Free press, p.15)

“….churches constructed by the Iglesia ni Cristo are always expensive and resplendent and usually appear impressive and overpowering even to the nonbeliever.”
(The Iglesia Ni Cristo , 1914-2000: From Obscure Philippine faith to Global belief system, Bijdragen, p. 581)

“In terms of buildings, there can be little doubt that the magnificent Iglesia Ni Cristo churches reflect and in most cases surpass, the grandeur of the Roman Cathedrals in the Philippines.”
(Dynamic religious movements, p. 314)

or centuries every Philippine city and town has been dominated by its Roman Catholic cathedrals built and drafted labor on donated ground. But many of these are now old and dilapidated. Iglesia ni Cristo cathedral chapels now rival these ancient buildings in size and surpass them in beauty. Iglesia members still number only a minority of the population, but their buildings dominate many sky lines.”
(Iglesia ni Cristo: A study in Independent church dynamics, p. 180)

“One of the reasons the Iglesia ni Cristo has caught the attention of so many people is the rapid rise all over the archipelago of its beautiful and grand houses of worship. Characterized by simple, elegant lines and spires seemingly reaching for the heavens, these structures manifest the Church’s dedication to building edifices that would serve to bring glory to God. The Iglesia ni Cristo has vigorously pursued its construction program. So far, it has constructed close to 5000 houses of worship all over the country, with close to 200 others abroad. Because of their number and distinct architectural style, these houses of worship have dramatically changed the nation’s landscape…” 
(The Iglesia ni Cristo in the 20th century, Philippine Free press: 1999-2000 The Philippine century, p. 214)

“In any provincial landscape, the most visible landmark is inevitably the towering spires of the Iglesia ni Cristo church.”
(The INC now, Philippine panorama, p. 30)

“The continuing construction of expensive and beautiful chapels in many parts of the islands,--These buildings, often costing millions of pesos each, serve as a compensation for the poverty of many of the members. They are symbol of the success of their movement.”
(A protestant view of the Iglesia ni Cristo, p.66)

“While in the past the Catholic churches dominated for skyline in large population centers, now the huge Cathedral chapels of the Iglesia ni Cristo have risen to challenge, so to speak, the dominance of the Catholic churches. Architecturally well-designed, solidity built, painted, with manicured lawns and always looking clean, they dramatically contrast with the ancient, still strong but drab-looking Catholic Churches. ”
(Manila: history, people and culture, p.93)

“… the church’s most indelible imprint is in the form of unique and stately religious buildings.”
(The Iglesia ni Cristo 1914-2000: From Obscure Philippine faith to Global belief system, Bijdragen, p. 580)

Source: Pasugo, January 2005

Chapel structures during the early years - from the 1930's to the 1940's
11-kapilya drawing The first chapel or kapilya of the Church was built on Gabriela street in Tondo, Manila in 1918. It was fashioned out of sawali, nipa, bamboo and some wood which is typified the style and materials generally available in those days. 

The second generation Kapilyas as shown in the old chapel pictures of San Francisco Del Monte to the right and to Quiapo and Tayuman below. These Kapilyas were made of stronger materials, that is wood, galvanized iron and some concrete. The Kapilyas of those days already feature spires which is common even to other to churches.

"Kapilya" was taken from the Spanish "capilla" and would describe the humble beginnings of the INC worship edifices. The term stuck and is used by INC members to refer to these structures regardless of size. Members refer to the main worship building along Commonwealth Avenue as Templo Central (or just Templo) and not kapilya to distinguish it from other edifices of the church. The terms "bahay sambahan" (house of worship), "gusaling sambahan" (worship building) or "dakong sambahan" (place for worship) are being used to refer to the INC's worship edifices.

  1-luma del monte
Old Chapel - San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City
1-luma tayuman
Old chapel - Tayuman, Manila
1-chapel-punta old
1937 - Punta, Santa Ana

The old chapel for the first locale of the Iglesia ni Cristo at Isla de Punta, Santa Ana, Manila. This is a second generation kapilyas, to which are made of stronger materials, wood, galvanized iron and some concrete. To properly serve the needs of the growing congregation, the semi-concrete structure as pictured above was then constructed in 1937 by the INC's oldest congregation, Punta.  In the year 2000, the old chapel was reopened as a museum and gallery for some of the church's memorabilia.

Old chapel - Quiapo, Manila 
Concrete chapel structures from 1948 to 1963 during the tenure of Bro. Felix Y. Manalo
After the war, Brother Manalo began to build magnificent concrete chapels, the first of these is in Washington Street in Sampaloc, Manila completed in 1948.  Next came the chapel-and-official residence of the Executive Minister in San Juan, Rizal which was dedicated to God in 1952. The grand complex was designed by Architect Juan Nakpil. You will notice the use the salakot motif for the Church spires. Salakot is a native Filipino hat commonly used during those days.

In 1953, three modern cathedral-size chapels come up in Cubao-Quezon City, Caloocan City and Syquia-Sta. Ana in  Manila.

In 1954, the Baclaran chapel in Pasay was constructed followed in 1955 by the house of worship in Baguio City and another chapel was built in 1956 in Angeles, Pampanga.

Others followed in 1957; Paco, Manila and Tipas, Taguig, Rizal then in San Jose, Mindoro; Arayat, Pampanga; Cabanatuan City; Bacoor, Cavite; Orani, Bataan; Salinas, Cavite; and Balintawak, in Quezon City.

Soon, giant INC chapels were also dominating the skylines of Tarlac; Malabon, Rizal; Lucena City in Quezon; Naujan, Mindoro; Bel air, Makati; Daet, Camarines Norte. Other landmarks of Church progress were built in San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City (1962); Cavite City; Concepcion, Tarlac; Hagonoy, Bulacan; Naga City; Mapalad, Pampanga; Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija; Grace Park, Caloocan City; and Apalit, Pampanga.

1948 -Washington, Sampaloc, Manila.
The first Iglesia ni Cristo concrete chapel.
11-chapel-sanjuan2 11-chapel-sqnjuan
1952 - The San Juan House of Worship and office complex  at #154 F.Manalo Street, Sta.Lucia, San Juan City.
Now F. Manalo Locale.  The Central Office of the Iglesia ni Cristo was once located here.

Please notice that from 1953 to 1962 to Church architecture is somewhat varied.

1953 - Cubao

1953 Caloocan  #413 A.Mabini Street
Poblacion, Caloocan City
1954 - Baclaran Chapel, F.B. Harrison Street, Pasay City
1956 - Baguio City Houae of Worsahip
389 Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City. Seating capacity - 1700 icarusrising  http://www.skyscrapercity.com/

11-chapel-angeles city
1956 - Angeles City
1957 - Tipas Taguig. #3 F. Manalo St. Ligid Tipas, Taguig City.
The second oldest local congregation established in April 16, 1914.
1957 - Paco,  San Marcelino Street Paco, Manila
1957 - Cabanatuan City,  Cabanatuan City / Zulueta Street
1957 - Bacoor, Cavite,  Bacoor City, Cavite / Gen. Evangelista street
xxxx -Tarlac,  Tarlac / Tarlac City / Zamora Street
xxxx - Malabon,  Malabon City / General Luna Street
1962 - San Francisco Del Monte,  #433 Del Monte Avenue San Francisco Del Monte, Q.C.
11-chapel-cavite city
1962 - Cavite City,  Bautista Street
xxxx - Lucena City
The Church continued to construct concrete and large houses of worship with the unique INC architectural design, which was conceptualized by Brother Felix himself. Before he passed away, he approved and instructed the plan to build the worship building of Bago Bantay in Quezon City, Philippines.  Pasugo Issue May 2011

Please notice the radical change in the architectural design from the previous church buildings already constructed. The Bago Bantay house of worship was dedicated to God sometime in 1964.
11-chapel-bago bantay
1964 - Bago Bantay House of Worship
at #1170 EDSA Muñoz, Quezon City.
Seating capacity - 2500


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Iglesia ni Cristo
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