(UPDATE) INC leader dies

Posted at 09/01/09 10:29 AM

MANILA - Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) leader Eraño "Ka Erdie" Manalo has passed away.

Manalo died of cardiopulmonary arrest on Monday at 3:53 pm. He was 84.

Eraño is the son of Felix Manalo, founder and first executive minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Manalo took over the administration of the church after his father's death in 1963.

He was instrumental in the expansion of the church internationally.

His remains will be brought to INC's central temple in Commonwealth in Quezon City for public viewing, which will begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

As of posting, INC members were beginning to flock to the INC's central temple to pay their respects to their leader.

'New Era'

Born on January 2, 1925, Eraño de Guzman Manalo was the executive minister of the INC up to the time of his death on August 31, 2009.

The fifth child of Iglesia founder, Felix Manalo, Eraño's name comes from a reversal of the term "new era," which his father used to describe what he felt was a new Christian era in the INC.

He started attending the church's ministerial classes at 16 and was ordained a minister at 22.

In 1955, Eraño Manalo married Cristina Villanueva with whom he has six children.

With the passing of Felix Manalo in 1963, critics of the church predicted the decline and eventual fall of the INC.

But barely a month after assuming his role as spiritual leader of the church, the young Manalo began visiting congregations nationwide.

Global expansion

In 1967, he set his vision to overseas mission and global expansion.

In 1968, Manalo established the first congregation of the church overseas in Honolulu, Hawaii.

On the same year, Manalo moved the headquarters of the church to Quezon City.

By 2008, the INC had grown to more than 5,000 congregations in the Philippines, and more than 600 abroad with millions of members.

With Eraño's death, the actual process of succession is not clear yet.

But it is likely that his son, Eduardo, deputy executive minister, will take over the reins of the INC. -- report from ABS-CBN News Channel