Philippine Independent Church (IFI)

“Since 1965, the churches of the Union of Utrecht and the three episcopal churches of Spain, Portugal and the Philippines have been in full communion, based on the similar model between the Union of Utrecht churches and the Anglican Communion. In preparation for the negotiations, in 1964, on invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, a conference of bishops from the independent catholic churches of the West was convened.” [1]

Thus the churches of the Union of Utrecht are in full communion with the Philippine Independent Church (also sometimes known as the Aglipayan Church, officially called the Iglesia Filipina Independiente or IFI). The IFI developed during the struggle for Filipino independence towards the end of the 19th century. Whilst native Catholic priests actively supported independence from Spain, the church leadership remained loyal to the colonial power. “The IFI resulted from the struggle of the Filipino people for independence, self-reliance, dignity, justice and freedom,” said Archbishop Tito Pasco of Manila, in reference to the origins of the IFI.

From the beginning, the IFI sought close relations with the Old Catholic churches. In 1959, the IFI became a member of the World Council of Churches; in 1961, it established full communion with the Episcopal Church USA, from which it adopted the apostolic succession. In the following years, the IFI deepened its relations with other Asian church organizations. The church has 33 dioceses, 55 bishops and more than 600 priests for its three million members.

Learn more about our sister church in the Philippines:

Iglesia Filipina Independiente

[1] Küry, Urs, Die Altkatholische Kirche, 2. Auflage, Christian Oeyen, Stuttgart 1978