Sunday, October 28, 2007

Gregorio Aglipay - The Revolutionary Priest

Gregorio Labayan Aglipay was a priest, a nationalist, a patriot and a guerilla leader.

He was born on May 8, 1898 in Batac, Ilocos Norte to Pedro Aglipay and Victoriana Labayan. Orphaned at early age, he grew up with the care of granduncles and grandaunts. He spent his boyhood in the fields helping in the planting of tobacco. When he was fourteen, he experienced resentment against the Spanish when he failed to meet the required quota of tobacco. He was arrested and brought before the gobernadorcillo.

He had his early education in Batac and later moved to Manila and entered the private school of a lawyer, Julian Carpio. With the help of an granduncle, he enrolled in San Juan de Letran where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts. He then entered University of Santo Tomas to study law. He later decided to become a priest and went to Vigan Seminary in 1833.

He was ordained on December 21, 1889 in Manila and celebrated his first mass in January 1890. For eight years he was destined to different parish in Luzon.

His last assignment was in Victoria Tarlac. During the revolution in 1896, he helped the revolutionaries. There he was remembered as a hero and liberator. The chief priest of Victoria ordered the execution of all males due to the information that many were involved in the revolution. As a coadjutor, he intervened and appealed to the Spanish friar and vouched for their innocence.

Aglipay was appoiinted by General Aguinaldo on October 20, 1898 as a military chaplain of the Revolutionary Government.

Later that year, he represented Ilocos Norte to the first Philippine Congress and participated in laying the Constitution.

He was promoted by Aguinaldo as a military vicar general in October 20, 1898. He used his rank to continue the work begun by Father Jose Burgos - the Filipinization of the Church in the Philippines. He wrote several manifestoes urging the Filipino clergymen to unite and establish a Church government by them. Because of this, he was excommunicated by the Catholic Church and judged guilty of inciting rebellion against the Church authorities.

He permanently end his ties to the Roman Catholic Church when he became the first supreme bishop of the newly established church, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

When the Philippine-American War broke, he became a guerilla leader and engaged the Americans in several encounters. When Aguinaldo was captured, Aglipay surrendered in Laoag, a month after.

Aglipay's desire for independence did not lose its fervor even after peace was restored. In the next three decades, he was active in the Philippine campaign for independence from American regime. He ran for presidency in 1935 against Manuel L. Quezon but lossed.

He married Pilar Jamias of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte on March 12, 1939.

He died the following year on September 1, 1940 in Manilaand was buried first in Aglipayan Cathedral in Tondo, and later in 1945, in the Temple of Maria Clara in Sampaloc. His remain was later transferred in his hometown Batac.

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