MAP: Where in the world is Iglesia ni Cristo?
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – With around 5,000 churches and congregations in the Philippines and a following of over two million, the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) remains steadfast despite recent controversies that rocked the 101-year-old religion.
How about its global reach? Where has INC gone to spread its message? (PODCAST: Saan patungo ang Iglesia ni Cristo?)
As of mid-August 2015, a total of 720 Iglesia ni Cristo congregations are in 78 nations and territories grouped into 23 ecclesiastical districts around the world, according to the INC's online directory. There is no immediate data, however, on the number of INC followers abroad.
The United States has the most number of INC congregations, at 240, located in 45 states plus the District of Columbia.
One of these congregations in the US is located at Scenic, South Dakota, a former "ghost town" that the INC purchased for about $700,000 (currently around P32.8 million) in 2011. (READ: INC services begin in South Dakota ghost town)
Next in the list of countries with the most congregations is Canada, with 73, followed by Australia, with 64; Japan, 47; United Kingdom, 36; Italy, 23; and Taiwan, 20.
Check out the map below showing the countries where there an INC congregation exists. Hover over a country to view the number of congregations there.
The INC has established congregations in western European and Scandinavian countries, and a few in western Russia and some eastern Mediterranean countries.
There are also INC congregations set up in countries with large Filipino communities in Asia, like South Korea and Hong Kong.
INC is likewise present in 4 ASEAN countries, two South Asian nations, Macau, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and some Pacific islands.
The continents of South America and Africa, on the other hand, have the least number of countries where the INC is present, in only two and 9 nations, respectively.
Curiously, there are INC congregations in small island territories with relatively small Filipino populations, like Bermuda, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, and Sint Maarten (part of the Netherlands Antilles).
Notable among these locations is the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory in the Carribean with around 2,501 Filipinos, according to stock estimates of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) in 2013.
Two expensive planes – an Airbus 330-202 and a Boeing executive jet – reportedly being used by INC leaders in pastoral and personal trips abroad, as told to Rappler, were registered to a company in the Cayman Islands. (READ: INC leaders using planes worth billions of pesos?)
Meanwhile, a total of 3 congregations are based in the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, an autonomous community of Spain west of Morocco in Africa. (In the map, it is included in the count for Spain.)
A local INC congregation can also be found in Diego Garcia in the remote British Indian Ocean Territory. – Rappler.com
Do you know of other places where INC congregations are? Let us know in the comments section.