(formerly "Presiding Minister")
|Birth name||Eliseo Fernando Soriano|
|Born||April 4, 1947|
Pasay, Rizal, Philippines
|Died||February 10, 2021 (aged 73)|
Santa Catarina, Brazil
|Denomination||Members Church of God International|
(via archive footage) 1980–2021
|Total views||18.7 million|
|Associated acts||Daniel Razon|
Updated: September 18, 2021
Eliseo "Eli" Fernando Soriano (Tagalog pronunciation: [ɛli soɾˈjano]; April 4, 1947 – February 10, 2021)[b] was a Filipino preacher and televangelist. He was the "Overall Servant" (Tagalog: Lingkod Pangkalahatan, formerly called "Presiding Minister"), of the Members Church of God International (MCGI), an international Christian religious organization with headquarters in Apalit, Pampanga, Philippines. He was the main host of the radio and television program Ang Dating Daan (English: The Old Path, Portuguese: O Caminho Antigo, Spanish: El Camino Antiguo), which is considered as the longest-running religious program in the Philippines.
Soriano was known for his signature method of "Bible Expositions". It is a live Bible symposium where guests get the chance to ask impromptu questions personally or via live video streaming or telephone calls.
He was also known for straightforward preaching of what they believed are doctrinal errors of various local and international religious groups. He also had numerous religious debates with different church ministers and pastors.
Early life and education
Soriano was supposed to receive the highest honors of the school, but he dropped out three months before graduation due to an alleged religious debate between Soriano and the school administrator. On April 7, 1964, three days after his 17th birthday, Soriano was baptized in Seneguelasan, Bacoor, Cavite, and became an official member of the Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Support of the Truth) headed by Nicolas Perez where his parents were also members.
In 1969, Nicolas Antiporda Perez, who was then the church's presiding minister, bestowed upon Soriano the title "minister", making him the only minister in the Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan at that time. Rumors were circulating that Soriano was going to be Perez's successor. However, after the death of Nicolas Perez in 1975, Levita Gugulan was appointed temporary Presiding General Secretary of the group. Soriano initially accepted the appointment of Gugulan but subsequently denounced her leadership stating that women should not be leaders of the church according to the Bible.
In 1976, Soriano and his allies left Gugulan's sect. In 1977, Soriano registered a new group, called Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Saligan ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Ground of Truth), which was later changed to Mga Kaanib sa Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Saligan ng Katotohanan sa Bansang Pilipinas (Members of the Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Ground of Truth, Philippines).
Because of the similarity between the name used by Gugulan's group and Soriano's group, the former filed a suit, which was resolved by the Supreme Court of the Philippines in 2001 in favor of Gugulan's group and Soriano's group was ordered to change their church's name. In 2004 Soriano's group changed their church's name to Members Church of God International.
Ang Dating Daan
Before starting his flagship TV program, Soriano would preach in different towns and municipalities in the Philippines. In 1980, Soriano started the radio program, Ang Dating Daan, which later became a television program in 1983. In 1983, Soriano was invited as a panelist in GMA-7's inter-religious program, Dis [This] is Manolo and His Genius Family. He, along with other representatives of religious groups, would debate and defend their beliefs in the show. Soriano won and was awarded "Most Outstanding Gospel Minister of the Year 1983". Soon, Soriano would receive multiple awards from different charity organizations, notably as Bayani ng Lahing Kayumanggi (Hero of the Brown Race).
On January 20, 1999, Soriano was invited to be the guest in Korina Sanchez's talkshow Balitang K (K News). There Soriano admitted that the Ang Dating Doon program, which is a parody of his Ang Dating Daan show, actually helped raise the popularity of the said religious program.
He was in exile in order to evade various death threats he received over the course of his preaching in the Philippines and the countless libel cases he faced from the people he expose. He has since used this opportunity to preach in other countries.
Currently, Ang Dating Daan airs in 73 countries worldwide including the United States (as The Old Path), Brazil, Portugal (as O Caminho Antigo), Uruguay, Spain (as El Camino Antiguo), India, South Africa, and Saipan.
Soriano, through the help of his nephew Daniel Razon, has been spearheading many projects for the indigent. These include free medical and dental check-ups, a free bus ride and a free transient home for homeless people. Soriano and Razon created a free college scholarship program at the La Verdad Christian College in the Philippines and Africa which provides scholarships to deserving youth.
On May 17, 2010, Soriano appeared (through a live video patch) in a concert conceptualized by Daniel Razon and was titled Protest Broadcast 3. The concert aims to help the families of the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre. The victims' representatives received the net proceeds of the concert. The media workers' orphaned children would also be granted scholarships. During his appearance, Soriano harshly criticized former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whom he blamed for his legal troubles.
On August 1, 2010, Soriano-Razon's free college program would receive further financial support from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) through a basketball game to be played by the PBA. The game, titled "Hoopsters Meet the Legends: Kahit Isang Araw Lang" was scheduled for the Cuneta Astrodome. The teams involved were the "PBA legends", Hoopsters (led by Razon), and the KAPI team. All the net proceeds would be given to support the free college program of Soriano and Razon.
Soriano and Razon were also involved with the donation and launch of two Mobile Schools (dubbed Dunong Gulong Project) equipped with learning tools suited for the ALS (Alternative Learning System) of Philippine Education. The project was initially conceptualized during a talk between Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro and Razon in the latter's television program Good Morning Kuya.
On November 27, 2010, Education Secretary Luistro signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Daniel Razon at the ADD Convention Center regarding the Dunong Gulong launch. The two Dunong Gulong mobile school buses were launched at the SM Mall of Asia on November 28, 2010. "And words became action." This is how Luistro described the project. He is impressed because of the support given by public service channel UNTV and the benevolent group, the Ang Dating Daan then headed by Soriano, to the anti-illiteracy campaign of the Philippines.
Soriano died on February 10, 2021, in Santa Catarina, Brazil at the age of 73. The Members Church of God International released a statement on the same day announcing his demise, but did not state his cause of death.
Different celebrities, religious groups and politicians including President Rodrigo Duterte sent their condolences and sympathies. They also sent messages of support and recognition of the late preacher's services and charity works. On April 4 to April 10, 2021, the Members Church of God International hold a special week-long charitable event called "The Legacy Continues". The event coincide with the 57th year since the late preacher was baptized in the Church. The event included the MCGI Global Feeding Program, the opening of the MCGI Free Store branches (originally launched on March 14, 2021), a Wish Granting and a special episode of Serbisyong Bayanihan.
- Monton, Inoh Francis (September 24, 2017). "Brethren from the time of the late Bro. Nicolas Perez, former MCGI Overall Servant, fill the ADD Convention stage to sing their humble song of praise to God. They are all thankful to God for His decades of love and protection for each and everyone of them. (Photo: Bro. Inoh Francis Monton / Photoville International)".
- Wilson, Domingo (March 13, 2017). "Sis. Luz Cruz happily interviews old members from the time of Bro. Nicolas Perez for their testimonies of faith through decades of service to God. (Photo Courtesy of MCGI/Photoville International - Bro. Wilson Domingo)".
- Lumiares, Rodel Acuvera (September 9, 2016). "Brethren that were baptized during the time of Bro. Nicolas Perez offer a song of gratitude to the Almighty during the weekly Thanksgiving to God event of MCGI last September 4, 2016 at the Ang Dating Daan Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga. (Photo courtesy of MCGI/Photoville International - Rodel Acuvera Lumiares)".
- Policarpio, Jeffrey (March 13, 2017). "Bro. Armando Policarpio, a worker from the time of Bro. Nicolas Perez, gives his testimony all the way from the Locale of San Francisco Bay, USA to impart his experiences of serving to God through the years with brethren. (Photo Courtesy of MCGI/Photoville International - Bro. Jeffrey Policarpio)".
- Grana, Rhia (February 13, 201). "The making of a preacher: How Dating Daan's Bro. Eli took the path no one thought he would take".
- Salaverria, Jodee A. Agoncillo, Leila B. (February 13, 2021). "'Ang Dating Daan' founder Eli Soriano dies at 73". Retrieved February 13, 2021.
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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 12) – Televangelist and "Ang Dating Daan" founder Bro. Eli Soriano has died, a statement from Members Church of God International confirmed on Thursday [Feb 11]. He was 73.
- "It is with deep sadness..." Twitter. Members Church of God International. 3:27 am (UTC+8). Retrieved February 12, 2021.
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… Ang Dating Daan's Bro. Eliseo "Eli" Soriano has passed away, his religious group Members Church of God International said early Friday [Feb 12].
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- "Daniel Razon's second album out" Philippine Star August 21, 2009
- "La Verdad's Free School Opens Branches in Ghana and Liberia". Daniel Razon. April 19, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
- "Spring Films promises new season in Philippine cinema" Manila Bulletin August 21, 2009
- PBA meets Hoopsters Philippine Star (Aug 1)
- fansofkuyadaniel (December 2, 2010). "Dunong-Gulong, isang natatanging proyekto mula UNTV, DepEd, at ADD". A Fan Blog for Kuya Daniel Razon. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
- "DepEd launches Dunong-Gulong (Mobile School)" Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines
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- ""DepEd launches mobile school called 'Dunong-Gulong'" PNM". Archived from the original on December 5, 2010. Retrieved December 19, 2010.
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The host of the longest-running religious program in the Philippines, "Ang Dating Daan," died on Thursday (February 11) at the age of 73
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- "Message of Appreciation". www.facebook.com. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
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- "MCGI Remembers Brother Eli: Love Abounds, The Legacy Continues". MCGI.org. April 12, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
- "In Remembrance of Brother Eli's Life and Works, MCGI to Hold 'The Legacy Continues' from April 4 to 10". MCGI.org. March 30, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
- "Free breakfast with coffee, offered by MCGI in Pasig City - UNTV News". UNTV News. April 14, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
- "MCGI Free Store Now Officially Open with More than 670 Branches". MCGI.org. March 15, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.