El Shaddai (movement)

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El Shaddai DWXI Prayer Partners Fellowship International
FormationAugust 1984;38 years ago (1984-08)
Type Catholic Charismatic Movement
HeadquartersAmvel Business Park
Coordinates 14°29′21″N120°59′08″E / 14.4893°N 120.9855548°E / 14.4893; 120.9855548
Philippines and Worldwide
8 million
Official language
English and Filipino
Servant Leader
Mike Velarde
Spiritual Adviser
Teodoro Bacani Jr.
Subsidiaries College of Divine Wisdom
Affiliations DWXI

El Shaddai DWXI Prayer Partners Fellowship International, popularly known as El Shaddai, אֵל שַׁדַּי ( Hebrew for 'God Almighty', IPA:  [el ʃaˈdːaj] , which is one of the names of God in the Jewish faith) is the biggest Catholic charismatic movement in the Philippines. [1] [2] The movement is led by Mike Velarde, a real estate developer and preacher. Novaliches bishop emeritus Teodoro Bacani Jr. serves as its spiritual adviser.



Inspired by his recovery from a heart ailment in 1978, Mike Velarde started a weekly Bible-quoting radio show on DWXI, a station he acquired in 1982 as part of a real estate deal. Listeners, he says, began reporting that his voice had cured their afflictions. [3] In 1984, Velarde called his show "El Shaddai," a biblical name for God that he found in an American religious pamphlet. [3]

Velarde then held monthly prayer rallies outside the vicinity of the radio station. As the number of attendees kept growing, he made the rallies weekly until the crowd could no longer be accommodated by the area. The rallies were then moved to various locations such as a football stadium and then transferring several times to the Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park in Manila; the open grounds outside the Philippine International Convention Center and the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay near Manila Bay; and finally in Amvel Business Park, Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque (a site owned by the family) in order to accommodate the movement's followers. [4]

In 1992, Velarde and the movement expanded to television, when the movement taking its programming airtime on the government owned broadcasting network Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation with the Sunday late night delayed broadcast of the weekly Saturday Family Appointments, and the broadcasts of the weekly Family Appointments became the sixth longest-reigning religious program in Philippine television history. In addition, the movement also produced the faith-based drama anthology series Mga Himala at Gintong Aral ni El Shaddai from 1994 until its cancellation in 1997. Velarde himself served as the host for the series.

In 1998, Velarde and Jesus Is Lord Church leader Eddie Villanueva engaged in a legal battle over control of the Christian television station DZOE-TV (Channel 11). [5] Villanueva has the franchise and the authority to operate the facility, but Velarde, using political connections, was able to import transmission equipment, the value of which he claims to have converted into equity in the station. Congress intervened and awarded Villanueva the right the acquire the frequency, with him paying Velarde for the stock and assets held by Delta Broadcasting System (DBS).

The El Shaddai Movement has grown rapidly in the last decade and, as of 2005, had a reported 8 million members worldwide. [6]

On August 20, 2009, El Shaddai inaugurated a 1 billion (approx. US$21 million at the time) House of Prayer on a ten hectare site in Amvel Business Park. The cost does not include the land, which will be paid for over 20 years. The building is 10,000 square meters and seats 16,000 with standing room for another 25,000, with space on the site for an overflow of the crowd. [7] [ better source needed ] The building was inaugurated by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the fourteenth president of the Philippines, on Velarde's 70th birthday. [8]

As it is a Roman Catholic movement, its diocesan bishop is Jessie Mercado of the Diocese of Parañaque, while its spiritual director is the Bishop Emeritus of Novaliches Teodoro Bacani.

Political influence

Conspiracy theorists propagate the belief that El Shaddai plays a major role in Philippine politics. They assert that former President Fidel V. Ramos won the 1992 general election because of the movement's votes, although this has never been corroborated with an actual tally of votes correlated with El Shaddai membership rosters. Moreover, the Catholic Church, of which El Shaddai is an apostolate, refrains from interfering in temporal matters and, as such, does not dictate to its members which candidates to support or oppose. [9] [10] In the same vein, individual members of the Catholic Church are free to form voting blocs that are independent from the church itself, as in the case of Catholic Vote.[ citation needed ]

During the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada in late 2000, Velarde, in line with Catholic teaching regarding temporal matters, rejected the call of then-Archbishop of Manila Jaime Cardinal Sin to join a prayer rally urging Estrada to resign. Velarde said that El Shaddai members were free to join the rally of their own volition and reiterated that the movement was neither for nor against Estrada's resignation. [9]

It was reported that Velarde attempted to end a 2005 Philippine electoral crisis by uniting the Estrada and Arroyo camps. [11]


In 2005, Katharine L. Wiegele said that El Shaddai has spread prosperity theology outside Protestant Christianity in the Philippines. [12]

See also

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  1. Katharine L. Wiegele (2007). Investing in Miracles: El Shaddai and the Transformation of Popular Catholicism in the Philippines. Ateneo de Manila University Press.
  2. Allan Anderson (2004). An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity. Cambridge University Press. p. 155.
  3. 1 2 "Pacman deep into Bible study." Filipino Reporter March 23, 2012: 21. Newspaper Source Plus. Web. February 15, 2013.
  4. Niña Catherine Calleja (August 20, 2009). "P1-B church of El Shaddai opens Thursday". newsinfo.inquirer.net. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 23, 2006. Retrieved August 20, 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. Philippines: International Religious Freedom Report. U.S. Department of State (2005).
  7. "El Shaddai P1-B church opens today" [Usurped!]. CBCP News.
  8. "Velarde opens El Shaddai church". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. [ dead link ]
  9. 1 2 Lockwood, R. P. (July 11, 2008). "Catholic urban legends: The Catholic vote Archived 2016-02-25 at the Wayback Machine ". Catholic Answers.
  10. Akin, J. (September 18, 2015). "Is voting for pro-abortion politicians sinful?" Catholic Answers.
  11. Velarde: Arroyo open to joint rule with foes (archived from the original on March 11, 2007).
  12. Wiegele, Katharine L. (2005). Investing in Miracles: El Shaddai and the Transformation of Popular Catholicism in the Philippines. University of Hawaii Press. p. 7. ISBN   978-0-8248-2861-5.

Further reading