MANILA - President Aquino led Monday the inauguration of the Iglesia ni Cristo's Philippine Arena in Bulacan, touted as the world's largest indoor arena.
Aquino congratulated the influential religious group for its 100th anniversary, saying the INC's sense of community and faith extend beyond the church.
"Personal nga po nating sinusuportahan ang isang institusyong tulad ng Iglesia sa maalab na paghubog ng inyong mga miyembro bilang mga tapat na alagad ng ating Panginoon," he said.
"Nagsisilbi po kayong tulay upang mapalalim pa ang pananampalataya ng inyong mga kasapi, at maigting ninyong ginagabayan ang buhay ispiritwal ng napakarami nating kababayan."
During his speech, Aquino quoted passages from the Bible including John 13:34-35 and Matthew 25:40, which were heavily applauded by the audience.
"Alam niyo po napapag-isip ako, bakit mag nag-quo-quote po ako sa bible, maski matagal ko nang kasamahan parang, nabibigla ho. Anyway po, nakasulat nga po: Anuman ang ginawa ninyo sa isa sa pinakahamak na kapatid ko, ginawa ninyo ito sa akin," he said.
Based on estimates, around 50,000 Iglesia ni Cristo members are present in today's inauguration.
The event is seen as a dry-run for the INC centennial celebration on Sunday.
The Philippine Arena is part of Ciudad de Victoria (City of Victory) complex of the Iglesia ni Cristo that is estimated to be about 130 hectares.
Construction of the arena began on August 17, 2011 and ended last May 30, 2014. The dome can accommodate some 55,000 people.
The Philippine Arena has four levels. The parking area, offices and stage can be found on level 1. On Level 2 are the main entrance from the great stairs, and lower bowl seats. The VIP rooms are on Level 3, while the concourse or general patronage area is found on Level 4.
The Iglesia Ni Cristo believes the Philippine Arena represents the fulfillment of God's promise.