Popular Filipino televangelist Eliseo “Brother Eli” Soriano, founder of the Members Church of God International, died on Friday, February 12. He was 73.
Soriano hosted the longest-running religious radio and television program “Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path).”
“It is with deep sadness, yet with full faith in the Almighty, that we announce the passing of our beloved and one and only Bro. Eliseo ‘Eli’ Soriano — a faithful preacher, brother, father, and grandfather to many,” read an announcement from “Ang Dating Daan’s” social media page.
“While his temporary repose is a loss to many, we … would like to assure the public that the programs and projects initiated by Bro. Eli will continue,” it added.
“Up to the last moments of his life, Brother Eli was able to fulfill his vow to the Almighty that manifests in his love to serve the brethren,” the statement added.
Despite facing controversies, and even lawsuits, Soriano continued to earn the respect of his followers in the country and around the world.
He moved to Brazil 17 years ago reportedly to escape prosecution and jail terms for a libel conviction.
The presidential palace issued a statement condoling with the family and followers of the late religious leader.
“Bro. Eli was a beloved preacher of ‘Ang Dating Daan’ whose teachings touched the lives and served as guide to many,” said government spokesman Harry Roque.
“His dedication to propagate the words of God in the Bible was a clear testament of his steadfast love to serve his brethren and the Almighty,” added Roque.
Soriano was known for being a tough-talking preacher who would debunk the teachings of other faiths.
His animated style of preaching stirred curiosity and prompted backlash from other religious groups – including the Catholic Church.
Born on April 4, 1947, Soriano started his ministry in the province of Pampanga and registered his religious group on March 30, 1977, after breaking away from another Christian group.
He started the television program “Ang Dating Daan” on IBC-13 in 1983.
Ang Dating Daan eventually “found a new and permanent home” in the television station UNTV in 2004.