The 18th Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines held on March 2, 1989 passed Resolution No. 12 giving priority to the development of the original Southeastern Deanery and Pacific Coast Deanery toward the formation of these two deaneries as a separate diocese “in the near future.”
The 23rd Diocesan Convention held on April 27, 1994 passed Resolution No. 1 mandating Diocesan Council to form a committee to “study the feasibility and mechanics of the division of the Diocese…”
On April 15, 1999: The 28th Diocesan Convention approved Resolution No. 11 to create a new diocese by dividing the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines toward “accelerating mission expansion and congregational development.” The areas covered by the new diocese include: Ifugao,Nueva Viscaya Deanery, EMPROV Deanery, Greenfields Deanery, Cornfields Deanery, Pacific Coast Deanery and Bonsai Deanery.
The Provincial Synod of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines held May 4-8, 1999 authorized the creation of a new diocese by dividing the Diocese of Northern Philippines and the election of a bishop. In December of the same year: A two-hectare lot in Divisoria, Santiago City, was purchased for the location of the Diocesan Center for the new diocese.
On May 2-5, 2000: The Diocese of Northern Philippines held its last convention in Kin-iway, Besao as an undivided diocese. Working Committees were appointed to prepare for the Primary Convention of the New Diocese. Initial staff positions for the new diocese were designated as follows: Finance Officer, Development Officer, Cashier, Community Development worker and GAD Program Assistant. Infrastructure development on the diocesan lot in Divisoria, Santiago started. Staff moved to newly finished staff houses cum office at the end of October.
The Primary Convention of the New Diocese was held on November 7-10, 2000. Highlights of the Primary Convention are: adoption of “Episcopal Diocese of Santiago” as the official name of the new diocese; election of the Rev. Alexander A. Wandag, Sr. as first bishop; ratification of its Constitution and Canons; organization of the Standing Committee, Diocesan Council and other diocesan committees. The Diocesan Standing Committee started the process towards the consecration of the Bishop-Elect by issuing notices to the Standing Committees of other dioceses for their consent to the consecration and installation of the Bishop-Elect.
Prime Bishop Ignacio C. Soliba took over as bishop-in-charge of the new diocese on December 13, 2000. The bishop-in-charge appointed the Rev. Alfonso Camiwet as Vicar General and Mr. Patrick Pelenia as office administrator pending the consecration and installation of the Bishop Elect.
The Testimonials of consent to the consecration and installation of the Bishop Elect submitted by majority of the Standing Committees and bishops of the different dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines were all submitted in February 2001.
In March 2000: The Prime Bishop issued the order for the consecration, ordination and installation of Bishop-elect Alexander Arsay Wandag, Sr. as first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Santiago.
March 21, 2001: Blessing of the Diocesan site and structures at Divisoria, Santiago City, Isabela.
The Most Rev. Ignacio C. Soliba together with the other bishops of both ECP and IFI, consecrated, ordained and installed Bishop-Elect Alexander Arsay Wandag, Sr. as first bishop of the Diocese of Santiago on the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, last April 25, 2001, at the diocesan center in Divisoria, Santiago City, Isabela.
To proclaim in word and in deed the Good News in Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit that His people in this diocese may have fullness of life, reconciliation and redemption.
We envision the Episcopal Diocese of Santiago with a dynamic leadership and committed members working together to support, sustain, and expand God’s mission and ministry.
Of the Seal of the Diocese
The diocesan seal is in the form of the lethus or fish, which is one of the symbols used by early Christians to identify one another during the period in history when Christians were being persecuted for their faith.
The name of the diocese is inscribed around the seal, “Episcopal Diocese of Santiago.” “Santiago” is the name of the city where the Diocesan Center is located. More significant is that Santiago is the Spanish name for St. James the Apostle who became the first among the twelve to suffer martyrdom for the sake of Jesus Christ.
The bishop’s miter at the top signifies the Episcopal authority of the chief pastor of the portion of Christ’s flock.
Below the miter is the diocesan motto: Fiat Voluntas Tua which is the Latin for “Let thy will be done.” This is taken from the Lord’s prayer expressing total obedience to the mission for which He was sent by the Father. This shall remind the diocesan leadership and constituents never to lose sight of the Church’s mission: to do God’s will, and not anybody else’s will.
The cross is the pre-eminent symbol of humanity’s redemption from sin through the sacrifice of Christ’s own life. It teaches personal dedication to the Redeemer who called His followers to take up the cross. The cross is made of bamboo, a local plant that can withstand the severest drought and the strongest typhoon, and therefore, represents resiliency in the face of adversities that Christians confront in their daily lives.
The geographic characteristics of the new diocese are symbolized by the mountains with terraces, rice, and fish on a net over blue waters. The rugged mountains represent the Cordillera ranges to the west, the Curaballo mountains to the south and the Sierra Madre mountains in the east. The rice, heavy with grains, represents the main staple that is produced in the rice terraces of the Cordillera Central and the vast fields of the southern Cagayan Valley. The fish and the net represents a major resource and means of livelihood for the people on the coastal areas of Aurora and Isabela along the Pacific Ocean.
Finally, the ‘MM’ in Roman numerals at the bottom of the seal represent the millennium year 2000 when the diocese was established.
The Rt. Rev. Alexander Arsay Wandag, Sr.
Divisoria, Santiago City 3311, Isabela
Telefax # (078) 682-1256