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Template:COI Sarani is a historical term and thesis advanced by Cebuano author and artist John Kingsley Pangan, which refers to an ancient eastern Christian people that existed in Cebu, Philippines centuries prior to the Spanish colonization and later—after the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521—pivotally influenced their fellow natives and the Sugbu Rajah Humabon to swiftly accept the Catholic faith.
The Philippines' Christian genesis is assumed to be the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in port of Sugbu in 1521. Such contact with the European explorers led to the swift baptism of Rajah Humabon and hundreds of natives. Many theses have been offered behind the spontaneous Christian acceptance such as the phasic or gradual conversion, an existence of a Visayan-Cebuano theology, or a pre-Magellanic evangelization (perhaps by the early Jesuits according to Catalina Villanueva y Billar), among many.
Ancient Community of Sugbu
Pangan asserts the existence of an ancient ecclesia in Sugbu that caused other pagan inhabitants to be amenable for a potential Christian conversion. According to him, Christianity had already reached Sugbu preceding the European 1521 arrival through the ancient trading routes, which the island’s entrepôt was part of. The Syriac missionaries, known to combine their evangelical duties with commerce, pushed the Syriac or Persian Church's expansion to Southeast Asia in the second century. As one of the popular ports in the Malay Archipelago, Sugbu had strong and constant trading partner with China, Siam, and India. These realms had thriving Persian Christian communities within the late fourth through the late eight centuries which visited the Sugbu shore.
Arguments further advanced in Pangan’s work suggested Syriac Christian influence to the early Sugbuanons' belief. One is the apparent belief in single deity called 'Abba,' an Aramaic (also Syriac) term for 'Father.' This was uttered by Jesus Christ in Gethsemane in the Gospel of Mark (14:32-36) and also in mentioned in the Pauline epistles (Galatian 4:6 and Romans 8:15). The Sugbuanon Abba was believed to be distant and worshipers needed to venerate their ancestor spirits, who in turn functioned as their intercessors to the supreme being—a concept parallel to the communion of saints. It is also suggested the early populace worshipped other things besides their god (polylatry).
Moreover, the inhabitants also believed in other similar Christian notions such as immortality of the soul, the first man and woman, and the concept of Heaven and Hell. In the journal of Antonio Pigafetta (Magellan’s chronicler), he observed how the natives both revered the host when participating in a Catholic Mass and also the cross when planted.
The presented evidences suggested a community of native converts and perhaps foreigners influencing the prevalent animist convictions of the rest of the dwellers.
- Pangan 2016, p. 29—32 & 53.
- Pangan 2016, p. 32
- Sala-Boza, Astrid, Towards Filipino Christian Culture : Mysticism and Folk Catholicism in the Señor Sto. Niño de Cebu Devotion. // Philippine Quarterly of Culture & Society. — Special Issue in Memory of Fr. Eugene Verstraelen, SVD and Dr. Mimi Trosdal. Volume 36, Issue 4 (December 2008). — p. 282. — Template:ISSN. — This possible scenario of spontaneous conversion or Christian mystical insight could possibly have been a proto-conversion stage wherein Hara' Juana and other members of Cebuano society had sensed the beginnings of understanding the meaning and significances associated with the Holy Infant [Santo Niño].
- Villanueva y Billar (Glicerio), Catalina, "Valoración Indígena del Santo Niño" in "Origenes historicos del Santo Niño de Cebu". // Missionalia Hispanica. — Año XXV, núm. 74 (1968). — pp. 129—192.
- Pangan 2016, p. 23 & 32
- Pangan 2016, p. 14
- Pangan 2016, p. 23.
- Pangan 2016, p. 30—31
- Pangan 2016, p. 25; cf. Antonio Pigafetta (c.a. 1521). Magellan’s Voyage Around the World, vol. 1./ trans. James A. Robertson. — Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1906. — pp. 122—123.
- Pangan 2016, p. 25
- Pangan 2016, p. 24—25
- Pangan 2016, p. 24
- Pigafetta 1521, Robertson 1906, pp. 120—121; cf. Pangan 2016, p. 24