Edir Macedo and Ester Bezerra own Rádio e Televisão Record S.A., largest company owned by Grupo Record de Comunicação, which also owns three terrestrial television networks (Record and RecordNews among those of larger audience) and one cable TV network (Record Internacional, broadcast in 150 countries in all five continents), six radio stations, one of them based in Portugal, and one print newspaper (Correio do Povo, 9th largest circulation in Brazil) and four online portals (the most important of them being news portal R7), besides three regional portals in partnerships with regional communication groups. The group also owns content production and distribution companies, internet infrastructure and operations, and on-demand content players, a multiplatform religious media channel (Love School), a social foundation (Instituto Ressoai) and a society at Banco Renner (49% sharehold).
Edir Macedo is also leader of IURD – Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God) one of the largest evangelical denominations in Brazil, with a community of over 1.8 million people (IBGE, 2010), over 5 thousand temples, 10 thousand pastors and communities in over 200 countries. IURD also owns other communication groups and media companies: weekly newspaper Folha Universal, kids newspaper Folhinha Universal, Plenitude magazine, webTV Universal, online Portal Universal, radio network Aleluia, Line Records recording company and a sales portal.
Ester Bezerra has no leadership role in the church, which, unlike other evangelical churches has a hierarchical, centralized and male power structure. She describes herself as a writer and publishes religious messages in a blog hosted on Universal.org, “Fonte a Jorrar”.
Edir Macedo graduated in Theology at Faculdade Evangélica de Teologia Seminário Unido and at Faculdade de Educação Teológica no Estado de São Paulo (Fatebom), obtained a Master’s in Theological Sciences at Federación Evangélica Española de Entidades Religiosas and a PhD in Theology, Christian Philosophy and a Honoris Causa in Divinity on Grupo Educacional Inepe (GEI). The couple has three kids: Cristiane Cardoso, Viviane Freitas and Moysés Macedo.
Bishop Renato Cardisi and his wife, Cristiane Cardoso, spent 20 years outside of Brazil working in couples evangelization and counseling and are responsible today for the Love School brand, which organizes church related events and has a program at Record TV on Saturdays. They have also authored the best-selling book “Casamento Blindado” (“Bulletproof Marriage”).
Edir Macedo and Ester Bezerra’s second daughter, Viviane Freitas, is also married to a IURD bishop, Júlio Freitas. After living in different countries where the church has affiliates, the couple lives today in Portugal. Viviane has a christian counseling blog and Júlio is a pastor, radio broadcaster and TV host.
The couple’s youngest son, Moyses Macedo, is a singer and became an advisor for RecordTV’s vice-presidency in 2015. In 1992, Edir Macedo was arrested for 11 days, accused bt the Public Ministry of “charlatanism, fraud and taking advantage of popular beliefs (sorcery)” but the accusations couldn’t be proved and the bishop’s picture in prison is still used by him as a symbol of him being persecuted by “enemy” religions and rivals. The bishop was accused of the same crimes and for tax evasion in 2009 and 2011 but was never convicted.
In 2013 bishop Macedo was listed by Forbes magazine as the richest pastor in Brazil, with a wealth calculated in over 1.9 billion Real. Many different bishops have been pointed out as possible successors for Macedo at IURD and at Grupo Record, most of the church bishops who also have property bonds with Macedo companies. Recently, however, Macedo signalled that he intends to keep the business within the family. His son in law, Renato Cardoso, became second in command in the church’s hierarchy in October 2017, taking Clodomir Santos’ place.
The family’s saga will be recorded by the group’s communication structure. Besides the already published Edir Macedo and Ester Bezerra biographies, a film biography is announced for 2017 called Nada a Perder (Nothing to lose), based on the book with the same title, written by Macedo and Grupo Record’s Journalism and Sports vice-president, Douglas Tavolaro. The movie, produced by Record Filmes, is directed by Alexandre Avancini, soap opera director at RecordTV and of the top grossing movie Os Dez Mandamentos – O Filme (The Ten Commandments – The Movie). Nada a perder was shot at TV Cultura studios in São Paulo and in other countries where IURD is present.
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Their nephew Marcelo Crivella, licensed bishop of the same church, current mayor of Rio de Janeiro (Brazilian Republican Party - PRB), former senator and former Minister of Fishing and Aquaculture of the Dilma Rousseff (PT) government. Macedo and the Universal Church support the candidacy of their bishops for political positions.