September 21 is the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. This is the beginning of our salvation and beginning of the circle of the church year. The fruit of many generations of Her holy ancestors, the Most Holy Virgin became a refined diamond combining all the virtues, an example of perfection of a human being.
A patronal feast has been celebrated today in the parish of Nativity of the Mother of God in Arakan. The service was led by priest Fr Moses Cahilig and deacons Nicolas Salgado and Ambrose Sumagaysay
A multi-day seminar on the basics of Orthodoxy was held in the province of Zamboanga del Norte. The head of the missionary department of the diocese, priest Moses Kahilig, together with Elijah Aleria and Maria Kahilig, visited the Dipolog city to teach the faith to the people, who previosly asked to be accepted into Orthodoxy from the non-canonical monophysite church.
Previously, due to pandemic restrictions, their training could only be done remotely.
In the end of the seminar 12 people were baptized in the waters of the West Philippines sea.
The Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos is the “Passover of the Theotokos”, Her passing over to the Kingdom of Heaven.
On this day, the Queen of Heaven is especially close to us. No wonder the main temples of all three capitals of Ancient Russia (Kiev, Vladimir, Moscow) were dedicated to this holiday.
In today’s Gospel reading, as well as on the other feasts of the Mother of God except Annunciation, we read the story about the Lord’s visiting the house of Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus. In the 4 Gospels, the Church could scarcely find an extract about the Virgin Mary, because She was so humble that She did not want to be mentioned. And even in this reading, when She is “blessed because She fed Jesus”, the Lord said that those who obey the words of God are even more blessed. But nobody obeyed God more than the Most Holy Virgin. That’s why She was chosen and became more honourable than the Cherubim.
On August 26, the icon of the Mother of God “Passion” is venerated. The icon got its name from the fact that two Angels with instruments of the passion of the Lord are depicted near the face of the Mother of God.The following is known about the glorification of the icon: one pious woman, Catherine, after her marriage began to undergo demonic possession: she lost her mind, ran away to the forest and more than once attempted suicide. In moments of enlightenment, she prayed to the Mother of God and vowed to enter a monastery in case of healing. After recovery, she remembered about the vow only after a long time, felt fear and from emotional excitement she went to bed. The Most Holy Theotokos appeared to her three times, commanding to go to Nizhny Novgorod and buy Her icon from the iconographer Gregory for prayer. Catherine did so and got well, and since then miracles began to be performed from the icon. The feast for the sake of the icon is celebrated on August 13 on the occasion of its transfer in 1641 from the village of Palitsy to Moscow; a church was built at its meeting place at the Tver Outpost, and then, in 1654, the Strastnoy (“Passion”) monastery.
In the Catholic world, there is a similar type of icon called “Perpetual Help”, which is especially revered in the Philippines. This type of icon was developed by Italian and Greek masters in the XV century. Its most famous copy was brought to Rome in 1480 from Crete and now it is in the church of St. Alfonse.In 1865, Pope Pius IX handed it over to the Redemptorist Order and said: “Make this icon known all over the world.” Thanks to the activities of the redemptorists, the veneration of this icon has spread widely in the Catholic world, now there are several hundred churches and sanctuaries dedicated to it, including in Manila. Catholic churches in the Russian cities of Orsk and Petrozavodsk were consecrated in honor of this image.
On August 20, the Secretary of the diocese, Hieromonk Korniliy (Molev), visited the parish of St. Seraphim of Sarov in Makalangot. For a long time, the builders could not build a dome there due to the lack of materials that could not be delivered from Russia due to the pandemic. But with the help of the staff of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Philippines, it was possible to deliver materials and the construction of the dome resumed. Also under the guidance of fr. Korniliy, the construction of a small dome for the Church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos in Banate began. We hope that more and more churches in the Philippines will look in the Orthodox tradition.