A student of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy from the Philippines took part in the regional stage of the International Christmas Readings. On November 23, 2023, a conference was held in the framework of the regional stage of the XXXII International Christmas Readings on Rizhsky Avenue in St. Petersburg. The topic of the conference was “Ancient Monastic traditions in modern conditions”. The event was attended by monks in priestly rank from the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, as well as abbots, abbesses, monks and nuns of monasteries of the St. Petersburg diocese.Hieromonk John (Gondayao), a cleric of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast Asia and a student of the Academy, made a report: “Peculiarities of monastic life in the Philippines.”
In his report, Father John noted: “The role of the very first Christian monks in the Philippines in the formation of the country is very great. The Roman Catholic monks who arrived in the Philippines played a big role not only in the Christianization of the locals, but also in the organization of institutions necessary for the development of the nation, such as schools, hospitals and charitable organizations. And the history of Orthodoxy in the Philippines is closely connected with monasticism – the first Filipino priest was a monk. Despite the absence of monasteries in the country, there are monks who live their monastic life for the glory of God in serving people in the parishes of the diocese. They strive not only for their own salvation, but also for the salvation of those believers who surround them. Monastics in the Philippines help the children of the Church to arrange a spiritual life, and help those in need in arranging daily life”.