On February 19, 2023, on Meatfare Sunday, of the Last Judgment, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the church in honor of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God in Manila, Philippines. His Eminence was co-served by the Secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese, Hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), the rector of the temple, Hieromonk Alexei (Lapshin), Priest Agustin Ponferrada, clerics of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Priest Methodius Rafanan and Priest Luke Abouna and Hierodeacon Nicodemus (Pirkhovsky). At the small entrance, by decree of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, for diligent service to the Holy Church, the rector of the temple in honor of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God in Manila, Hieromonk Alexei (Lapshin) was awarded the right to wear a palitsa.
At the end of the service, Metropolitan Pavel addressed the audience: “Dear fathers, brothers and sisters! allow me from the bottom of my heart to congratulate everyone on the feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! Today is the Sunday of the Last Judgment. The Gospel today says that the Lord will distinguish between the righteous and sinners, and put them on different sides. This Sunday is one week before Lent, and it reminds us of what we must do on this Great Lent, to save our souls in order to be on the right side. The most important thing is for us to see our sins, because when a person sees his sins, he has something to repent of. To do this, we are given Great Lent — in imitation of the fast of our Savior, who suffered a forty-day fast before His saving mission. We also go through this period with repentance, with awareness of our deeds and our sins. The most important thing is spiritual fasting, during which we must realize our deeds, our life, understand whether we are going the right way, whether we are doing everything to save our soul. But it is also a physical fast, that is, we do not eat fast food, and this reminds us that there is a Great fast, so that we do not forget about the main thing — about our soul. I wish all of us to pass this fast with a result, so that we can change a little for the better, get rid of those vices with which we live, and from which we cannot get rid of in any way. Help us, Lord! I thank you for our common prayers, I rejoice at our meeting, we haven’t seen each other for a long time — for three whole years, and today the Lord has vouchsafed us to be here together, in order to thank God for the opportunity to serve together, to pray, to glorify his Creator and ask the Lord for blessings for the coming fast and for the rest of our lives. Once again I wanted to thank everyone for the common prayers. God bless everyone!”