We worship Thy Cross

The Lord wants real repentance and sincere prayer from us. “My soul! The end is coming”, sung in the Canon of St Andrew of Crete. Unfortunately, we only wake up in times of great danger. That’s why sorrows are allowed. They are not always a punishment for sins, because the righteous also suffer. But suffering makes us spiritually stronger, higher. “Whoever wants to follow Me, take your Cross” – says the Lord in today’s gospel reading. This means: if you want to go to heaven, accept your fate and forget about yourself. For eternity is for the meek. The proud won’t get along with it.
In the parishes of the diocese, on the Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross, prayers were served for deliverance from the epidemic. Services at this particular time are performed with all relevant precautions

Prayer for deliverance from pestilence

President of the Philippines R. Duterte declared the next week a Week of National Prayer for deliverance from the coronavirus infection.

His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill approved prayer requests in connection with the threat of spreading coronavirus infection.

Petitions will be offered at the Divine Liturgy in all the churches of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Earlier, the Holy Synod at a meeting on March 11 this year adopted a Statement in connection with the spread of coronavirus infection.

“During the times of epidemics, the Russian Orthodox Church has always carried out its witness service, not denying anyone spiritual care and full participation in its Sacraments,” the statement says. — We call for restraint, preservation of sobriety and prayerful calm, we draw attention to the fact that a believer should not give in to panic and fears associated with the spread of unverified information about infection. At the same time, it is unacceptable to treat coronavirus infection lightly, ignore medical prescriptions, ignore preventive measures, exposing yourself and others to the risk of infection.”

Petitions at the litany of fervent supplication at the Divine Liturgy, offered during the spread of a malicious plague:

“Again we pray Thee, O Lord our God, to mercifully deliver us from the ruinous plague threatening to us and to spare Thy faithful people of death of soul and body; to the heal the sick, and to protect and save us, O merciful Lord, soon hearken and have mercy on us.

Again we pray for calming of the confusion and disturbance of people, for protection of the faithful with a firm hope, and for planting peace and silence in our hearts, O Lord, we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.”

Prayer during the spread of a malicious plague:

“O Lord our God, do not enter into judgment with Thy servants, and protect us from the pernicious pestilence threatening to us. Have mercy on us, Thy humble and unworthy servants, who fall down in repentance with warm faith and heartfelt compunction to Thee, our merciful God, and we trust in Thy compassion.
For it is Thine to have mercy on us and save us, O our God, and to Thee we send up glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Press service of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia

Instructions to the rectors of parishes and courtyards, Abbots and Abbesses of monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church in connection with the threat of spread of coronavirus infection

The document was approved by the decision of the Holy Synod of March 17, 2020 (journal # 30).

For the sake of pastoral care of people, as well as in response to the request of the sanitary authorities, while maintaining a firm faith in God’s good Providence and in Divine omnipotence, the following rules are adopted, taking into account the canonical and liturgical Traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Until the epidemiological situation changes for the better and the diocesan administration gives appropriate instructions to terminate this instruction in full or in part, the following must be done in parishes, Patriarchal, Episcopal and monastic buildings, as well as in stauropigial and diocesan monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Concerning The Communion Of The Holy Mysteries Of Christ

1. Bearing in mind that the offering of a Bloodless Sacrifice can never be canceled, because where there is no Eucharist, there is no Church life, and also that the Holy Body and Blood of Christ are taught for the health of both the soul and the body (see, for example, the prayers of St. John Chrysostom, the 7th and 9th of the Preparation to Holy Communion), taking into account, however, the historical practice of the Orthodox Church in the conditions of epidemics[1], — Communion of the Holy Mysteries of Christ is to be done with wiping the spoon with an alcohol-soaked cloth after each communicant (with regular renewal of the impregnation) and then dipping the spoon in water with respective disposal of water.

2. The water after Communion must be served separately for each participant in disposable glasses.

3. Use disposable sanitary gloves to distribute the antidoron.

4. Cloth for the communion of the laity must be used only to protect the Holy Mysteries from possible falling on the floor and for wiping the spoon only. Wiping of the mouths of the communicants must be with paper napkins which will be burnt. The cloths should be boiled and washed with due reverence after each liturgical use.

5. Communicants should refrain from kissing the Chalice.

Concerning the performance of the sacraments of Baptism and Anointing

6. Strictly adhere to the practice of changing and consecrating water for each individual case. In this regard, the sacrament of Baptism is performed only individually with intermediate disinfection (wiping) of the font (baptistery) with a disinfectant liquid.

7. For anointing with oil, use a cotton swab (instead of a string) and a paper napkin (instead of a sponge), followed by burning.

Concerning the performance of the sacrament of unction

8. When anointing the sick in the temples, use for each parishioner individually disposable cotton swabs, which must be burnt.

Other instructions regarding the performance of services, pastoral practice, and parish life

9. Instead of presenting the cross for kissing at the end of the divine Liturgy and other services, it is recommended to place the cross on the heads of parishioners.

10. Returning to the statutory practice, which has been changed in recent years, anointing at the all-night vigil is performed only in cases when the litias and the consecration of oil are performed. When anointing use for each parishioner separately a disposable string (a cotton swab) with subsequent disposal. In other cases, perform kissing of the gospel or a festive icon (cross) after the polyeleos only with the blessing of the priest and wiping the gospel and icon (cross) after each kissing using a disinfectant solution.

11. Clergymen are advised to refrain from offering their hands for kissing.

12. Use disposable hygiene gloves to distribute the prosphora and consecrated bread at the all-night vigil.

13. Pay special attention to the cleanliness of utensils and liturgical vessels, wiping them after each liturgical use and thoroughly washing them with boiling water.

14. Suspend the work of Sunday schools, as well as parish sections and activities until further notice.

15. If possible, the social services of parishes and monasteries should help elderly parishioners to deliver food and essential goods to their homes.

General instructions

16. Abbots should instruct employees of parishes and monasteries to strictly observe general hygiene measures, including hand disinfection during the day (at least once every 2 hours).

17. Provide frequent airing of churches, parish and monastery premises.

18. Regularly treat the surfaces of  temple furniture (including places for writing notes, candle boxes, etc.), as well as door handles with disinfectant solutions.

19. Regularly treat with disinfecting solutions icons located in the Church, which are applied to the parishioners.

20. Clergymen, clergy, and employees of parishes and monasteries should be responsible and attentive to their well-being. If you feel unwell, immediately inform the rector and seek medical help.

21. Abbots and rectors are required to measure the temperature before the start of the working day (for example, using a non-contact thermometer) for priests, clergy, and church employees who interact with a large number of parishioners.

22. Explain to parishioners that the implementation of the imposed regulations and restrictions should be performed as following the words of the Holy Scripture:” do not tempt the Lord your God ” (MT. 4:7). Also explain to parishioners that in case of symptoms of flue or other infectious diseases, they should refrain from visiting churches for the sake of love for their neighbors and care for them.

[1] – in particular: communion of patients with infectious diseases after other communicants (or even at a separate service) with wiping after each communicant with a cloth and then burning it; the use of a separate vessel for the patients and the spoon, washing them in vinegar with the pouring of the latter into a dry well


The document was adopted at the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on March 11, 2020.
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church is concerned about the spread of coronavirus infection in the world and its consequences for millions of people, many of whom are not only facing the threat of infection, but have also experienced the socio-economic consequences of this disaster.
Members of the Holy Synod express their condolences to the relatives and friends of the victims of this disease in China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and other countries.
Blessed before the Lord are the works of doctors and volunteers who develop and implement medical and preventive measures aimed at helping the sick and preventing the further spread of the disease.
During the times of epidemics, the Russian Orthodox Church has always carried out its witness service, not denying anyone of spiritual care and full participation in the Holy Sacraments. We call for restraint, sobriety and prayerful calm, and we draw attention to the fact that a believer should not give in to panic and fears associated with the spread of unverified information about infection.
At the same time, it is unacceptable to treat coronavirus infection lightly, ignore medical prescriptions, ignore preventive measures, exposing yourself and others to the risk of infection.
The Holy Synod considers it important to consistently and strictly observe sanitary and hygienic measures of a preventive nature in parishes and monasteries, especially in those regions where the epidemiological situation is officially recognized as severe, including the wider use of sanitary solutions to disinfect icons and the use of disposable drinking cups.
If a coronavirus infection spreads in a particular region, additional preventive measures should be applied in consultation with the clergy.
The Holy Synod calls on archpastors, pastors, monastics and laypeople of the Russian Orthodox Church to intensify prayer for overcoming the disease and for giving strength to doctors who are struggling with it.


Second week of Lent

During the second week of Lent, Saturday and Sunday services were held in parishes in Ho Chi Minh city (Vietnam), Manila, Tagaytay, and Mindanao in General Santos, Kyamba and Cayupo. The parishes of GenSan and Tagaytay also held Lenten services with the Liturgy of the Presanctified gifts.
General Santos hosted a meeting of the Sisterhood and distribution of humanitarian aid. Daily feeding programs for children from poor families are held at the parish in Tagaytay.
Two icons of the most Holy Theotokos, written on the donations of the Orthodox people of Ho Chi Minh arrived to the city from Russia. In turn, each family will take the icons to their homes until the next Liturgy, and at home they will pray reading the Akathist of the Intercession of the most Holy Theotokos.
Due to coronavirus pandemic, appropriate precautions are being taken in parishes; a “prayer Service during a pestilence” has been served.
Internal travel is restricted in the Philippines, so many parishioners were unable to attend services in Manila, and the monthly Liturgy in Cebu was canceled.

Triumph of Orthodoxy

God is with us! The first Sunday of Lent is a celebration of the Triumph of Orthodoxy as the true faith and the only Church founded by God, Whose Image, as He revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, we honor today and forever. Festive services were held in the parishes of the diocese

The first week of Lent in the parishes of the diocese

The first week of Lent is the strictest. In parishes in Manila, Tagaytay, Davao, and Vietnam, Lenten services were held daily in the morning and evening. From Monday to Thursday, the Great Canon of Andrew of Crete was read at the great Compline. On Wednesday, The Liturgy of the Pre-consecrated Gifts was celebrated. At the parish in Ha Noi city, parishioners read the services themselves.

Forgiveness Sunday. Vung Tau

On March 1, Cheesefare Sunday, a Liturgy was served at the parish of the Kazan icon of the Mother of God in Vung Tau. Most worshippers have received the Holy Mysteries of Christ.
On this day, the warden of our parish has a personal holiday – his birthday. After the Liturgy priest Eugene congratulated Igor Bulkin and presented him an award from his Holiness Patriarch Kirill – the Jubilee medal “in memory of the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church”.
In the evening, Vespers was served with the ceremony of forgiveness. After the service, during agape meal, fr Eugene told about the Lent, its significance, features and opportunities.