On December 30, 2020, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi led an online meeting of the clergy of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese. Starting the conference, His Eminence expressed hope that next summer he will be able to visit the Philippines and Vietnam to continue the work of the construction of the diocese interrupted by the pandemic: the adoption of new communities to Orthodoxy, the construction of model churches and a theological school, the resumption of dialogue with the authorities of the Philippines, including a meeting with the President of the Republic. Vladyka mentioned that he personally knew the new Russian Ambassador to the Philippines, M. Pavlov: “The ways of the Lord are inscrutable, and this is the will of God for the joint work of Church and state for a common goal.” Metropolitan Pavel also thanked Priest David Grubbs and the Department of Charity and Social Service of the diocese for their dedicated work during the pandemic. During the meeting, issues of current activities and plans for the future were discussed: preparation for priestly ordinations, translations of liturgical texts into local languages, cooperation with universities, the Bible Society and local radio stations, and other issues. In conclusion, His Eminence blessed the flock for vaccination against coronavirus and decided to hold an annual diocesan meeting online in February 2021.
On December 23, at the parish in honor of the Kazan icon of the Mother of God in Vung Tau, a meeting with children was organized. The rector of the parish priest Eugene Zucalo talked about the upcoming feast of the Nativity of Christ. The parishioners organized a cultural program: children made Christmas toys, baked gingerbread and learned a Christmas carol.
On December 17, a New Year’s reception was held at the residence of the Consul General of Russia in Ho Chi Minh City A.V. Popov, which was attended by Russians and Vietnamese friends of Russia. Among the invited were the managers of the JV “Vietsovpetro”, rector of the parish of the Kazan icon of the Mother of God priest Evgeniy Tsukalo, representatives of “Zarubezhneft” Corp. and other leaders and representatives of the Russian associations, Vietnamese students of Ho Chi Minh city pedagogical University and Institute of social Sciences and Humanities.
On the island of Mindanao at the end of 2019, a series of devastating earthquakes occurred, there were deaths, many people were injured and left homeless. Orthodox churches located near the epicenter were not left without damage. So the church of St. Seraphim of Sarov in Makalangot suffered, but now its structure has been strengthened and all damage has been fixed. By the grace of God, this temple was already consecrated.
But there are other damaged temples. So the church of St. Queen Helena in the village of Little Baguio survived, but was severely damaged (by the way, the Roman Catholic churches located nearby were completely destroyed). Skew cracks appeared in the supporting columns and walls, and the concrete cross crowning the temple broke. At the moment, the church needs to be reinforced with an external metal structure, but the parishioners do not have the funds for this, since they mainly live in agriculture and are very poor.
Thanks to the help from Russia, materials for its repair and strengthening have now been purchased and delivered. We thank all the donors, especially the Christian book Foundation, for their financial support for the renovation and strengthening of the church.More than 140 metal corners were purchased, as well as rebar and other materials.
The miracle of Myrrh-streaming in Makalangot (Mindanao) has been continuing already for one month; now all icons in the church are streaming!
The Secretary of the diocese Hieromonk Korniliy has visited the temple of St. Seraphim of Sarov and has witnessed the miracle, fixing it with the camera.
After careful examination, he found that the drops of the Myrrh on the icons could not have appeared from natural causes. Together with Priest Moses Cahilig and Deacon Nicholas Salgado, Fr. Korniliy performed a special prayer service. Then he examined the church again and found that droplets began to appear on the icons, where they were not at the first inspection. After a while, these droplets became larger and began to form into rivulets, and new droplets also began to appear. This is a quite rare miracle and it’s wonderful that it is taking place in the Philippines.
We thank God for giving us such a spectacular sign of His presence!