Few days before the feast of the Nativity of Christ, a meeting with young parishioners was held at the parish in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in Vung Tau. Priest Eugene Tsukalo, rector of the parishes of the Vietnamese Deanery of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese, told the children about the holiday, after that the creative part of the evening began. The children themselves made gingerbread cakes, crafts, watched a themed cartoon and, of course, there was a tea party.
A period of special prayer singing has ended in Mindanao.
According to the Filipino Catholic tradition, special masses are held on 9 evenings before December 25 (Christmas according to the new calendar). Pious Catholics at this time try to visit temples daily for special prayer. According to our calendar, on these days we commemorate two great saints and wonderworkers: Nicholas of Myra and Spyridon of Trimythous. Therefore, in the spirit of the total pre-holiday atmosphere, the Orthodox Filipinos also decided to specially celebrate these days: prayer services with akathists to these two saints were performed daily in all our churches in Mindanao.
On December 23, 2022, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi met with Igor G. Bailen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines to the Russian Federation. The meeting was attended by: On the part of the Embassy of the Philippines — Deputy Head of Mission Robert O. Ferrer, Vice Consul Catherine Alpay. On the part of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese — Secretary of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Abbot Anthony (Kirpichev). During the conversation, the parties discussed the presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Philippine land and further cooperation
Students from Indonesia and the Philippines studying at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy received a blessing to wear a podryasnik (cassock).
On December 9, on the eve of the day the Icon of the Mother of God “Tsarskoye Selo”, All-Night Vigil was held in the church of the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. Before the beginning of the service, the rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, Bishop Siluan of Peterhof blessed the students of the 1st year of bachelor’s degree to wear podryasnik (clerical under-vestment). Among the first-year students there are also students of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast Asia from Indonesia and the Philippines.
On December 11, on the 26th Sunday of Pentecost, at the parish in honor of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God in Manila, a shrine was greeted – part of the vestments of St. John of Shanghai. The relic – a gift from the Ascension Church on Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street in Moscow and from its cleric, Priest Dmitry Sorokin – was delivered to the Philippines by George (Daniel) Foronda, colonel of the International Cossack Brotherhood, representative of the Cossacks in the Philippines.
St. John, as we know, was unmercenary and did not have many vestments. Probably, our parish now has a piece of the very vestments in which the saint walked around the island of Tubabao in 1949-1951. It is significant that such a greeting from the saint came to us unexpectedly, but immediately after the foundation stone of the future church in his honor was blessed on the island of Tubabao.
On the same day after the prayer service to St. John, three parishioners passed the rite of catechumens, and then the “great” blessing of 4 “chariots” was performed.
The foundation of the church of the Apostle Thomas in Barangay Kinabalan has been completed. Due to the constant seismic activity, with the blessing of Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, with the help of the architectural department of the Khanty-Mansi Metropolia, a special project of reinforced foundation was developed for this temple, designed for earthquakes up to 9 points. Despite the novelty of the project, local workers, with the help of the parishioners of the church and under the supervision of the clergy of the diocese, coped with the work perfectly.
On December 1, events dedicated to the beginning of the construction of the church in honor of St. John of Shanghai were held on Tubabao Island. With the blessing of Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, the Secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese, Hieromonk Korniliy (Molev), performed the rite of consecration of the foundation stone in the concelebration of the clergy of the diocese, Hieromonk Alexei (Lapshin), priests Moses Kahilig and Ambrose Sumagaysay.
Then, in the center of the island, at the monument in honor of the Russian-Philippine friendship, a ceremony was held to raise state flags and lay a wreath in memory of the Russian refugees who found refuge on the island.
The events were attended by the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Philippines Marat Pavlov and his wife, Senior Consul Yaroslav Pavlov, 1st Secretary of the Embassy Nikolai Ovsyannikov, Mayor of the municipality of Guiuan Annalisa Gonzalez Kwan, Vice-Mayor Veronica Kabakaba-Ramirez and employees of the Mayor’s office, President of the organization “Philippine Combat Systems – Russia” Alexander Pisarkin and Adviser Anton Seredkin, residents and guests of Tubabao Island.
In 1949-1951, six thousand Russian refugees from among those who emigrated from Russia to Shanghai after the Civil War found temporary shelter on this island. The spiritual leader of the community was St. John of Shanghai. Filipinos gave a warm welcome and support to the refugees and Russians have made a great cultural contribution to the life of the local people who still honor their memory. In her welcoming speech, Mayor Annalisa G. Kwan, in particular, said that she was taught ballet by a disciple of a Russian emigrant.
Saint John of Shanghai is also very revered by the locals, because miracles happen through prayers to him. In particular, people miraculously escaped during typhoons, and even typhoons themselves often bypassed the island, as it was in 1949-1951. The same miracle happened in Manila on Sunday, November 1, 2020, when the strongest super typhoon Goni, which was approaching Metro Manila, suddenly lost its strength and went south from the city immediately after the prayer service to St. John at the Iveron Parish in Manila (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon_Goni ).
November 30, the clergy of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese and a delegation of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Philippines headed by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation Marat Ignatievich Pavlov visited the cemetery of the municipality of Guiuan (Samar Island), where Russian refugees are buried who lived in 1949-1951 on Tubabao Island and found their last refuge there. In memory of the deceased, the secretary of the diocese, Hieromonk Cornelius (Molev) together with the priests of the diocese performed a requiem litya.