A meeting of the Synod of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast Asia was held on January 29, 2023, at the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity in Ostankino, Moscow, under the chairmanship of the Patriarchal Exarch of Southeast Asia, Metropolitan Sergiy of Singapore and Southeast Asia. The Synod was attended by Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, Archbishop Theophan of Korea and Bishop Pitirim of Jakarta, Vicar of the Diocese of Singapore. The Synod members expressed filial gratitude to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church for their attention to the Orthodoxy in Asia, the development of the life of church communities and the arrangement of their canonical existence. During the meeting, a wide range of issues of the life of the Patriarchal Exarchate and the further development of the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in the countries of Southeast Asia were considered. Upon completion, Metropolitan Pavel presented the Archpastors with the medals of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese.
On January 29, 2023, the 33rd Sunday after Pentecost, the feast of the Veneration of the chains of the Apostle Peter, Patriarchal Exarch of Southeast Asia, Metropolitan Sergiy of Singapore and Southeast Asia, led the Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity in Ostankino, Moscow.
His Eminence was co-served by Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, Archbishop Theophylact of Pyatigorsk and Circassian, Archbishop Theophan of Korea, Bishop Pitirim of Jakarta, Secretary of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Abbot Anthony (Kirpichev), clerics of the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity in Ostankino.
At the end of the service, Metropolitan Sergiy congratulated the faithful on Sunday and addressed the audience with an archpastoral word:
“Your Eminences, dear fathers, brothers and sisters, I am glad to welcome you on this Sunday, which prepares us for Lent. It has already smelled of spiritual spring. Today, I was happy to perform a joint divine service with the bishops, with co-workers in the lands of Southeast Asia and the lands of the Caucasus.
Vladyka Pavel, who heads the Orthodox mission in the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese, where there are already thirty-three parishes. Vladyka Theophan, who heads the Korean Diocese, which includes the countries of North and South Korea. On these lands Vladyka Theophan unites our compatriots, Orthodox believers on the Korean peninsula. Today, Vladyka Pitirim prayed with us here, who looks after parishes in Indonesia, which has about 300 million people. This territory is 20 times smaller than the territory of Russia.
Also, Archimandrite Oleg, the organizer of parishes in the Thai diocese, where eleven churches and one monastery have already been built, shared the joy of common prayer with us.
In Southeast Asia is the hardest mission of the Russian Orthodox Church. If someone had told me 15 years ago that Orthodoxy would flourish in Asia far away for us, I would not have believed it, but today the Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast Asia includes over 80 parishes. And all this by the grace of God and by the labours, cares and prayers of the bishops of the Exarchate.
God is never wrong. If a person sincerely believed that God guides everything in our life, he would see through his life experience, that even sometimes via pain, a state of abandonment, the Lord leads us to salvation.”
Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga met with foreign students of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. The meeting was attended by applicants of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa from Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, the Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast Asia from the Philippines and Indonesia. His Eminence congratulated everyone on the holidays of Christmas and Epiphany, and gave a parting archpastoral word. The group of students was accompanied by the rector of the Academy, Bishop Siluan of Peterhof.
On January 20, a meeting of foreign students of the Theological Academy with Priest Jacob Smuts (South Africa) took place in the classroom of the missionary department of the St. Petersburg Diocese. During the meeting, Father Jacob spoke about his life path and practical experience of conducting missionary work in Africa.
On the day of the memory of St. Pavel of Komel (Obnorsky), we congratulate our dear Vladyka Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi on his Heavenly Patron Saint feast!
On January 21, on Saturday after Theophany, on the coast of the island of Luzon, the dean of the Manila District, Hieromonk Alexei (Lapshin), performed the rite of the Great Blessing of water in the ocean. After the rite, two parishioners of the Iveron parish were baptized. The events, which were attended by many parishioners, ended with traditional Epiphany bathing. Congratulations to the newly enlightened Mark and Anna on the beginning of a new life in Christ!
On February 2-20, 2023, after a long break due to restrictions caused by coronavirus infection, Metropolitan Pavel of Khanty-Mansiysk and Surgut, the Administrator of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese, will pay an archpastoral visit to the Philippines.
Visits to parishes in different provinces are planned. Metropolitan Pavel will visit a number of Orthodox communities on the island of Mindanao, where he will perform divine services and hold a diocesan meeting of the clergy and laity of the Philippine–Vietnamese diocese. A number of ordinations of clerics of the Philippine–Vietnamese Diocese will also take place.
During his archpastoral trip, Metropolitan Paul will visit the island of Tubabao (Philippines) where the foundation stone was consecrated at the construction site of the church of St. John, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco.
As part of the archpastoral trip to the Republic of the Philippines, the Administrator of the Philippine—Vietnamese Diocese will also hold working meetings with representatives of the state authorities of the cities of the Republic, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of the Philippines M. Pavlov and employees of the diplomatic corps of the Russian Federation, representatives of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church.
On January 19, after the Divine Liturgy, the rite of the Great Blessing of water on Lake Taal was performed at the parish in Tagaytay. In the center of the lake there is the world’s smallest active volcano, which erupted for the last time exactly 3 years ago.
The Day of the Repose of St. Seraphim of Sarov on January 15 fell on Sunday this year, so many parishioners were able to pray to the saint, those who on other days cannot be in the church because of work. The unique life of the ascetic and his instructions remind us of the goal of our life, serve as a beacon in the sea of temptations. The patronal feast was held in Makalangot village. Solemn services were also held in other parishes of the diocese.
The clergy and flock of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese cordially congratulate our dear Bishop Metropolitan Pavel on his 67th birthday. We sincerely wish him good health, providential help from above in everything, and look forward to his visit soon. Many years!
Christmas in Siniloan, parish of Exaltation of the Holy Cross