Patronal feast of the parish of St Isidore of Rostov in Alabel, Mindanao
May 24 is the feast of St. Cyril and Methodius, the enlighteners of the Slavs. It is also the namesday of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. The clergy and flock of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese warmly congratulate the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church and constantly pray for his health for many years.
On May 25, at the parish in Vung Tau, a meeting was held with the youngest parishioners on the theme “Saints Cyril and Methodius. Enlightenment of the Slavs”.
С воскресным днём, дорогие братья и сестры!📍Приход блаженной Матроны Московской в городе Давао, остров Минданао, Филиппины
Дружный приход в честь Казанской иконы Божией Матери в городе Вунгтау, Вьетнам
Крещение младенца Анастасии на приходе в честь Воскресения Христова в городе Генерал-Сантос на Филиппинах. Из множества имен святых, Анастасия, пожалуй, самая любимая у православных христиан в Юго-Восточной Азии😌
The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated on the 6th Sunday of Easter at the parish of St Seraphim of Sarov in the village of Lawigue (Tayabas, Quezon province) where more than 30 people were baptized 2 weeks ago, and thus the total number of members almost reached fifty (most of them are children). This is the poorest community in Manila Deanery and we’ll need to raise funds for the proper place for Divine worship there.
My name is Stefan Bingkal, I come from the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, from the city of Kinabalan in Sarangani province. I have a brother and a sister, we are all Orthodox. In my city there is a parish in honor of the Apostle Thomas. Our parents were baptized there, and then we were too. Since then, our whole family has become parishioners of this church. There are few Orthodox Christians in the Philippines, but their number is growing. People are gradually beginning to accept Orthodoxy, sometimes in whole communities and families. You will be surprised, but my uncle is a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church. His name is Fr. Joachim Gonzales. One day he asked me if I would like to study at a seminary? In the city of Davao on our island, courses were just opened at the educational center at the Church of the Blessed Matrona of Moscow, and I gladly agreed. My parents were also happy and supported me. I moved to Davao and settled in a house at the temple together with other guys, some of them also wanted to enter the Theological Academy in Russia. At first we got used to worship and study. Father Korniliy (Molev), now he is the rector of the Church of St. Matrona, taught us Russian and Liturgics, we often read and worshipped at church services, and six months later I entered the preparatory department at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. At first it was very difficult for me to learn Russian: I had a terrible feeling that no one understands me. It was especially difficult for the first six months in St. Petersburg, but gradually my Russian got better. Now I have other difficulties: there are nine subjects in my curriculum, and sometimes I don’t always have time to take notes at lectures. But despite the difficulties, I also have my favorite subjects. Most of all I like Liturgics, although it is not the simplest subject. I was lucky: I have good roommates. Mostly the master’s students live in our room – very friendly guys. Sometimes they help me with my studies. During the quarantine, when there was no common prayer in the temple, we prayed together in our room. Sometimes we drink tea and just talk. This communication helped me a lot at first and it helps me now. The daily routine on weekdays is different. On school days, we wake up at seven in the morning, after – an hour of joint prayer, and then breakfast. The classes at the academy and seminary begin at nine o’clock. At the Russian language courses, we study with the teacher at different times, sometimes even after lunch, but always for four academic hours a day. Other foreign students and I even bought books by F.M. Dostoevsky and A.S. Pushkin for the sake of interest, however, it turned out that it was still difficult for us to read such works. The first time I went to the temple was at the age of twelve. We have only priests serving in the Philippines, before moving to Russia I had never seen bishops. And here the services are most often led by the bishop rector, and when I got to the episcopal service in the academy church, I was very surprised. The services are so solemn and last so long, but I’m already used to it. And I’m used to St. Petersburg, I like it here, but the climate is unusual. I try to go out of the academy to the city about twice a week. I have my favorite places here, for example St. Isaac’s Cathedral. This is one of the tallest cathedrals in St. Petersburg! I also really liked the Hermitage: there are beautiful interiors and very interesting paintings. I think, this is one of the best museums in the world. Most of all, I remember trips to holy places – Optina, Pskovo-Pechersky and Alexander-Svir monasteries. In the Optina we were in the hermitage where the Monk Ambrose of Optina lived, and in the Alexander Svir Monastery I venerated the holy relics for the first time in my life. In the Pskov-Pechersk Monastery, I finally learned how monks live. The students and I were there on vacation and lived as novices with the brethren for almost two weeks. I was very surprised by the way of monastic life: monks get up early in the morning at five o’clock and go to the mass prayer service, after the prayer service – to the Liturgy. During the holidays, students from the Philippines and Indonesia and I often go somewhere – to holy places or to Moscow to the Patriarchal Compound in the Church of the Life–Giving Trinity in Ostankino, where the rector is Vladyka Sergiy, we also fly to Khanty-Mansiysk to Vladyka Pavel (Metropolitan Sergiy of Singapore and Southeast Asia, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi). After completing my studies, I plan to devote my future life to serving God and people in holy orders. I would like to serve in my native and beloved country – the Philippines, but as a future clergyman, I must fulfill the obedience of the bishop, the place of my further ministry will depend on him. Over the years of my life in Russia, I fell in love with it, it became almost my native country. I rely on God’s Providence, the Lord will manage everything!
Interviewed by D. Kupryakhina
On May 12, an action “Immortal Regiment” was held on the islands of Panglao and Bohol, dedicated to the 78th anniversary of the Great Victory. It was attended by compatriots living on these islands and on the neighboring island of Cebu, representatives of the Russian Embassy in the Philippines and representatives of the Bohol Island administration. After the rally on the islands, on the central square of Tagbilaran city, the Secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese, Hieromonk Korniliy (Molev), and the dean of the Manila District, Hieromonk Alexei (Lapshin), celebrated a thanksgiving prayer service on Victory Day over Fascism, after which representatives of the Russian Embassy and the local administration made a speech. The participants honoured the memory of their ancestors, whose feat of self-sacrifice changed God’s wrath for mercy, and deserved the Victory granted on Easter.
On May 8, on the eve of Victory Day, the staff of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Ho Chi Minh City honored the memory of Russian sailors who participated in the Russo–Japanese war of 1904-1905. Priest Yevgeny Tsukalo performed a memorial service for the deceased soldiers at the place of their burial.
May 6, on the feast of St. George the Victorious and the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God, 31 people were baptized in the community in honor of St. Seraphim of Sarov in Lawigue (Tayabas, 100 km southeast of Manila). For many years the FMI Charitable Foundation under the leadership of Priest David Grubbs has been talking care about this community. 2 years ago, a miracle of healing took place there: hopelessly ill Athanasius got well immediately after he was baptized. Then many members wished to be baptized, however the pandemic made its own adjustments. But today, on the eve of the Sunday of the Paralytic, in memory of the miracle performed by the Savior 2000 years ago and repeated 2 years ago, the desire of Athanasius’ friends has come true: they have become one body with Christ. The sacrament was conducted by the dean of the Manila Deanery, Hieromonk Alexei (Lapshin) and the cleric of the Iveron Parish in Manila, Priest Augustin Ponferrada.