Prayers on Tubabao

On March 29, the secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese, Hieromonk Cornelius (Molev) and the chairman of the missionary department of the diocese, Priest Moses Kahilig, celebrated a prayer service to St. John of Shanghai on Tubabao Island, where the saint stayed from 1949 to 1951 together with Russian refugees. On March 30, on parental Saturday, a memorial service was held for the deceased compatriots at the Guian cemetery.

Prayers for victims of terrorism

In the Philippines, prayers for the repose of the innocently murdered in the Crocus City Hall were sent up. On March 24, with the blessing of His Eminence Pavel, Metropolitan of Manila and Hanoi, funeral services were held in the parishes of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese for the innocently murdered during the terrorist attack in Russia. Prayer petitions for the speedy healing of all the victims were also announced at the Divine Liturgies.

Filipino citizens deeply empathize with the tragedy that has occurred and sincerely pray for the repose of the souls of the deceased, for the speedy healing of the injured and the consolation of loved ones. Knowing firsthand the evil that comes from terrorist ideologies, Filipinos ask to convey their deepest condolences to Russian brothers and sisters.

Beginning of the Lent

On March 17, 2024, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi celebrated Vespers with the rite of forgiveness at the Resurrection Cathedral in Khanty-Mansiysk. His Eminence was co-served by the clergy of the Khanty-Mansiysk deanery. The first part of the service is performed in light vestments. After the singing of the great prokimenon the closing of the Royal Gates and the clergy changed into Lenten black robes.

After the dismissal of Vespers, Metropolitan Pavel read a prayer for the beginning of the fast of the Holy Lent and addressed the faithful with the word: “Dear fathers, brothers and sisters! today you and I have gathered on this Sunday evening for this short evening service in order to ask each other for forgiveness, as one big Orthodox family. We have all been communicating with you for a year, and of course somewhere we express our discontent against each other, someone may have been insulted, someone has done something bad. Sometimes, in the course of our lives, we don’t even notice when we can offend each other. Today’s gospel narrative says so bluntly that if we do not forgive, then the Lord will not forgive our sins. The Lord teaches you and me to forgive offenders, because it is hard and difficult when a person does something bad to you, but you have to love and forgive him. I remember a long time ago, a teacher told me that love can be strangled, but for many years I did not understand how this could be done. And it turns out that when they make you feel bad, you respond with love. And a person will not stand it and stop doing bad things himself, and repent. Today we have gathered to ask the Lord for forgiveness first of all, so that He would forgive us every sin, voluntary and involuntary, and of course, forgive each other’s offenses. Let us forgive, and it will be easier for us to go through the field of Lent. It’s like a load is lifted from your soul when you get joy from the fact that you have forgiven and you have been forgiven. There is no man who has lived on earth and has not sinned. Today, His Holiness the Patriarch said in his sermon that even sinners became saints only because they knew how to get rid of sins. And a person cannot sin in any way, but if he brings the fruits of repentance, he can become a saint. May God grant us to bring the good fruits of repentance in this Lenten Week, so that each of us can change our lives at least a little for the better, leave some kind of vice, some kind of sin that he lives with all his life and cannot get rid of it. But the most important thing is awareness, vision of sins and repentance. Help us, Lord! I, like any human being, having a human nature, also sin, sometimes maybe without noticing, so I ask you for Christ’s forgiveness, forgive me, a sinner!”

Farewell to the icon

On March 11, 2024, the journey of the miraculous icon of the Mother of God “Softening of Evil Hearts” in the Philippines ended. The last parish to which it was brought was the oldest Orthodox church in the Philippines in honor of the Exaltation of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross of the Lord in Siniloan. The parishioners warmly welcomed the miraculous image. The priests served a prayer service, which ended with a procession, during which the icon acquired a red hue, abundantly covered with drops of fragrant myrrh, and the face of the Virgin was covered with red dots.

The Orthodox believers of our diocese express their sincere gratitude to the organizers of bringing the icon to the Philippines – Sergey Fomin, Natalia Mezentseva and Alexander Chvala – for the opportunity to see a real miracle and feel the grace of the spiritual world.

Miraculous icon in Manila

On March 10, 2024, the miraculous icon of the Mother of God “Softening of Evil Hearts” stayed at the parish in honor of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God in Manila. After the Divine Liturgy, prayers were served to the Most Holy Theotokos. During the day, the temple was visited by numerous guests, including the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to the Philippines Marat Pavlov, priests and parishioners from the Antiochian Orthodox Church, representatives of the Roman Catholic Church. For the first time, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in the Philippines, Apostolic Nuncio Charles J. Brown and the nunciature staff visited the parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Philippines. The Vatican Ambassador talked with priests and parishioners, who presented him with a copy of the miraculous icon.

Guardian of the miraculous image Sergei Fomin, organizer of the icon travel, President of St. Martyr Bonifacio Foundation Natalia Mezentseva, Secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese Hieromonk Cornelius (Molev) and rector of the Iveron Parish of the Mother of God in Manila Hieromonk Alexei (Lapshin) told the parishioners and guests about the miracle of myrrh-streaming and about the history of this icon. The streaming of myrrh is a well-known but rare miracle of Orthodoxy. The fragrant liquid, consisting of proteins that have no analogues in nature, appears from the air in the form of drops on the icon and on the nod as a reminder of the spiritual world. In recent years, myrrh-streaming has already been recorded three times in the parishes of the Russian Church on Mindanao Island in the parishes of Makalangot (in 2020, after the consecration of the temple by Metropolitan Pavel, all icons were myrrh-streaming for many months), Polomolok (after the parish returned from the schism on Christmas 2024, the icon of the Savior was myrrh-streaming) and General Santos (the icon with the relics of St. Andrew the Apostle in 2022). But the constant flow of myrrh for 25 years is a unique phenomenon. To see a miracle with our own eyes is the grace of God revealed to the Orthodox in the Philippines.