The Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese expresses its deep condolences on the death of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York. Metropolitan Hilarion made a great contribution to the development of the mission of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Philippines, which actually began with his blessing with the arrival of ROCOR clergy to Tubabao in 2013.
On May 21, the icon of the “Intercession (Protection) of the Most Holy Theotokos” with a piece of the Robe of the Mother of God arrives in the Philippines. This icon has visited many countries as part of a round-the-world expedition dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the great exodus of Russian citizens from Russia after the Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War of 1918-1922. The icon was specially painted for this anniversary and consecrated by the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, Metropolitan Hilarion. He, as well as many other Orthodox hierarchs, blessed the round-the-world relay of the icon for the purpose of spiritual unity of Orthodox brothers in the faith who found themselves scattered around the world. This journey began on September 2, 2017 in Moscow, and since then the icon has visited such countries as Ukraine, Belarus, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, USA, Argentina, Australia, etc. During the journey, the Holy Image was applied to many Christian Shrines on his way, including the Holy Sepulchre and the place of the Assumption of the Virgin (Jerusalem), miraculous icons of the Virgin and the relics of saints (Sergius of Radonezh, Matrona of Moscow Seraphim of Sarov, John of Kronstadt, Xenia of St. Petersburg, Nicholas the Wonderworker, John of Shanghai and many others). The icon will arrive in the Philippines accompanied by many shrines, including a particle of the Life-giving Cross and the relics of saints. The veneration of the icon and shrines will take place on May 22 at the Iveron parish. The beginning of the festive service is at 8 am. The next day, the icon and the shrines will arrive on Mindanao Island, where they will visit most of the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church on this island within a week. On May 31, the icon will visit the parish of Christ the Savior in Tagaytay, and on June 1 it will leave for the next country. This journey around the Earth will end in Jerusalem with acceptance by Patriarch Theophilus III of Jerusalem, who blessed all those who go with the icon. The action is supported by the Foundation for the Promotion and Strengthening of Spiritual Unity, Religious, Cultural and Historical Values of Russian Orthodoxy in the Fatherland and Abroad “Under the Protection of the Mother of God”
Ambassador of Russia in the Philippines Mr Marat Pavlov and his wife had even four times seen the descent of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem on the eves of the Orthodox Easter
“Glory to Thee, Christ the Savior, the Source of Life, who gave light to those who are in the darkness of ignorance and enlightened the whole earth with Thy Resurrection.” (Troparion of the Canon to the Myrrh – Bearers on the 3rd Sunday of Easter, ode 9)
Beloved in the Risen Christ, venerable fathers, dear brothers and sisters! Once again, we have been vouchsafed to reach the morning that knows no sunset, the Feast of Feasts and the Celebration of celebrations, the Bright Easter of Christ. Greeting each of you with unspeakable Easter joy, I address to you the words full of rejoicing: CHRIST IS RISEN! The Holy Righteous John of Kronstadt, in his Word for Easter, profoundly proclaims: “Glory to God – Christ has risen from the dead; the Sun of Truth, temporarily extinguished and hidden in the tomb, has shone again and illuminated the whole world with cheerful life-giving rays…” And he continues: “Do you see, brothers and sisters, how all the tribulations, sufferings and death of Christ our Lord ended? By His glorious Resurrection from the dead, by His power over hell and death… and the triumph of truth and Eternal life!” The Savior has risen – and nothing can shake our faith in the goodness of God, hope for salvation, and love for each other. The light of Christ’s Resurrection fills every person’s life with meaning, creates the foundation for every good desire, plan and undertaking.The Lord was pleased to reveal His truth to us. He condescends every time to our infirmities and gives a new testimony of His being, and the reality of His victorious Resurrection. Every Easter we rejoice and rejoice with renewed vigor. No matter how callous and cold our heart may be on the holy days of Great Friday, on the Blessed Saturday, – it experiences a feeling of joy on the holy and radiant Easter night and on all subsequent Easter days, which the Lord gives us in His mercy. This is the main proof for all of us that Christ really rose from the dead, that He really conquered sin and evil, that He really gave us eternal life.Dear fathers, brothers and sisters! Again and again, with great joy, I congratulate you on this holiday – Holy Easter!In festive rejoicing, I prayerfully wish all of you, the beloved flock of the Philippines and Vietnam, the mercy and help of God, success in the work of building parish communities and missionary preaching in the vastness of Southeast Asia, family peace and happiness. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the mercy of the Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary be with you all!Again and again I address to all of you, my dear ones, the hymn of eternal life and joy: Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
BY THE GRACE OF GOD,
PAVEL, METROPOLITAN OF MANILA AND HANOI, Easter of Christ 2022
Venerable fathers, God-loving monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters!
On March 7, by the Grace of God, we are entering the great feat of fasting – a special time favorable for spiritual improvement.
The Lent is, first of all, a period of special fervent prayer to God. At this time, which we are experiencing now, prayer and fasting, as virtues, are vital for us. The Holy Scripture tells us: “God is Love” (1 John 4:16). But in order to find this love for the people around us, it is necessary to purify the soul with prayer, often confess our sins that darken the soul and distance us from God, and worthily partake of the Holy and Life-giving Mysteries of Christ. May each of us be able to concentrate spiritually on the days of the Holy Lent in order to adequately receive the Risen Christ into our hearts.
In such a difficult time that we are living, I call on all of you, dear fathers, brothers and sisters, to unite in prayer, I consider it useful for each Parish of the diocese to distribute among the parishioners during this Great Lent a daily reading of one kathisma from the Psalter with the addition of a “prayer for peace”, so that every day the Psalter is fully read at each Parish. As St. Ambrose of Milan says: – “The grace of God breathes in all scripture, but in the sweet song of the psalms it breathes mainly. History instructs, the law teaches, prophesies, foreshadows, moralizing convinces, and the book of Psalms convinces of all this, and is the most complete medical clinic of human salvation.” The spiritual benefit of reading the Psalter consists in bringing spiritual fruits, which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, mercy, faith, meekness, abstinence (Gal. 5:22).
All these are gifts of the Holy Spirit, but they are given to those who seek God. Reading the Psalter, we, despite all our sins, raise our hearts to Heaven. May each of us be able to focus spiritually and unite in this important prayerful work for peace on the days of the Holy Lent.
The eve of the Holy Lent turns our thoughts to a spiritual feat.
We enter Lent through a special rite of forgiveness, and this is not accidental. The first words of the Savior’s sermon were the words calling for repentance: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
We know how easy it is to sin and how difficult it is to repent. Repentance is a Christian response to a sin, but in order to give an answer, you need to be able to correctly evaluate your actions and carefully monitor the state of your soul.
Mutual Christian forgiveness provides a good beginning to the passage of the Holy Lent, therefore, the Monk Ephraim the Syrian warns: “If you, man, do not forgive anyone who has sinned against you, then do not bother yourself with fasting and prayer: God will not accept you.”
I am aware that I, as your archpastor, could upset someone, offend, not take the time to listen and comfort those who needed it. According to my human nature, I have offended someone, willingly or unwittingly, and today I sincerely apologize to all of you, dear fathers, brothers and sisters, for my imperfections.
Bless and forgive me, fathers, brothers and sisters.
Let the Sunday of Forgiveness be not the only day of the “Rite of Forgiveness”, but our whole life will become a feat of repentance about our voluntary and involuntary sins. Thus, each of us will bear a feat of love and repentance and effective efforts to ensure that the peace and blessing of God return to our lives.
May God’s blessing be with you all during the days of the Holy and saving Lenten Week.
BY THE GRACE OF GOD,
METROPOLITAN OF MANILA AND HANOI
To the hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church
Your Beatitude! Your Eminences and Graces! Dear fathers, brothers, and sisters!
I take the suffering of people caused by the events taking place with deep and heartfelt pain.As the Patriarch of All Russia and the primate of a Church whose flock is located in Russia, Ukraine, and other countries, I deeply empathize with everyone affected by this tragedy.I call on all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.I appeal to the bishops, pastors, monastics, and laity to provide all possible assistance to all victims, including refugees and people left homeless and without means of livelihood.The Russian and Ukrainian peoples have a common centuries-old history dating back to the Baptism of Rus’ by Prince St. Vladimir the Equal-to-the-Apostles. I believe that this God-given affinity will help overcome the divisions and disagreements that have arisen that have led to the current conflict.I call on the entire fullness of the Russian Orthodox Church to offer a special, fervent prayer for the speedy restoration of peace.May the All-merciful Lord, through the intercession of our Most Pure Lady the Theotokos and all the saints, preserve the Russian, Ukrainian, and other peoples who are spiritually united by our Church!
+KIRILLPATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia blessed the establishment of the diocesan Medal of Merit and the Episcopal Diploma of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast Asia of the Russian Orthodox Church. Medal of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast Asia of the Russian Orthodox Church “For Merits” was established in accordance with the definition of the Holy Synod of May 27, 2009 (Journal No. 43, item 3) and on the basis of the resolution of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia of February 18, 2022. The medal “For Merits” is a form of encouragement for clergymen, monastics and laity for their labors and services to Orthodoxy – in pastoral ministry, theological, scientific and administrative activities, the revival of spiritual life, the restoration of churches, missionary, charitable, social and educational works at the diocesan level. It will be awarded to clergymen, monastics and laypeople for their special contribution to the creation of church life in the diocese. The medal has three degrees. Each copy of it is decorated with an iconographic belt relief image of St. John, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco. In a semicircle, above the saint, there is an inscription made in English: “St. JOHN THE ABP. OF SHANGHAI and SAN FRANCISCO». Now the diocese will be awarded a special award in honor of the saint with the name associated with the beginning of the Orthodox mission in the Philippines. St. John has been staying on the island of Tubabao (Philippines) for 3 years since 1949. The International Organization for Refugees has appealed to the governments of a number of countries to provide temporary shelter to refugees, as well as Russian emigrants and persons of some other nationalities who have permanently resided in Shanghai. Only the Philippine Republic responded to this call, and allocated Tubabao Island for temporary settlement of refugees from Shanghai. The evacuation of refugees from Shanghai to Tubabao began in January 1949 and ended in early May of the same year. St. John himself arrived at the camp on Tubabao a few days before Easter in 1949, which became an event of exceptional importance in the spiritual life of the camp. By the resolution of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia dated February 18, 2022, the episcopal diploma of the diocesan bishop is also established for clergymen, monastics and lay people as a reward for their work for the glory of the Holy Church in the Philippine–Vietnamese Diocese.
On January 23 is the memory of St. Pavel Komelsky (Obnorsky) – the heavenly patron of Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi. We heartily congratulate our Vladyka on his day of Angel! We wish him spiritual and bodily strength in the field of archpastoral ministry, and, of course, the prayerful intercession of his heavenly patron!
TO THE MOST PIOUS CLERGY AND GOD-LOVING FLOCK OF THE PHILLIPINO – VIETNAMESE DIOCESE.
“… In the manger of the poor, the Only Begotten Son is seen lying down and swaddled in swaddling clothes, the Lord of glory…”.
Beloved of the Lord, servants of the altar of the Lord, dear brothers and sisters! More than 2000 years have passed since the Nativity of Christ, but the Holy Church does not cease to proclaim to the world about the coming of the Savior into the world!The star of Bethlehem is shining again over the world, announcing the saving event of the Incarnation of God. Celebrating the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we not only remember a historical event of incomparable importance, but also experience a deeply personal celebration for everyone.The Holy Gospel says that on the holy night of Christmas an Angel appeared from heaven and said to people: “I declare to you great joy, which will be to all people: for today a Savior has been born to you in the city of David, who is Christ the Lord; and here is a sign for you: you will find a baby in a cradle, lying in a manger” (Luke 2: 10-12). The Angel spoke of great joy: God appeared in the flesh – He came to us to show the way to heaven. How not to rejoice in it? The Holy Church calls us to this joy.The Son of God brought grace-filled peace to the earth, and every one can perceive it through faith and repentance. St. Theophan the Recluse teaches us that “the Peace of God is the peace which God made with people by sending His Son, to be reconciled to us; as well as the peace that He is sending to His faithful as the Savior said: “peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you” (John 14, 27).” And this gift, peace of God, abides with us not only in the earthly life, but it will continue in eternity. The peace proclaimed by the Angels on the night of the Nativity of Christ is given to us as the greatest heavenly treasure and blessing.My dear ones, for the past two years we have been experiencing a test that has befallen the whole world. The devastating pandemic has touched the lives of many people, it has changed the usual way of our lives. Today we live in unusual conditions, we visit our temples not as it was before. Unfortunately, during all this time, due to the current restrictions, I have not been able to visit you and, as it was before, perform joint services, visit our communities, pray with the flock entrusted to me by the Lord. But I want to assure all of you that every day I offer my prayers for every community, for every clergyman, for the peace and well-being of our countries. As children of the Church, we pray to the Lord daily and offer prayer petitions for the speedy cessation of the harmful plague and the healing of the suffering. Believers perceive events happening in the world as God’s last warning for the sins of the human race. In this period of universal trial, I call on all of you, my dear fathers, dear brothers and sisters, to offer your prayers with gratitude for those who, during this difficult period, show true Christian love for their neighbors, first of all for doctors and medical workers who do their work according to the word of the gospel, “There is no more love, if anyone gives his soul for his friends” (John 15:13).
Dear pastors, pious laity! With gratitude to God, let us enter the coming new year, let us pray to the God-Child Christ that the spirit of His holy love may settle in our hearts, again and again reviving them to a new life of grace. May our hearts become mangers ready to receive Christ, and may our good deeds become precious gifts that we are always ready to bring to Him. And may all those who need it feel our love and receive our help during these Christmas days. I cordially congratulate all of you, beloved brothers and sisters, on the blessed feast of the Nativity of Christ and the New Year, I call upon you the blessing of God and the generous mercies of the Blessed Child of Christ, born of the Ever-Virgin Mary!
By the Grace of God,
PAVEL, METROPOLITAN OF MANILA AND HANOI