Metropolitan Pavel celebrated All-night vigil and Divine Liturgy in Jerusalem

On March 25, 2023, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, who leads a group of pilgrims to the Holy Land, headed the All-night Vigil, and on March 26 – the Divine Liturgy in the church of the Martyr Queen Alexandra, located on the territory of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. His Eminence was co-served by the head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, Archimandrite Alexander (Elisov) and the clergy of the mission.

Metropolitan Pavel visited Gornensky Convent

On March 23, 2023, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi with a pilgrimage group visited the Gornensky Convent in the Holy Land. In the Convent, Bishop Pavel met with Abbess Ekaterina (Chernysheva) and performed a requiem mass at the grave of the former abbess Abbess Georgia (Shchukina). Abbess Georgiya (Shchukina) – honorary abbess of the Gornensky Convent in Jerusalem – passed away to the Lord on February 6, 2022, at the age of 91, after a long illness.

Metropolitan Pavel visited Samaria

On March 23, 2023, a pilgrimage group led by Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi made a trip to Samaria. The pilgrims visited Shechem (Nablus), the Greek monastery of St. Photinia (Jacob’s Well), the Samaritan Museum, where the Pentateuch of Moses is located, the ruins of Herod’s palace, where St. John the Baptist was executed, as well as the Beheading Church and Mount Garizim.

Metropolitan Pavel visited Gethsemane

On March 22, 2023, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi with a delegation of pilgrims to the Holy Land visited the holy places of Gethsemane. The pilgrims visited the monastery of St. Chariton the Confessor (Faran Lavra), visited the Russian Monastery on the Mount of Olives, the Little Galilee, the Chapel of the Ascension of the Lord on the Mount of Olives, beheld the panorama of Jerusalem. In Gethsemane, the delegation headed by Vladyka Pavel visited the Tomb of the Mother of God, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Russian Gethsemane Monastery of St. Mary Magdalene, and the Mountain Monastery.

Metropolitan Pavel worshipped the Sanctuaries of Jerusalem

These days, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi heads a delegation making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Russian Russian Orthodox Mission in Jerusalem, founded in 1847 to create a permanent representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Holy Land, was visited by Metropolitan Pavel and pilgrims on March 21, 2023. The pilgrims also visited the holy places of Jerusalem: they walked the Way of the Cross, made by Christ and including the Pretoria (the prison of Jesus Christ), the Alexander Courtyard, the threshold of the Gates of Judgment and the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, visited the place of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos and the Sheep Font (Bethesda), Zion (the chamber of the Last Supper), the house of Caiaphas as well as the monastery of John the Baptist.

Patriarch of Jerusalem met with metropolitan Pavel

On March 21, 2023, at the Patriarchal Residence in Jerusalem, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III of Jerusalem received Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi. Metropolitan Pavel heads a delegation making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land these days. During the conversation, Metropolitan Pavel told the Primate of the Jerusalem Church about the life of the Khanty–Mansi Metropolia as well as the Philippine –Vietnamese diocese entrusted to his care, highlighting issues related to church building, social projects implemented by the dioceses. The Primate of the Jerusalem Church drew the guests’ attention to the situation of Christians in the Middle East, Israel and Palestine. At the end of the meeting, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus and Metropolitan Pavel exchanged memorable gifts.

Our daily rice

In the town of Kinabalan, on the Philippine island of Mindanao, an Orthodox church is being built in honor of the Apostle Thomas. Hieromonk Korniliy, secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese, told us about the construction of the temple and about Orthodoxy on the island. He has been helping the locals to get closer to the Lord for the fifth year.

In 2020, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, the administrator of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese (and Metropolitan of Khanty-Mansi and Surgut) blessed the cross and the foundation stone at the construction site of the temple in Kinabalan. But because of the pandemic, it was only in 2021 that the site was prepared and the piles were hammered.For Russian scale, the temple is small. Its area is only 220 square meters. But for the island of Mindanao, and even more so for the settlement of Kinabalan, this is a palace. The houses here are made of bamboo, and the temple that used to stand on this place also looked more like a hut made of stone and bamboo with an earthen floor.– The Philippines is a very poor country, many people are starving here, and they don’t have money for building materials. They are happy to work on the construction of the temple, but the engineering solution, of course, is ours,” says Hieromonk Korniliy. – That’s why we announced a raising of donations for its construction in Russia, and many Yugra residents responded. Thanks to the funds collected this year, the foundation of the temple was completed and the erection of columns began.The island country is constantly experiencing earthquakes and typhoons. The project of the temple was developed by the architectural department of the Khanty-Mansi Metropolia specifically for the Philippines. The stone church must withstand an earthquake with a magnitude of 9 points.There are frequent and prolonged rains in Mindanao. Protection from rain sometimes becomes a real problem. If there is a metal roof in the church, then the rain is drumming on it so hard that nothing can be heard during the service.The new temple will have one dome with a tent. It will be made on the spot from a special dome metal, which will be brought from Russia. Another feature of Filipino Orthodox churches is the absence of a bell tower.”There is no bell ringing culture here,” the priest explains. – Filipinos do not know how to cast bells or ring. It is problematic to deliver a bell from Russia, and you can’t hang it on a bamboo structure. Instead of a bell, a cut-off gas cylinder is used here, which is beaten with a hammer when people are called to service. Now there are about 200 people in the community. Priest Joakim Gonzalez will serve in the new church in honor of the Apostle Thomas, and when Filipino seminarians return with diplomas from the St. Petersburg Academy, then, God willing, there will be a permanent priest in the church.

Father Joakim

Father Joakim has a very interesting story. He was an Aglipai priest, there were five parishes under him. The Aglipayans are followers of Gregorio Aglipay, who separated from the Roman Catholic Church and founded an “Independent Filipino church” about 120 years ago, as a result of the war for independence from Spain. Now this church, covering about two million people, has been divided into almost one hundred “more” independent “churches”.
– Priest Joakim began to search for the truth with his parishioners a long time ago and found him in Orthodoxy, abandoning his Aglipai priesthood. But, unfortunately, instead of a real Orthodox church, he, without knowing it, first got to the schismatics. And only after a few years, having figured it out, he turned to the Russian Orthodox Church. And for the second time he lost his schismatic “priesthood” for the sake of staying in the true church. So he was accepted as an ordinary layman with all his five parishes, and after a long training he was ordained to the rank of a real Orthodox priest,” explains Hieromonk Korniliy.
He emphasizes that 9 years ago, Filipinos themselves appealed to the Russian Orthodox Church with a request for their admission to the ROC. There were 2 bishops, 10 priests and 28 parishes located on the island of Mindanao uniting several thousand people. They were baptized right in the ocean. According to Father Korniliy, even now the Kinabalans are undergoing the rite of baptism in groups in the river or ocean.
In general, among the Filipinos there are also pagans, Muslims, Catholics and various sectarians

Our daily bread

The history of Christianity in the Philippines began in the XVI century, when the Spaniards reached the coast of the country. Catholic Christianization of the population was carried out by various monastic orders.
– Services are held in the local language of Cebuano. Catholics even under Magellan translated the Bible into Cebuano, and nothing more. During several years of our mission, we have translated a lot of literature on worship and catechesis. But there are still problems. We have been watching the services since childhood. And local priests do not have such experience, and it is necessary to explain to them, and it is better to show them how and what is done during the service, but there are so few of us here,” Father Korniliy complains.
The hieromonk told about the case of the translation of the prayer “Our Father” in Cebuano:
– Our daily bread is our main food, food in principle, the sustenance necessary for life. For Filipinos, bread (tinapai) is an optional sweet snack to drink with coffee. Their main food is rice. The words “rice” – “pagkaon”, and “food” – “pagka-on” are almost similar. So we did not translate “give us an optional snack for this day”, we translated “pagka-on”

Russians and miracles

Filipinos do not know how to light a candle or how to worship an icon, and representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church teach them. They also teach how to bake cakes and paint eggs for Easter. Local Orthodox People like this tradition very much, as well as body crosses. They also believe in miracles.Since 1949, when 6 thousand Russian “white emigrants” who fled from China landed on the deserted shore of Tubabao Island, Filipinos have been watching how the Lord helps the Orthodox.The refugees came to Tubabao with St. John of Shanghai. They thought they would stay here for a few months, but they lived for three years. They lived in a tent camp. The refugees opened two schools and 3 Orthodox churches. During this time, not a single typhoon hit them – it’s a miracle. After all, several typhoons come from the ocean every year. Filipinos say that typhoons were calmed through the prayers of St. John.– In general, in the Philippines, God’s help is felt all the time. In 2022, we quite miraculously acquired land on the site where the Russian refugees with St John of Shanghai lived. Half of the land was donated to us by a Catholic grandmother, half was sold at a big discount with the help of the mayor’s office, which also treated us well. And the sponsor was found unexpectedly. We bought even more than we had planned. Every step of this process was a miracle through the prayers of the wonderworker John,” Hieromonk Korniliy affirms.By the way, it is God’s will that it was Metropolitan Pavel of Khanty-Mansiysk and Surgut who became the administrator of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese. He had served in San Francisco, just where the relics of St. John of Shanghai rest.

Metropolitan Pavel met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines

On February 20, 2023, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, Jesus Domingo. During the conversation, the Administrator of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese discussed the situation and development of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Philippines. The meeting was attended by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of the Philippines M. I. Pavlov

Metropolitan Pavel met with Apostolic nuncio to the Philippines

On February 20, 2023, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi met with the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Charles John Brown. The parties shared the peculiarities of Christian service in the region, and also discussed the issue of providing land at the cemetery in Guiuan to perpetuate the memory of our compatriots buried there. The meeting was attended by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of the Philippines M. I. Pavlov.

Reference. In 1949-1951 on Tubabao island, a temporary shelter was found for about 6 thousand former Russian citizens who arrived from Shanghai, where they emigrated after the Civil War in the 1920s. Some of them did not live to receive the right to emigrate to developed countries, having died on Philippine land. They were buried in the cemetery of Guiuan.