Meeting of the clergy of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese

On February 12, 2023, a diocesan meeting of the clergy of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese was held in the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos of the municipality of Arakan. Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi made a report summarizing the work of the diocese over the past 3 years, complicated by the pandemic period.

To date, there are 34 parishes in the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese. The number of clergy of the diocese is steadily growing. During his current visit to the diocese, Vladyka performed 6 ordinations of the clergy, and it is also planned to perform 2 more. Metropolitan Pavel expressed his desire that Filipino priests could visit Russia, visit churches and monasteries, and, if possible, meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. His Eminence also recalled his intention to erect a temple in the Philippines capable of accommodating a large number of parishioners. “We met with the Mayor of Davao City about the allocation of land,” Metropolitan Pavel noted, “and of course, we would like to build not only a temple, but also a theological school that would train clergymen here in the Philippines. A meeting is also planned with the Mayor of Manila, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Philippines on the construction of our large Orthodox center in Manila. Let’s hope that the Church in the Philippines will grow architecturally, but more importantly, the Church is primarily people, and we need to grow internally,” Metropolitan Pavel stressed. Let’s hope that we will see each other more often, since my visit as part of a large delegation to Vietnam is planned in June 2023, and if it takes place, I will come to the Philippines as well.”

At the meeting it was decided to separate the North Kotobato deanery from the Davao deanery, as well as to include the Davao del Sur deanery in the Davao deanery and establish a parish in honor of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Dipolog. Vladyka blessed the creation of a new parish in honor of St. George the Victorious in the settlement of Balilai. The parishioners of the settlement are ready to donate a lot of land for the construction of the temple. Decisions have also been made on the formation of the diocesan Department for Prison Service and the Youth Department. Vladyka Pavel also spoke about the specifics of the documentary work in the diocese, the appearance of the clergyman and other topical things

ON SUNDAY OF THE PRODIGAL SON, METROPOLITAN PAVEL CELEBRATED THE DIVINE LITURGY AT THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY OF THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS IN ARAKAN

On February 12, 2023, on Sunday of the Prodigal Son, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the church in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in Arakan, Cotabato Province, Mindanao Island. His Eminence was co-served by: Secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese Hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), Secretary of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Abbot Anthony (Kirpichev), Dean of the Surgut City Deanery of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Archpriest Anthony Isakov, Dean of the Nizhnevartovsk city deanery of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Archpriest Sergiy Shevchenko, Priest Oleg Gordeev, clergy of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese. The deaconess rank was headed by Hierodeacon Nikodim (Pirkhovskiy).

By decree of Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, for diligent service to the Holy Church, the rector of the church in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos of the municipality of Arakan, Priest Moses Kahilig was awarded the right to wear a loincloth.

During the Liturgy, Metropolitan Pavel ordained Deacon Matthew Sale, a cleric of the church in honor of St. John of Shanghai in Kiamba into rank of Priest and the reader Raphael Fragillo into rank of Deacon.

At the end of the service, Metropolitan Pavel addressed the audience: “Dear fathers, brothers and sisters! I am very glad to have a meeting with you today at the Divine Liturgy! This is a special service when we all glorify our Heavenly Creator together. It is said in the Holy Scriptures that there is no greater glory than to glorify God together. This service is special because we haven’t seen you for a long time. Despite this, we prayed for each other, being far from each other, because prayer has no borders and continents. The Lord is over us all, no matter where we are — in Russia or in the Philippines, we pray to Him, and He sends us His divine grace. I know that you have been praying for me, I have always prayed and pray for all my pastors who are here together with the flock, I try to remember everyone so that the Lord will not leave us and be merciful to us. Today, during liturgy we performed two ordinations. I thank the Lord that He has given us the opportunity and strength to multiply our pastors. The more churches there are, the more often the divine liturgy will be celebrated, under the grace of which every person who takes part in this important service is. Why does the Lord say in the commandment: “Do your own work six days, and dedicate the seventh to the Lord your God”? Because the Lord created the world during six days, and He Himself rested on the seventh day. Subsequently, the day of the Lord for believers became the day that He sanctified with His Resurrection. Therefore, Sunday is a holy, special day for every Christian who glorifies his Lord. The Lord gave us the way to eternal life and gave us all the saving means so that each of us would have eternal life not only on Earth, but also after earthly existence. Let us glorify our Heavenly Creator, thank Him for His great mercy and for the good deed He did to save the human race. We will try to spend every Sunday with God in the house of God for the Divine Liturgy. This is the most important thing that we unite with God in the sacrament of confession and communion. We strengthen our physical and spiritual strength by accepting the Holy Gifts and connecting with the Lord. Help us, Lord, in this way of salvation! The whole life of a Christian is like this: the struggle with the enemy of the human race, and of course, it is very important not to stray from the right path, from the true path of God! God bless everyone”

Metropolitan Pavel performed the monastic tonsure of nun Maria Buniel

On February 7, 2023, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi performed the monastic tonsure of the nun Maria Buniel, with name Olga, in honor of the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga. The monastic tonsure took place in the church in honor of St. Matrona of Moscow in Davao. After the Sacrament, Metropolitan Pavel said to the nun Olga: “We were praying now that the Lord would accept your labors, your prayers, your soul’s aspiration for the Lord, and I know that you are doing everything and will do it, and God willing, you will still work in the field of Christ, saving yourself and teaching the way of salvation to those around you. In prayer, when taking the tonsure, it is said about the light of Christ, so that those who have dedicated their lives to Christ shine like lamps, illuminating everything around them. I wish you physical and spiritual health, strength, so that the Lord and your heavenly patroness will keep you, helping you on the path of life. I see it as a craft. Just as Princess Olga brought holy Orthodoxy to Russia, so you, Mother, taking vows, the feat of the first our nun in the Philippines, will bring Orthodoxy to everyone you meet on the path of life. And you are already fulfilling this obedience. May the Lord help you. Through the prayers of your heavenly patroness, the equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga, may the Lord strengthen you so that all problems with your health will pass by, so that the Lord will heal you for many years of service to Him.”

***Richel (Maria) Buniel, was born on October 14, 1977 in Kidapawan, Philippines. Since childhood, she dreamed of dedicating her life to God. Richel grew up in a family far from religion, but she attended services in a Protestant church. Richel Buniel received the Orthodox sacrament of baptism in 2015 with the name Catherine. With the blessing of the Patriarchal Exarch of Southeast Asia, Metropolitan Sergius of Singapore and Southeast Asia, she underwent obedience at St. Nicholas Convent in Ukraine, where she took monastic vows with the name Maria, in honor of St. Mary of Radonezh.

Ambassador of Russia to the Philippines and Metropolitan Pavel met with the Mayor of Davao

On February 7, 2023, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of the Philippines Marat Pavlov and Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi met with the Mayor of Davao Sebastian Duterte. Before the meeting, a presentation of Davao City’s investment proposals was held. During the meeting, which took place in a friendly atmosphere, the interlocutors discussed a wide range of issues related to the development of Russian-Filipino humanitarian contacts. One of the issues related to the project of expanding and strengthening the mission of the Russian Orthodox Church in Davao city concerned the allocation of land for the needs of the mission. The meeting was also attended by: Nikolay Ovsyannikov, Economic Adviser to the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Philippines, Hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), Secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese, Abbot Anthony (Kirpichev), Secretary of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese, Priest Anthony Dolgushin, Chairman of the Department for Church Relations with Society and the Media of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese. At the end of the meeting, Metropolitan Pavel presented the Mayor of Davao with an icon of the Mother of God “Iverskaya” and a newly published Orthodox prayer book in Cebuano language.

Archbishop Liturgy on Sunday of Publican and Pharisee in Davao

On February 5, 2023, the Sunday of Publican and Pharisee and of Synaxis of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the church in honor of St. Matrona of Moscow in Davao. His Eminence was co-served by: Secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese Hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), Secretary of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Abbot Anthony (Kirpichev), dean of the Surgut City Deanery of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Archpriest Anthony Isakov, cleric of the church of St. Isidore of Rostov in Alabel Priest Alexy Bergado. The deacon rank was headed by Hierodeacon Nicodemus (Pirkhovsky). During the Liturgy, Metropolitan Pavel ordained Deacon John Mahinay, a cleric of the church of

St. John of Shanghai in Santa Maria, in the rank of Priest, and Anthony Aranco in the rank of Deacon. He also performed the consecration of a reader Elijah Aleria. At the end of the Service, Metropolitan Pavel addressed the audience:

“Dear fathers, brothers and sisters! Let me congratulate you on the feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! This is the most important day – the Resurrection of Christ. Our Lord accomplished a saving mission by coming to Earth, He lived with a man, showed a saving path, suffered for us and by His Resurrection gave each of us the opportunity to live forever. And we must always remember the saving mission of our Lord Jesus Christ. We treat Sunday in a special way — as the little Easter, the great event that happened to Christ for the salvation of the human race. St. Seraphim of Sarov, our saint, greeted all those who came to him for spiritual consolation with the words: “My joy, Christ is Risen!” He lived by the Resurrection of Christ all his life. And he is for us an example of the attitude to the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This Sunday we celebrated the Divine Liturgy, performed 2 ordinations – diaconal and priestly. I congratulate Father John and Deacon Anthony on taking holy orders. I hope that they will faithfully serve God, truly, giving all their strength so that the Lord will not leave them and the flock they will lead by His mercy. I congratulate all our parishioners, the entire flock of the Philippine Diocese on the increase of the clergy and hope that the flock will increase. On this special day, I would like to thank the secretary, Hieromonk Cornelius, for the missionary labors he carries here, helping me to manage the parishes and I give him the cross so that the Lord comforts him and helps him carry out his ministry.”

After the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Pavel, met with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of the Philippines M.I. Pavlov.

On the eve of the Sunday of Publican and Pharisee, Metropolitan Pavel prayed at the all-night vigil at the church in honour of St. Matrona of Moscow in Davao

On February 4, 2023, on the eve of the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee, of the Synaxis of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi prayed at the all-night vigil in the church in honor of St. Matrona of Moscow in Davao. The divine service was performed by a cleric of the church of St. Isidore of Rostov in Alabel, Priest Alexy Bergado, the deacon rank was headed by a cleric of the church of St. John of Shanghai in Santa Maria Deacon John Mahinay. At the end of the all-night vigil, Metropolitan Pavel performed the consecrations of readers Anthony Aranco, Raphael Fraggillo and Juventinus Bulaquenya.

Metropolitan Pavel celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Davao

On February 4, 2023, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi , the administrator of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the church in honor of St. Matrona of Moscow in Davao. His Eminence was co-served by: Secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese, Hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), Dean of the Nizhnevartovsk Deanery of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese, Archpriest Sergiy Shevchenko, Priest Oleg Gordeev, Priest Joachim Gonzalez. The diaconal rank was headed by Hierodeacon Nikodim (Pirkhovsky). During the Liturgy, Metropolitan Pavel ordained Deacon Alexy Bergado, a cleric of the Church of St. Isidore of Rostov in Alabel, to the priesthood, and reader Agustin Ponferrada was ordained a deacon. At the end of the Service, Metropolitan Pavel addressed the audience: “Dear fathers, brothers and sisters, allow me to congratulate you on the holiday and thank you for the common prayer that we have made today. We have celebrated the Divine Liturgy and 2 ordinations – diaconal and priestly. Our church is being multiplied with the clergy and parishioners, and thus right hand of God leads us to salvation. There is no greater glory than to glorify our Heavenly Creator together. I pray to God that He will bless this land with His Divine blessing and send down the Holy Spirit on those who take holy orders today. It is impossible to love God without loving the flock, it is impossible to serve God without serving one’s neighbor. And today, congratulating and admonishing Deacon Agustin, Priest Alexy, I want to say: to serve God means to serve people. To love God means to love your neighbor. God grant that our parishes, and there are already 30 of them, develop, and it is desirable that each parish has its own priest. Most recently, the birth of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese took place, parishes and flocks are being multiplied, priests are being ordained and trained. I pray to the All-merciful God that He will accomplish His work of salvation, for He desires salvation for all, as it is said in the Holy Scriptures. The Lord calls us, all Orthodox Christians, and says: “You are the Light of the world and the salt of the Earth.” We will bring this Light to those around us, for St. Seraphim of Sarov said: “Acquire the spirit of peace and thousands around you will be saved.” I invoke God’s blessing on everyone: help us, Lord!”

The visit of Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi to the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese has begun

On February 3, 2023, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, arrived in Davao City of the Mindanao Island of the Republic of the Philippines. At the Francisco Bangoy Airport in Davao City, Metropolitan Pavel and representatives of the delegation of the Khanty-Mansiysk diocese were met by the Secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese, Hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), representatives of the Orthodox mission in the Philippines. Metropolitan Pavel is accompanied on his trip by: Secretary of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Abbot Anthony (Kirpichev), Dean of the Surgut City Deanery of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Archpriest Anthony Isakov, Dean of the Nizhnevartovsk city deanery of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Archpriest Sergiy Shevchenko, Priest Oleg Gordeev, Chairman of the Department for Church Relations with Society and the Media Priest Anthony Dolgushin, Hierodeacon Nikodim (Pirkhovsky), President of the Literary Foundation “The Way of Life” Dmitry Mizgulin.

As part of the archpastoral visit to the Republic of the Philippines, visits to parishes in different provinces of the republic 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. Metropolitan Pavel will also visit Tubabao Island (Philippines) where the foundation stone was consecrated at the construction site of the church of St. John, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco. There will also be working meetings of the administrator of the Philippine —Vietnamese diocese with representatives of the state authorities of the cities of the Republic, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of the Philippines M. I. Pavlov and employees of the diplomatic corps of the Russian Federation, representatives of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church.

Session of the Synod of the Exarchate

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.

METROPOLITAN PAVEL CONCELEBRATED WITH THE PATRIARCHAL EXARCH OF SOUTHEAST ASIA, METROPOLITAN SERGIY, AT THE LITURGY AT THE CHURCH OF THE LIFE-GIVING TRINITY IN OSTANKINO, MOSCOW

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.”