On July 23, with the financial support of the Russian Orthodox Church Synodal Department for Charity and Social Service, the parish of St Matrona in Davao city held another campaign to distribute food to two hundred of the poorest families of Barangay 9-a of Davao city. Each food set contained 5 kg of rice, canned food, and noodles. Before the action, the Secretary of the Philippines-Vietnam diocese, hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), spoke briefly about the history of the Orthodox Church, noting that the Filipino people once helped Russian refugees by accepting them on this land, and now the Russian Church is happy to help the Filipino people during the pandemic.
Davao city is under quarantine for the 5th month, many people do not have the opportunity to work all this time and, consequently, do not have the means to survive.
On July 21, the Church celebrates the feast of the Kazan icon of the Mother of God. One of the first parishes in Vietnam is the parish of the Kazan icon of the Mother of God in Vung Tau.
On July 20 and 21, festive services were held here. Usually, the summer holiday was not crowded, but this year our compatriots stayed in Vietnam and were able to participate in the patronal holiday.
On July 12, the day of the pre-eminent Apostles, the Orthodox parish in Salasang celebrated its patronal holiday. By the grace of God, the quarantine in Arakan province has been relaxed and the activities of religious organizations have been allowed. After a long break of more than three months, parishioners were able to participate in the divine Liturgy, which was served by hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), priest Moses Kahilig, deacon Ambrose Sumagaysay and deacon Nicholas Salgado.
Through the prayers of the Holy apostles, their feast, which coincided with Sunday, also became the feast of the Resurrection of the spiritual life of the temple.
The Orthodoxy in America proceeds from Russian missionaires who came in 18th century to Alaska (that time – Russian territory) and then down to California. Orthodox Church of America was granted independence from ROC exactly 50 years ago. But still, the other Orthodox Churches are well represented in USA, including ROC, ROCOR, Constantinople, Greek etc. The saint patron of the Philippines John of Shanghai and San Francisco whose memory will be soon on July, 2, belongs to the constellation of NA saints. With them, in this dramatic time let us pray to God for America.
In our parishes Divine services have been held
“I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail over it.”
Christianity is more than a teaching or a religion. Christianity is a Church that originated almost 2000 years ago in Jerusalem, when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles in the upper room of Zion, and they suddenly became spiritually one body with Christ, and received supernatural abilities. Just as there can be no living organ separate from the living body, so there can be no Christian outside the Orthodox Church founded by Christ and His life-Giving Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the most mysterious Person of the divine Trinity, and He governs the Church. He is the chief Author of the Bible (where He only mentions Himself a little, as a humble author should). He is the inspirer of the Holy fathers and martyrs who showed the highest theology long before the Ecumenical Councils, as we know from the Roman protocols of their interrogations. The Holy Spirit is the one who sanctifies the life of Christians and guides them to all truth. It animates every soul in general. The greater His presence is, the closer one is to God. The less it shows – the more a person is likened to animals or demons. Therefore, acquiring the grace of the Holy Spirit – deification – is the goal of every Christian’s life. And this is a hard work for the whole lifetime. It is not easy, because grace is collected bit by bit in prayers, Church Sacraments and feats of self-denial, but is lost in a moment by one consent to passion or a vain thought. Yet, not a single breath remains unnoticed: only he who is walking will overcome the way…
A special feature of the service on Pentecost is the kneeling prayers at the end of the service. In them, we express our infinite gratitude to the Holy Trinity for all that has been done for our salvation, which we have experienced again over the past months: the arrival of the Savior into the world, His preaching, suffering and death for us, His Resurrection, Ascension and apotheosis – the Descent of the Holy Spirit.
The quarantine in the Philippines did not allow churches to be filled, but in Vietnam, 33 people drew near the Holy Chalice at the parish of the Kazan icon of the Mother of God in Vung Tau. Exactly 3 years ago, on Pentecost, priest Eugene arrived in Vietnam to perform divine services for the first time.