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.”