On February 18, 2023, on the Ecumenical Saturday of the departed, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the church in honor of the Nativity of Christ in Tagaytay, Philippines. His Eminence was co-served by: Secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese Diocese, Hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), rector of the temple of the Nativity of Christ in Tagaytay, Priest David Grubbs, dean of the Manila Deanery, Hieromonk Alexei (Lapshin), Rector of the Holy Cross Church in Siniloan Archimandrite Philemon (Castro), Secretary of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Abbot Anthony (Kirpichev), dean of the Surgut deanery of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Archpriest Anthony Isakov, dean of the Nizhnevartovsk deanery of the Khanty-Mansi Diocese Archpriest Sergiy Shevchenko, Priest Oleg Gordeev. The deacon’s rank was headed by Hierodeacon Nicodemus (Pirkhovsky). The service was attended by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of the Philippines M.I. Pavlov and his wife. By decree of Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, for his diligent service to the Holy Church, the rector of the church in honor of the Nativity of Christ in Tagaytay, Priest David Grubbs was awarded the right to wear a loincloth, a camisole and a pectoral cross. During the Liturgy, Metropolitan Pavel ordained deacon Augustine Ponferrada, a cleric of the Church of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God in Manila, to the priesthood.
At the end of the service, Vladyka addressed the audience: “Dear fathers, brothers and sisters! Your Excellency, our dear Ambassador, Marat Ignatievich! Let me thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the common prayers. There is no greater glory than to glorify your Heavenly Creator together, the Holy Scripture says. The Lord has gathered us all here so that we can thank our Creator for the immeasurable boon to each of us, for everything that each of us has and even for the simplest — the ability to move, isn’t this the grace of God? We haven’t seen you for 3 years — there was a pandemic period when restrictions prevented us from meeting and glorifying the Lord together. But prayer knows no distance, and we prayed for each other. I prayed for all of you, for all the clergy with the whole flock, you prayed for your archpastor, and the Lord heard our prayers and brought us all together today. I would like to congratulate Father Agustin on taking holy orders, it is also a part of our life, our diocese, that there is one more clergyman here in the Manila Deanery. As a sign of our meeting, I would like to present to your church a three-candlestick for Easter and surplices for the brethren, who will grow up and prepare for further spiritual education. I would like to especially thank Father David for his service, for the work he has been doing in Tagaytay for many, many years. May God grant you health, so that you may live and serve here for a long time. Thank you for your efforts. I am also glad to see Father Philemon, who is in our church today. I hope that our diocese will grow stronger, strengthen and multiply. There are a lot of questions and problems, but I think that with God’s help we will slowly solve them. There is no temple in Manila today, it was destroyed earlier, and now the task is to acquire land and build a temple and our representative offices, not only here, but also in Davao and General Santos, and in other places. So there is a lot of work, and I invite everyone to work hard on this issue. Once again, I thank everyone for the common prayers, for the meeting!”