The sea is several miles away – too far for many to walk – and streams here are small things. So for today’s baptisms we rented the pool at the Splash Blue Inland Resort. Seven people were baptized.

Afterward, the children enjoyed the pool. Many families cannot easily afford the 35 peso per person entry fee (about 80 cents) so it was a special holiday for them.

We served Great Vespers in the chapel, about half in Cebuano. I wish we had another week here – we could put all the unchanging parts of the service into Cebuano. (Without the whole Octoechos in their language, they’re going to have to make Reader Compline their usual evening service. That doesn’t change much from day to day.)

After Vespers, Fr Seraphim heard confessions – the first time most of these Orthodox had experienced confession. While he was doing that, I sat and talked with some community members. After a little while I noticed that I had an audience – all the little children had gathered round me to just stare and smile at me. When we were ready to come down the hill from the village, the kids followed us in a happy laughing procession. The Pied Piper of Katehan? Adults told us people are amazed that we walk instead of expecting a car, we smile and greet people, we don’t demand money, and we don’t complain. I thought that was just common decency, but that’s as may be. The local Catholic and Independent clergy seem to have made themselves an unfortunate reputation for selling sacraments, demanding money, and treating the people poorly. Folks here are not used to clergy just wanting to bless and serve them.

Father Silouan

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