During the month of April, with the blessing of Archbishop Sergey of Solnechnogorsk, administrator of the East Asia mission of the Moscow Patriarchate, about 125 people were received into canonical Orthodoxy in four communities in Davao del Sur and Malungon.
Church of St Thomas, at Kinabalan, Malungon, Sarangani
Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos here in Santa Maria, only a few kilometers away from St John’s.
Holy Theophany Church at Talas, Sulop, Davao del Sur
Not pictured: Dormition Chapel, at Banate, Malungon, Sarangani.
For the past year Father Silouan Thompson has been in dialogue with leaders and members of four communities under an “Old Calendarist” bishop, inviting them to enter into the Communion of the Orthodox Church of Russia. Since last October, he has been visiting, teaching, and building connections between these communities and the parish of St John of Shanghai.
Beginning on Bright Sunday, Fr Silouan began serving in all four of these churches and received all their members into the Russian Orthodox Church.
In recent months Archbishop Sergey has assigned two priests to Mindanao: Fr Stanislav Rasputin and Hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), and has established a parish and mission center in Davao, the region’s major city. In addition to Fathers Philip (Balingit) and Alexei (Lapshin) in Manila, we are thankful that there are now three priests assigned to serve here in Mindanao.
In practical terms this means we are at last free to provide more in-depth pastoral care, with one priest stationed in Davao, one in the southernmost city of General Santos — and Fr Silouan here in Davao del Sur to concentrate on these four neighboring communities, together with the parish of St John.
The pastor responsible for building these thriving communities has stepped down from his role as priest until Archbishop Sergey determines if or when canonical ordination may take place for him. In the mean time he continues to serve as a teacher and lay pastor, and studies together with the seminarians at the mission center in Davao.