Greetings from the Philippines!
This newsletter has been delayed for a very long time as I waited for some wonderful but confidential news to be ready for public announcement. Now, with thanks to God, here we go!
In June last year, I returned from a fundraising trip to the US and Canada. The monthly budget had suffered some very normal attrition, so it was necessary to visit parishes and benefactors who partner with us. By God’s mercy, the monthly budget is now fully funded, and since my return to the Philippines I have been able to travel to all our mission communities. Glory to God! And many thanks to all our mission partners.
On my return to the Philippines, I met with Archbishop Sergey of Solnechnogorsk, the administrator of the Moscow Patriachate’s missions in East Asia. Our work is now officially integrated into the Russian Orthodox Church’s missionary work and ecclesiastical oversight, together with missions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and more. One happy result of our meeting was the wholehearted blessing of Archbishop Sergey for me and Fr Philip (Balingit), ROCOR priests, to cooperate fully in the work of the Moscow mission. With the blessing of our own Metropolitan Hilarion, we now work as a single Russian Orthodox mission, providing pastoral care to all the growing communities here.
Hieromonk Cornily (Molev)
At that meeting, Abp Sergey announced that he would be sending a priest to serve here in Mindanao, where since 2014 I had been the only Russian Orthodox priest. We all welcomed this good news — but ecclesiastical affairs move slowly, so the appointment of a priest was delayed until early this year. We didn’t want to say anything openly until the bishops had found the right priest to send.
But now the Orthodox in Mindanao are delighted to welcome two missionary priests: Fr Stanislav Rasputin and his family, and Hieromonk Cornily (Molev), both of whom are familiar with the Philippines from past service here. So as of this month, besides myself, the clergy of the Russian Orthodox mission in the Philippines includes:
- Hieromonks Philip (Balingit) and Alexey (Lapshin) at the parish of the Iveron Mother of God in Manila
- Priest Stanislav Rasputin and his family at the mission center in General Santos City
- Hieromonk Cornily (Molev), together with monk Makarios and Nun Sergiya, teaching seminarians and building the Saint Matrona parish community and mission center in Davao City.
Saint Matrona in Davao is only one of a number of new churches in the last year. In Tagaytay City, outside Manila, is the Church of Christ the Savior. Here in the south, the St John Maximovitch community at Kiamba, Sarangani has planted a daughter parish of St Nicholas.
Meanwhile, over the past year I have been meeting with members and leaders of four parishes of an Old Calendarist group: Now, by God’s mercy the churches of St Thomas, Dormition, Theophany, and Nativity of the Theotokos have now been received into canonical Orthodoxy and they gratefully join the Russian mission. One of these communities is right here in Santa Maria only minutes away from St John’s, and members of both parishes are delighted to finally be able to commune at one altar.
New chapels completed
Through the sacrificial giving of generous donors, new churches have been completed recently:
|St Nicholas, Kayupo, Kiamba||Santa Elena, Little Baguio, Arakan||St Vincent of Lerins, Salasang, Arakan: Read more…|
|And since last newsletter, the building project here at St John of Shanghai was completed: Read more…|
Crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe are great, but they take surprisingly large fees. So we have been sharing giving opportunities and project progress on a new Projects web page on the mission website. Benefactors have given generously and results are beginning to show. May God reward all who have funded projects here! Bookmark this page to see progress reports and future project opportunities!
When not traveling to serve mission communities, most of my time outside of parish duties is spent on translation work. My Cebuano language skills have reached the point where I can turn out pretty reliably understandable texts. With the help of fluent native speakers, these texts can be edited into a form that is both accurate and beautiful. Recently completed services include: Moleben, funeral, wedding, baptism; a nearly complete Horologion (Vespers, Hours, Compline, etc.); and enough of the Sunday Octoechos to allow us to serve Vespers every Saturday evening. Weekly Divine Liturgy/Typika texts are posted online for Cebuano-speaking parishes.
Mark your calendar!
With the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion, I will be visiting the US briefly at the end of June. I hope to meet as many of you as possible at:
- Saturday, June 23: St John of Shanghai, Kennewick, WA
- Sunday, June 24: St Silouan, Walla Walla, WA
- Saturday, July 1: St John the Wonderworker, Eugene, OR
Enormous thanks to generous benefactors who have funded airfare for this visit!
Follow the Philippine mission online
You can stay up to date on all the mission news in the Philippines at philippine-mission.org.
Filipinos use Facebook on mobile phones more than websites on computers, so here is a fairly complete list of our pages:
- Our parish of St John of Shanghai, in Santa Maria
- The new Davao City mission center
- The Manila parish
- Christ the Savior mission in Tagaytay
- The mission center in General Santos City
- Russian-language page for the Philippine mission
Partner with us to serve the faithful in the Philippines
The Orthodox mission in the Philippines is grateful to be blessed with a few major benefactors giving $25, $50, or more per month. But the majority of our partners have made a commitment to send the cost of a Starbucks coffee or two each month, about $5–$10, either by check or through an automatically recurring online gift. Could your family or parish commit to partner with us for the coming year? You make the Philippine mission possible.
We thank God above all for your prayers and intercessions for the infant Church in the Philippines. With your help and the grace of God, through liturgical services, teaching, mentoring, and practical benevolence, we hope to continue building leaders and laying a deep foundation of faith here.
Priest Silouan Thompson