This week we are thankful for the visit of Archbishop Sergey of Solnechnogorsk, administrator of the parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in East and South-East Asia. Moscow and ROCOR missionary clergy accompanied the archbishop to visit communities all around the mission in Mindanao.
On Saturday, June 23, at the St Matrona parish and mission center in Davao City, His Eminence celebrated the first Hierarchal Liturgy in the Philippines by a Russian bishop since the time of St John of Shanghai. There he ordained one of the mission’s lay leaders, Romanos Buniel, to the diaconate.
On Sunday, June 24, Archbishop Sergey served a Hierarchal Liturgy at Nativity of the Theotokos church in Arakan, Cotobato. He ordained the lay pastor at Arakan, Moses Cahilig, to the diaconate. In the afternoon, His Eminence and the party of visiting clergy visited the Orthodox chapel at Macalangot, blessing it with the patronage of Saint Seraphim of Sarov. The Macalangot chapel has also now traded its plastic tarpaulin roof for a metal one – growth by baby steps! That afternoon also the newly-built chapel at Salasang, which received Saints Peter and Paul as new patrons.
On Tuesday, June 26, Archbishop Sergey visited churches newly received into the Russian Orthodox Church from an old calendarist group: Holy Theophany Church at Talas, Sulop; Dormition Church at Banate, Malungon; and St Thomas Chruch at Kinabalan, Malungon. During this visit, the archbishop tonsured this group’s former pastor, Joachim Gonzales, as a Reader. God willing, we hope he may be canonically ordained to the priesthood. We have been thankful this week for the opportunity to recognize Filipino leaders and to begin preparing them, in time, for ordination!
On Wednesday, June 27, the archbishop served a Divine Liturgy at the Holy Resurrection parish and mission center in General Santos City, celebrating with the new deacon Father Moses. Afterward he visited St Nicholas Church at Kayupo and St John Maximovitch church in Kiamba, before flying to Manila to visit Russian Orthodox parishes in the capital region.