During his archpastoral visit in July, Archbishop Sergey of Solnechnogorsk ordained two new deacons and tonsured a reader for the Philippine mission. Deacons Romanos Buniel and Moses Cahilig were formerly priests in the Philippine Independent (Aglipayan) Church; since their baptism a few years ago they have worked sacrificially and with little reward to teach and serve the growing church in Mindanao. Joachim Gonzales likewise laid aside his Aglipayan ordination to enter the Church as a layman ten years ago. He was later ordained priest by a schismatic bishop, and when his churches chose to unite with the Russian mission Joachim was received back into Communion as a layman; Archbishop Sergey was pleased to tonsure him a reader and begin his potential journey to canonical ordination.
Ordination, of course, is the joyful first step – now the new clergy must practice the Liturgy and learn how to serve. (And we priests must remember how to serve with a deacon!) So Fathers Moses and Romanos and Reader Joachim are serving forty days of Liturgies all over the mission. That is a blessing to the local communities who are getting to receive the sacraments more frequently than usual; if it also makes for an extremely busy month of August for the priests and deacons, that’s not a bad thing!
Here are photos from teh Divine Liturgy on August 2, the feast of the Prophet Elijah, at the mission in Meocan, Cotobato. A generous benefactor has donated materials to rebuild the ageing walls of this chapel and erect an iconostas, and as you can see the work is only half-done. But that’s no hindrance to the prayers of the faithful.
Hieromonk Cornily, Priest Silouan, and Deacon Romanos
Reader Joachim and Deacon Moses