Original in Russian at UgraEparhia.ru
On August 27, 2021, at the Dimitrievsky Monastery in Khanty-Mansiysk, Metropolitan Pavel of Khanty-Mansi and Surgut tonsured a seminarian from the Philippines Leo Gondayao with the name John, in honor of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco.
The monastic tonsure took place in the church of the monastery, in honor of St. Demetrius, Metropolitan of Rostov. The abbot of the monastery, Abbot Anthony (Kirpichev), with the brethren of the monastery and students of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy from the Philippines were present in the church .
Before the beginning of the tonsure, Metropolitan Pavel addressed the people:
Dear fathers, brothers and sisters! Today, on this festive evening, we have gathered in order to perform the monastic tonsure of our brother Leo, who represents the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese and will be a cleric there. And as the governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk Metropolitanate and the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese, today I am to perform this tonsure.
Monasticism is a renunciation of worldly service, and service only to the Lord God. It would seem that a person renounces the world and takes vows, devoting his life to the Lord God. But we know perfectly well that it is impossible to serve God without serving your neighbor.
Yes, the white clergy serve God with a small church, a family, and of course, they should pay attention to their wife and children, taking care of them as if they were a small church.
A monastic devotes himself to serving the Lord God, but through people. And today you and I will raise fervent prayers to our Savior, so that the Lord would accept this monastic tonsure into his arms, fill with the power of the Holy Spirit, and help, not leave in the ministry, for a good deed is chosen, but it needs to be backed up by efforts, labors, and of course, it is impossible without the help of God.
Let us ask the all-merciful Lady, Queen of Heaven, whose holy Dormition we celebrate today, that as she promised, in her Dormition she will not leave this world; and I anticipate that she will not leave you.
Leonil (Leo) Gondayao was born on May 30, 1996 in Manila, Philippines. He grew up in a Roman Catholic family, often attended morning mass in the school church, and over time he memorized the words of the service. Leonil (Leo) Gondayo was baptized in Tagaytay, Philippines, by Hieromonk Philip on August 19, the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Today Leo is a student of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy.
On Sunday, August 29, Metropolitan Pavel of Khanty-Mansi and Surgut during the Divine Liturgy in the Resurrection Cathedral of Khanty-Mansiysk ordained monk John (Gondayao) to the rank of hierodeacon.
At the end of the service, Metropolitan Pavel said:
Dear fathers, brothers and sisters! Let me congratulate you on the feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! These days we celebrate the Dormition of the Mother of God. On this holiday each of us believes that the Mother of God is close to us. “In giving birth, thou hast kept thy virginity; in falling asleep thou hast not forsaken the world!” Praising the Queen of Heaven, I would like to say how important it is to be a child of the Mother of God. To be one, you need to communicate with her, and the communication is prayer. She promised not to forsake this world, especially those who rely on her intercession. Every day we pray that she will deliver us from enemies visible and invisible, from deadly wound and illness, so that she will stay with us in this difficult time. Holy Mother of God, save us and do not leave us!
I ask you, my dear ones, for prayers that the Lord will strengthen our student from the Philippines. Today you witnessed his diaconal ordination. On August 27, he took monastic vows with the name John in honor of Saint John of Shanghai. This saint, after leaving China, found refuge in the Philippines and lived on the island of Tubabao for almost 4 years. St. John is greatly revered in the Philippines, his memory is bright, and the witnesses of his stay in the Philippines are still alive.
I ask for your prayers that the Lord will give Father John spiritual strength, so that he will be imbued here with spirituality, ecclesiasticism, and dogmatic knowledge, and carry all this to his land for enlightenment.
I thank you for the common prayers, I congratulate you on the Resurrection, and may the Queen of Heaven be with each of you.
Glory to God!