This month, for the first time since Covid-19 lockdowns began in 2020, the Philippines opened its borders to foreigners. Father Silouan flew to the Philippines in early February and spent the month connecting with missions and parishes in Mindanao, and setting in order the home where he had lived in Santa Maria since 2014.
When it became clear that Covid was going to last a long time and there was no way to return to the Philippines, Fr Silouan was released from the Philippine mission and assigned to a parish in the US. But the mission has continued to prosper, thanks to the oversight and foundation of the Russian Orthodox Diocese of the Philippines and Vietnam, and the prayers of His Eminence Metropolitan Paul, Bishop of Manila and Hanoi. Translation work continues, carried out by native speakers in the Philippines and checked by Filipino seminarians. Now that the pandemic is easing, it is hoped that the parish feeding and leadership development programs can resume.
In the past few months, several Filipino deacons have been ordained to the priesthood. We hope that several more will be ordained in the coming year – hopefully including Father Deacon John, of St John’s in Santa Maria.
Today in Santa Maria, where the Russian Orthodox mission in the Philippines began, Father Silouan served his last Divine Liturgy before returning to the US. There was a lot of laughter and tears, but there is confident hope that God has a plan for the whole diocese.
A video assembled by St John’s members
Earlier on this visit
Divine Liturgy at Nativity of the Theotokos chapel in Mamácao
Divine Liturgy at Holy Theophany Orthodox Church in Talas