1939 book of church order for Russian Orthodox parishes in South China and the Philippine Islands. Photos courtesy of Archpriest Denis Pozdnyaev and Priest George Maximov.
Following the Russian revolution, The Philippines saw an influx of Russian émigrés fleeing the Soviet regime. In 1935, an Orthodox parish was established in Manila, with Father Mikhail Yerokhin as rector. This community worshiped in a space donated by the Episcopal Church at the northeast corner of what are now UN Ave. and Orosa streets, until in 1937 they completed an Orthodox temple dedicated to the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God. This Russian Orthodox church was destroyed by American bombing during World War II.
In 1949, 5,500 Russian Orthodox refugees from China, including Archbishop John (Maximovitch), later glorified as Saint John, were relocated to the island of Tubabao by the International Refugee Organization, and with the permission of the newly independent Republic of the Philippines. There Archbishop John established a wooden church, orphanage, and other buildings on the site of a former US military base. Through the persistent lobbying of Archbishop John to the U.S. Congress, the refugees were allowed to settle in the United States and Australia beginning in 1951.
In 2013, Monk Philip (Balingit) was appointed administrator of the Philippine mission of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. With the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of ROCOR, Fr Philip began working to reestablish the Russian mission in the Philippines. He was able to visit the location of the former refugee camp at Tubabao, taught the people nearby about Orthodoxy and about the saint who had lived with them, and obtained funds to build a chapel on the site. During this time he established the mission communities of St John of Shanghai at Santa Maria, Davao del Sur, and of St Nikolai of Žiča at Palo, Leyte, of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Manila, and of the Iveron icon of Mother of God in Tubabao Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
Later that year, Met. Hilarion sent Archpriest Seraphim Bell to baptize members of two communities who had asked to be received into the Orthodox Church. Accompanied by Deacon Silouan Thompson, Fr Seraphim baptized catechumens, served the Divine Liturgy, and blessed the mission chapels.
At the end of 2013, Father Philip was blessed to begin studying at Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary. In 2014, Deacon Silouan was ordained to the priesthood and sent to serve the Philippine mission. In 2015, Father Philip was ordained to the priesthood, and continues as dean of the ROCOR mission in the Philippines.
In 2015 Fr Silouan began serving and teaching a mission community in Sison, Surigao del Norte, and is working to plant mission communities elsewhere in the Philippines. He travels to serve canonical Orthodox communities of other jurisdictions, and works with native speakers of Philippine languages to produce Scripture translations and Orthodox liturgical books.
The ROCOR mission in the Philippines now exists as a deanery within the Australian and New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, under the omophor of Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), Archbishop of Sydney and First Hierarch of ROCOR.