MANILA: August 13, 2015
Bishop Sergy of Solnechnogorsk Visits the Philippines
On August 10-13, 2015, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Head of the Administrative Secretariat of the Moscow Patriarchate, His Grace Bishop Sergy of Solnechnogorsk visited the Philippines. Accompanying him were Hieromonk Pitirim (Dondenko), Senior Priest of Assumption Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Singapore, Mr DI Petrovsky, representative of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Mr NF Sokolov, Vladyka Sergy’s secretary.
On August 10, the delegation was greeted at Manila Airport by Mr MA Ananyin, Vice Secretary of the Russian Embassy in Manila.
On August 11, Bishop Sergy and his delegation, along with Hieromonk Philipp (Balingit), Administrator of the Russian Mission to the Philippines, and members of the Russian diplomatic corps flew to the city of General-Santos on the island of Mindanao.
The Russian delegation visited several Orthodox communities in the area: the Protection of the Holy Mother of God community in Polomalok, the Community of St Isidor of Rostov in Alabela and SS Peter and Paul Community in Kiblavana. With the blessing of the Patriarch of Russia at the request of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Vladyka Sergy tonsured John Hulito Gabutero Machinai to the rank of reader at the Church of St John of Shanghai of the Russian Church Abroad.
As he visited the various communities, Vladyka Sergy performed molebens together with Fr Pitirim, Priest Kiril Shkarbulya, Rector of Elevation of the Cross Community in Taibei, Priest Georgy Maksimov of Moscow, and clergymen of the Russian Church Abroad Fr Philipp and Priest Siluan Thomson.
On August 12, the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church returned to Manila, where Vladyka Sergy met with Russians living temporarily or permanently in the Philippines, as well as with members of the Foundation of President Quirino (the sixth President of the Philippines), which supervises the preservation of the memory of the Russian emigres of Tubabao who arrived from China, led by St John of Shanghai.
On August 13, Bishop Sergy and his delegation met with Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Chairman of the Episcopal Conference of Catholic Bishops in the Philippines. Also participating was Mr IA Khovaev, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Russia to Milan. Vladyka Sergy brought up the existence of a Russian Orthodox church dedicated to the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God in Manila between 1934-1946, which was part of the Hong Kong Deanery of the Peking Diocese, and expressed the hope that the Russian Orthodox presence in the Philippines could be more firmly established again, which was fully supported by the Roman Catholic hierarch. Everyone bore witness to the importance of preserving traditional Christian values in the face of the onrush of the secular world.
Later that day, Vladyka Sergy met with Ambassador Khovaev to discuss the organization of pastoral support by the Russian Orthodox Church for Russians living in the Philippines and the rebirth of the historical presence of Russian Orthodoxy in the Asiatic nation.
In the evening of August 13, the Russian delegation departed for Moscow.