Some weeks ago, Metropolitan Nektarios of Hong Kong and South East Asia put out yet another excommunication notice to a non-Greek priest operating in the Philippines (see here). As has been posted here in the past, the Antiochians and Russians have been in the Philippines and the rest of South East Asia for many years and often operated in these areas before the Greeks. Met. Nektarios' assertion that his presence in Hong Kong means there can be no non-Greek priests in the east is a contentious one and something that the Russian Church has stated unequivocally to be untenable (see here). The below story comes out a few days after the aforementioned encyclical. Note that the permission to go to the Philippines was granted by the Patriarch of Moscow and not the Greek Metropolitan of Hong Kong. This is a "diaspora" problem and one that is only held in check in US because of the large numbers of people involved that make such a Canon 28 assertion impossible. God willing, we will see some regional assembly discussion of this tragic state of affairs.
(mospat.ru) - From August 10 to 13, 2015, Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate administrative secretariat, was on a visit to the Philippines, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. He was accompanied by Hieromonk Pitirim (Dondenko), senior priest at the ROC Parish of the Assumption in Singapore, D. Petrovsky of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, and N. Sokolov, secretary to Bishop Sergiy.
On August 11, Bishop Sergiy and his retinue, together with Hieromonk Philip (Balingit), administrator of the Philippines Mission of the Russian Church Outside Russia, and M. Ananyin of the Russian Embassy in the Philippines, flew from Manila to the General Cantos city on Mindanao, the second largest island of the Philippines archipelago.
The ROC delegation visited the Orthodox Parish of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God in Polomolok, Parish of St. Isidore of Rostov in Alabel and Parish of Ss Peter and Paul in Kiblawan. At the church of St John of Shanghai (Russian Church Outside Russia) in Santa Maria, with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill given in response to a request from the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion of East America and New York, Bishop Sergiy installed Juan Julito Gabutero Majinai as reader and sub-deacon.
On August 12 the ROC delegation returned to Manila, where Bishop Sergiy met with compatriots living or residing in the Philippines, and with leaders of the President Quirino Foundation. Named after the sixth president of the Philippines, the foundation is engaged in keeping the memory of the life of the community of Russian émigrés led by St John of Shanghai who came from China to stay in Tubabao Island from 1949-1951.
On August 13, Bishop Sergiy and his delegation met with the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in the Philippines, Archbishop Socrates Villegas. In attendance was also Russian Ambassador I. Khovaev. Bishop Sergiy reminded his interlocutor about the Orthodox church of Our Lady of Iveron, which was part of the Beijing diocese’s deanery of Hong Kong, and expressed hope for the restoration of the Russian church presence in the Philippines, which was fully supported by the representative of the Roman Catholic Church. The interlocutors affirmed the importance of joint Christian witness to the preservation of traditional Christian values in face of the rapidly secularizing world.
Later that day, Bishop Sergiy and Ambassador I. Khovaev discussed problems involved in the Russian Orthodox Church providing pastoral care for compatriots in the Philippines and reviving the historical presence of Russian Orthodoxy in that Asian country.