On Saturday, September 26, 2015, nearly two hundred formerly Catholic Filipinos were received into the Orthodox Church through the sacrament of holy baptism, as reported on the Philippine Orthodox Church—Moscow Patriarchate Facebook page and the Philippine Mission of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR) page.
Despite massive waves that repeatedly knocked them over, Frs. Silouan Thompson and Stanislav Rasputin celebrated the baptism of 187 new Orthodox Christians, lasting six hours.
The newly-baptized are parishioners of four former Philippine Independent Catholic Church parishes in the Sarangani province: St. Joseph the Worker Parish (now St. Joseph the Betrothed Orthodox Church) in Poblacion Kiamba; San Isidro Labrador parish (now St. Isidore of Chios Orthodox Church) in Salakit; Nuestra Sra. Sela Paz parish (now Holy Theophany Orthodox Church) in Kayupo; and the Mission of the Theotokos of the Life-Giving Spring in the town of Maitum, Sarangani Province.
There are now nine parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in the Philippines in addition to another twenty still undergoing catechism. There remain around two hundred faithful to be baptized from these four parishes who were prevented from attending due to distance and bad weather, among other reasons. Their reception is yet to be scheduled.
Saturday’s mass baptism took place after almost two years of catechism and was followed by the Divine Liturgy in which the newly-baptized received Holy Communion for the first time.
Fr. Silouan writes:
“Kiamba is in an area where the Moro Nationalist Liberation Front (Islamic secessionist group) is quite active, and a number of foreigners have been abducted this week by various groups of evildoers, so we were grateful for the escort the Philippine National Police provided for our sacrament and our procession from the church to the beach and back (even if their machine guns were a little strange to American eyes).”
Fr. Silouan is presently the only resident priest of the Russian Orthodox Church in Mindanao, often traveling to preach and serve the Liturgy in the various missions in addition to his own of St. John Maximovitch in Santa Maria, although there are plans to assign a second permanent priest by the end of the year.