It is Infinite Grace to Become a Part of the Orthodox Church (+Video)

Orthodox Filipinos on how the Orthodox faith has transformed their lives

A mission of the Russian Orthodox Church has been active in the Philippines already for several years, and a large number of this country’s residents have discovered Orthodoxy, were baptized, and now they feel that their lives are blessed with divine grace. Many of them are sharing the light of the faith of Christ with others through pastoral ministry as priests, through teaching the faith as catechists, or by participating in the church choirs .

In the video below Orthodox Filipinos speak about their conversion to Orthodoxy and how the holy faith has renewed their lives.

How we became Orthodox

Deacon Romanus Bougnol:

It is infinite grace to become a part of the Orthodox Church. This happened to me when Orthodox missionaries came here, to the island of Mindanao, and brought the Orthodox faith. At first I was a little confused, but when I began to study Orthodoxy I found that there are fundamental differences between the Aglipayan Church1 and the Orthodox Church. After an in-depth study of Orthodoxy I received evidence that it is the true Church, founded by the apostles 2,000 years ago. And I immediately left my Aglipayan way of life and directed my steps towards the path of the Orthodox faith. And now, two years later, I have become an Orthodox deacon. Thank you for supporting us and caring for us in this journey to the genuine faith and the true Church. Indeed it is God’s blessing; and we Filipinos are happy to embrace the Orthodox faith.

Cyra Vega, a chorister:

When I was introduced to the Orthodox faith, it astounded me as I realized that it is the very faith that our Lord Jesus Christ gave us. This is the faith that has been preserved from the time of the apostles who received it directly from Christ the Savior. Earlier, I had been a member of the Aglipayan Church, but, having discovered the Orthodox faith, I resolved to join the Orthodox Church. In the beginning, when I was investigating Orthodoxy, I found that Orthodox services, particularly the Divine Liturgy, are astonishing. There are solemnity and grandeur in Orthodox services, and every time I enter the church I have a sense of “wholeness”… And I feel a strong relationship with God.

Elias Aleria, a catechist:

My family and, above all, my brother had converted to Orthodoxy before me. While they lived in the city of Cebu, I lived in the sea port of Davao. Little by little I learned more about Orthodox Christianity. Then I met Fr. Silouan who gave me several books, and thus I became a catechumen. As a Catholic I had many doubts and questions every time I was reading the Bible and various articles. But as soon as I became a catechumen and started reading Orthodox books, I found the answers to all my questions.

How Orthodoxy changed our lives

Deacon Romanus Bougnol:

My life was completely transformed. The reason is the following: when I belonged to the Aglipayan Church, I lived according to the Aglipayan beliefs. True, we claimed to be part of the Church of Christ, but when it comes to tradition, there is a noticeable difference between it and Orthodoxy. We had no restrictions on food, activities, and passions. But here, in the Church of God, I see that we observe all that Christ commanded us 2,000 years ago. This is the greatest difference between the Aglipayan Church and the Orthodox Church. Orthodoxy has completely changed the way I pray and worship the Lord.

Cyra Vega, a chorister:

Truly, a lot has changed since I joined the Orthodox Church. Earlier, when I was Aglipayan, my faith was shallow and superficial, as it were. And now I can declare that after converting to Orthodoxy I deepened my understanding of faith in God. Besides, there are some traditions of the Orthodox way of life that I am trying to learn. For example, in the Aglipayan Church we didn’t keep any fasts. Now I pray a lot and really feel a closeness to God. Now I have deep reverence and respect for God. Indeed my view of things is now very different. When I am at the Liturgy… I can say with confidence that I have fallen in love with the Liturgy! Everything is so wonderful! I do feel this. Also, Orthodoxy has strengthened my family bonds and made me more responsible.

Earlier, when I was Aglipayan, we didn’t confess to our priests, but now we confess our sins. We do it because we must prepare ourselves to the mystery of Holy Communion by fasting and confession. And each time, repentance makes me better and purer.

Elias Aleria, a catechist:

In fact it is not easy to become Orthodox Christian. To be Orthodox means to be a genuine Christian. This is how I see Orthodox life. This is not an easy path at all. Yet it is an important and right path—to become a Christian. If you live in an Orthodox manner, you will know the fullness of life. When I properly pray as an Orthodox Christian, it is of great importance to me compared to what I experienced in the Aglipayan Church.

Prepared by Priest George Maximov
Translated by Dmitry Lapa

Pravoslavie.ru

10/30/2018

1The Aglipayan Church, or, more correctly, the Philippine Independent Church, is a popular religious movement in the Philippines. It was founded in 1902 by a former Catholic priest named Gregorio Aglipay who afterwards became a freemason; later it broke with the Catholic Church and is currently in communion with the Episcopal Church of the USA.
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