Manila, Philippines, December 31, 2020
On November 15, Archimandrite Philemon (Castro), formerly a priest of the Patriarchate of Constantinople serving in the Philippines, was received into the Russian Church together with the Church of the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-creating Cross of the Lord, which he founded. Fr. Philemon announced the move on December 23.
In response, Metropolitan Nektarios of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia of the Patriarchate of Constantinople suspended Fr. Philemon and warned his flock of the danger of “non-canonical ‘Orthodox Churches.’” In the same communiqué, he also claimed that Fr. Felipe Balingit, a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, is not a canonical member of the Orthodox Church.
Now, the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s “Orthodox Manila” Facebook page is circulating a sponsored ad, declaring any Orthodox in the Philippines not under Constantinople to be non-canonical.
The ad reads: “Orthodox Manila: The only canonical Orthodox Church in the Philippines under the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong & South East Asia (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople).”
This statement is also found in the About section of the Orthodox Manila Facebook page.
However, it is not only the Moscow Patriarchate that is present in the Philippines, but also the Antiochian Patriarchate, which is in full communion with Constantinople.
Thus, in declaring his metropolitanate to be the only canonical Church in the Philippines, Met. Nektarios effectively creates his own local schism.
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