Architectural plan drawing for All Saints church in Phuket in Thailand
Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, during his pastoral visit to Thailand, met with clergy assigned to minister in the Asia-Pacific region. Amongst the participants in the meeting were priests from China, Mongolia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand, both Russians and indigenes. According to the communications service of the MP Department for External Church Relations, Archbishop Hilarion, as the head of this department, thanked the priests for their labours. He said, “Your service is of particular significance to our Church. This is truly a self-sacrificial missionary endeavour undertaken under difficult conditions, for you face not only a harsh climate, but, also, psychological and spiritual challenges. You live in conditions that are very close to those that typified the lives and service of the apostles”.
In Vladyki Hilarion’s opinion, a priest who leaves his homeland to carry out an obedience requires a special spiritual vigilance and sobriety; he must constantly work on himself. He said that such a priest must constantly rekindle his spiritual zeal, and, above all, remember the centrality of the Divine Liturgy. “All of you must understand that serving the Liturgy is the spiritual wellspring that gives you the strength to serve the Church. During the Liturgy, you offer bread and wine, and they become the Body and Blood of Christ the Saviour. When we pray for this miraculous intervention, we turn to God the Father with the words, ‘Send down Thy Holy Spirit upon us and upon these Gifts here offered’. Moreover, at our prayer, the Holy Spirit descends not only on the bread and wine, but, on each one of us, replacing the old man with the new, healing our weakness, and giving us His divine grace”, Archbishop Hilarion said.
In addition, he advised them to cultivate spiritual keenness by regularly reading the Holy Scriptures and Holy Fathers. Vladyki Hilarion noted that the Holy Books were always trustworthy. “The Church Fathers shared with us their spiritual experience, they spoke of the trials and temptations through which they passed, and through which we are now passing”, he said.
22 December 2009