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Orthodox Christian Missions

Thai Ten Year Anniversary and Church Consecration

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PATTAYA (Thailand), December 20 (RIA Novosti) – Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who leads the Russian Orthodox Church’s external church relations department, consecrated on Sunday a new church in the resort town of Pattaya in Thailand.

The church, dedicated to All Saints, was recently built in Pattaya on donations from parishioners.

“The church that opened today in the town of Pattaya will be a center of Russian Orthodoxy in Thailand and will bring spiritual assistance to hundreds and thousands of people,” Hilarion said after a divine service he led together with Archimandrite Oleg, the senior priest of the St. Nicholas church in Bangkok.

Hilarion is on a visit to the Southeast Asian country on the occasion of the tenth anniversary since the Russian Orthodox Church established its community there.

“The tenth anniversary of Orthodoxy in Thailand is a remarkable event in the church’s life… Today Thailand has an active, full-fledged Orthodox community,” he said.

Now Thailand has two Orthodox churches. The St. Nicholas church in the capital Bangkok was built in 1999. A third church is being built on Phuket Island.

Up to 15,000 Russians own real property or rent apartments and houses in Pattaya, and some 5,000 permanently live in the town. A total of 300,000-500,000 Russian-speaking tourists visit Thailand annually.

More than 90% of Thai nationals are Buddhists. Close to 5% are Muslims, whereas Christians, mainly Catholics, account for less than 1% of the country’s population.

And regarding the Ten Year anniversary, from DECR:

A reception was given on 19 December 2009 on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church to mark the 10th anniversary of Orthodoxy in Thailand. The celebrations were led Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relation as head of an official delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Among the honorary guests were Gen. A. Chantoza, secretary of the Thai Parliament Defense Committee, Russian Ambassador in Thailand E. Afanasyev, Slovakian Ambassador in Thailand V. Putel, the Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Salvatore Pinnaccio, as well as Moscow Patriarchate clergy who serve in the Asian-Pacific region.

Archbishop Hilarion congratulated those present on the remarkable event in the spiritual life of the Orthodox community in Thailand, expressing hope that the Russian Orthodox parishes will continue contributing to the development of friendly relations between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Russian Federation.

The DECR chairman presented church awards to those who worked hared to consolidate the presence of Orthodoxy in Thailand. With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Order of St. Daniel of Moscow was awarded to Ambassador Afanasyev, the Order of St. Innocent of Moscow to Mr. Lyukshin, counselor of the Russian Embassy in Thailand, and Mr. Voronin, first secretary of the Russian Embassy in Thailand, the Medal of St. Daniel of Moscow to Mr. Buntilov, assistant to the Russian Orthodox Church representative in Thailand.

The reception was embellished by the singing of the choir of the ROC Publishing Board, who recited famous hymns and folk songs.
For the Parish of St. Nicholas in Bangkok, Archbishop Hilarion gave to Archimandrite Oleg Cherepanin an icon of the Holy Resurrection.

The picture is of All Saints Church in Pattaya.
Pictures of the consecration can be found here, and of the anniversary reception here.
For a further article on Archbishop Hilarion’s arrival in Thailand, see here.
For an article and pictures of a Divine Liturgy served by Archbishop Hilarion at St. Nicholas’ Chapel, see here.
More information about the parishes in Thailand can be found here, in English, or here, in Russian. It appears that the church buildings in Phuket and Rachatburi Province are on their way to being completed.

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Written by Stephen

January 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm

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