Русский | china-cat | March 1, 2006

Orthodox Chinese — descendents of the Albazinians. Matrona

English Translation by Igor Radev

Matrona in "White
Nights" Café
before the interview

Matrona lives in Beijing and works in a hospital. Her Chinese name is Wang Liru. Her maternal grandfather had Du (Dubinin) as his surname. Matrona says that every Albazinian family has at least one ancestor who was among the 222 Chinese Holy Martyrs killed during the Boxer uprising 1900 - 1901. I got to know this woman at the beginning of February when the shooting of the TV broadcasts for REN TV was going on, the first of which is to be shown today. We conducted the interview with her at the "White Nights" Café, which is near the Russian Embassy that is in fact situated on the premises of the Orthodox Mission at Beiguan where the Albazinians lived before the handover of the grounds to the Soviet Legation. Over there is also the sump in which the mutilated bodies of the Martyrs were thrown. When after several years those bodies were recovered, they were found out to be uncorrupted.

During the conversation
with Alexander Mostislavsky,
the correspondent for REN TV.

Albazinians are descendents of the Cossacks who were taken captives after the battle for Albazin fortress during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (contemporary of Peter I). As a reward for the heroism shown in the battle their life and religion were respected. That's how Orthodoxy made its first inroads into China. The descendents of those people consider themselves Russian and are keeping the Orthodox faith. Unfortunately, the twentieth century showed gruesome cruelty to them (and not only to them for that matter). In the present moment there are no Orthodox priests left in China and according to the Chinese law these people do not have the right to attend the services celebrated by foreign priests in PRC. During the summer of 2005 Matrona together with other Orthodox Chinese descendents of the Cossacks visited Albazin. She came back with icons from there and had her wish to spend the remaining years in an Orthodox monastery strengthened.

Outside on a street.
Behind them, at the end
of the alley the gate
of the Russian Embassy
could be seen, which is
situated at Beiguan where
Matrona was baptized.