In 1901, after cruel Boxer rebellion and the devastation of the Orthodox mission in Beijing, a parcel of land with the small house was acquired [at 43 Beihenan Road] on the-then American concession.
In February of 1903, the cornerstone laying of the Temple of the Theophany took place and construction began on a stone temple and a 3-story church house. The Chief of Orthodox Mission in Beijing Bishop Innokenty has come to Shanghai with a deacon and a choir. Personnel from Russian military squadrons of Admiral Rozhdestvensky ("Askold", "Xenia", "Svir", "Tobol") attended the consecration. Archimandrite Simon (subsequently Archbishop) was appointed priest-in-charge of the church.
photo of school students at the
Theophany Church with
Fr Evstafy & Archim. Avraamy
from Boris Alexandrov's book "Beiguan"
In a building near the church there was a school for Chinese boys, and also teacher training for Orthodox Chinese.
During 1908-9, the priest-in-charge was Archpriest Pavel Figurovsky; and Archimandrite Simon and Hieromonk Evstafy in 1916-17.
Priest-monk Evstafy organized a church choir of Chinese boys who sang in Slavonic. This same choir sang at consecration of a new Russian General Consulate building on January 1, 1917.
After the evacuation of Russians from Vladivostok, Russian population increased noticeably. Archbishop Simon was still the rector. A peaceful way of life continued until 1927, when internal Chinese fighting (northerners and southerners) reached Shanghai, which was seized in 1927 by military actions.
The south's military units which penetrated intodid not spare the Russian spiritual sanctuary; the temple was devastated and even profaned.
Ecclesiastics could find safety and refuge in the French Concession under protection of the Municipal police (where very many Russians worked). After a year the Chinese troops left the temple and in 1929 divine services resumed, but most parishioners went to the new temple in the French Concession.
Priest Mefody Panin was appointed priest-in-charge of Theophany Church. The Theophany temple and the Representation were inuntil 1932 when military actions between China and Japan started. The temple and Representation were destroyed, and whatever was left was burned, so only ruins remained.
In November 1933 the Japanese military command informed Russian spiritual authorities, in writing, about indemnification for losses caused by military actions.