Русский | Chinese Messenger 2/1999
Archpriest John Du

Spread of the Russian Orthodox Church in Tianjin and its environs *

English Machine Translation via Google from
Russian translation by D.I.Petrovsky

The history of the spread of the Orthodox Church in China

The spread of the Russian Orthodox Church in China began in the 80s of the 17th century. This was the heyday of the reign of the Russian Emperor Peter the Great and the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. For several generations, the Russian tsars sent expeditionary troops to the east to seize the outskirts of our homeland, the lands belonging to the Heilongjiang province. Russian troops first of all occupied the city of Yaksu on the northern bank of the Amur in Heilongjiang province, where a fort (Cossack fort) was immediately built to withstand the counter-actions of the Qing army. In the restored Yaksa in the center at the intersection of roads, an Orthodox Church of the Resurrection of Christ was built. In 1671, a monastery was also built in the suburban area in the name of the All-Merciful Savior. The preaching of Orthodoxy was carried out among the indigenous population (at that time the indigenous population consisted mostly of Orochons, who were engaged in hunting and fishing). Yaksa, originally a small fishing village, later turned into a paramilitary fortress town with a posad. During the Qing dynasty, the Chinese called this city Yaksa, and the Russians called Albazin.

Russia's persistent aggressiveness has long attracted the attention of the Qing dynasty. On February 25, 1685 (the 24th year of the reign of the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, January 23 according to the lunar calendar), an order was given to the head of the main Manchu banner troops Peng Chun, the head of the Tung Bao defense corps, the commander of the auxiliary brigade Da Er Sha and General Lan Tang at the head 3000 soldiers separately, from the sea and from the land, to attack the Yaksa in two ways; in connection with this, the Jax War broke out. During the year of hostilities, Yaksa changed hands twice, while the temple and monastery, which were in the center of hostilities, were razed to the ground.

As a result of the Yaks war, many Russians were captured, and many Russians voluntarily surrendered to the Qing army. According to the Qing government decrees of the time, Russian prisoners of war were to be escorted to Beijing to await further orders from the Kangxi Emperor. During the journey of Russian prisoners of war to Beijing, some of the people died on the way from illness, some were repatriated and returned to Russia. By the time they arrived in Beijing, seven Cossack families remained: the Romanovs, Khabarovs, Yakovlevs, Dubinins, Kholostovs. The surnames of the other two are unknown, as these families left no descendants. This group of Russians, after arriving in Beijing, not only were not harassed by the Qing government, but on the contrary, in accordance with government regulations on the naturalization of foreigners, they were provided with relatively good conditions for existence, and they were treated on an equal basis with the Manchus. The Qing Emperor Kangxi noticed this group of Russian Cossacks, dashing warriors, and by imperial decree entered them into the lists of the yellow banner Manchu troops of the seventeenth subdistrict of the fourth metropolitan administration and ranked them among the imperial guard. This group of Russian Cossack warriors enjoyed the state salary, as well as the rights and rewards assigned to the national team of the Manchu-Russian unit (nüylu), and settled in Beijing. Their descendants turned to the Qing dynasty government for permission to grant the right to marry the Manchus, as well as the ability to select their Boshen warrant officers within their subdistrict with a monthly state salary.

From this it is clear that the Qing government provided this group of Russians with benefits only to improve their living conditions, and politically, precautions were taken.

All these Russian people professed Orthodoxy. When in 1685 (Kangxi 24), immediately after the end of the Yax campaign, Russian prisoners of war arrived in Beijing, Priest Maxim Leontyev arrived with them. The Kangxi Emperor allowed in Beijing, inside the Dongzhimen Gate in Hujiaquan Lane, to convert a Mongolian temple into the first Orthodox temple in China. An icon of St. Nicholas brought from the Yaks monastery was placed in the church, and the temple was consecrated in honor of St. Nicholas. (This icon was painted on dressed leather and from generation to generation was revered by the Russian Albazinians as an ancient shrine. In 1956, the head of the Beijing Spiritual Mission, the head of the Bishop's Council, Patriarchal Exarch Vladyka Victor, took it to the USSR.) Then this temple was called “Lochamyao”, he became the predecessor of the Russian Northern Compound - Beiguan.

Of the Orthodox believers, in addition to the descendants of the five aforementioned surnames and their female relatives, merchants from Russian caravans and merchants lived in Beijing. The number of Chinese converts to Orthodoxy was very small. In subsequent times, the descendants of these five Cossack families mainly served and helped in the church, the name “Albazinians” was assigned to them. For the first Orthodox church of St. Nicholas in Beijing, the priest Maxim Leontiev was sent from Russia from the Tobolsk diocese an antimension, from that moment it became possible to celebrate the Liturgy.

After the death of priest Maxim Leontyev, the Albazinites turned to the Qing government with a request to allow them to send clergy from Russia to Beijing to continue the service. The Kangxi Emperor agreed to their request. A Qing-Russian bilateral government agreement was adopted, according to which, in the 54th year of the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (April 20, 1715), Archimandrite Hilarion (Lezhaisky) arrived in Beijing on a mission of 10 people. It was the first officially directed Orthodox Spiritual Mission from Russia to preach, train personnel, instruct and unite the descendants of Russian Albazinians.

The development process of the Orthodox Church in China

During the reign of Emperor Peter the Great, the external spread of Russia's influence was accompanied by an increase in the missionary activity of the Orthodox Church.

The Russian Orthodox Church sent new Orthodox priests to China with trade caravans each time after the end of the previous mission.

The head of the first Mission, Archimandrite Hilarion (Lezhaisky), Priest Lawrence, Deacon Philemon and seven church ministers arrived at the Beijing Russian Northern Compound of Beiguan, where the Russian Spiritual Mission was officially located.

In 1728 (Yong Zheng 5), the "Sino-Russian Kyakhta Treaty" was concluded between the Russian and Qing governments. Since then, the Russian Orthodox Mission has been transformed from a temporary organization into a permanent organization. Along with the trade agreements, an agreement was concluded that Russian priests in the Orthodox Mission should be replaced once every ten years (later it became six years).

In 1732 (Yong Zheng 10), a new Orthodox church in the name of the Presentation of the Lord was consecrated in Beijing on Dongjiaomin Lane, which became the Southern Compound of the Mission, where in 1860 the Russian diplomatic mission in China was accredited.

From 1715 (Kangxi 54) to 1860 (Xianfeng 10), the composition of the Mission changed 13 times, over the years 155 people were accredited in Beijing. The mission was directly subordinate to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and received 12,250 rubles annually. subsidies. On the staff of the Mission there were people engaged in history, the humanities, educational sciences, astronomy and geography, the study of political and economic problems.

August 4, 1818 (Jia Qing 23) The Russian government sets before the Beijing Spiritual Mission the task of “a comprehensive study of the economy and culture of China. At the same time, significant events in Chinese political life should be reported in time for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. " In 1845 (Xianfeng 4) it was reaffirmed: "The main task of the Mission is to help the newly sent officials coming to Beijing to collect reliable information of interest to them regarding China and dependent territories." For example: The ninth head of the Orthodox Spiritual Mission, Archimandrite Iakinf (Bichurin), during his service (1809-1820) became famous for the following works "Notes on Mongolia", "Description of Tibet", "History of Tibet and Qinghai", "Description of Turkestan and Dzungaria", A Description of the Peoples of Central Asia, together with the other eleven related to the description of the Chinese border regions. During his stay in Beijing, Father Iakinf still inspected the acquired lands, wrote and published "Description of all the people of the Qing dynasty." The books that glorified Father Iakinth give the dimensions of the Beijing city wall (wall height 33.5 feet, top width 50 feet, width at the base 62 feet), the number of city gates and the distance between them. At that time (during the reign of Emperor Yong Zheng), Beijing had 16 main streets, 384 lanes, 370 bridges, 700 temples - all this is reflected in his descriptions. He made detailed notes about folk customs, holidays and national cuisines, clothes, life. In addition, he drew a plan of the Beijing walls, the level of thoroughness of this work subsequently amazed everyone. The first "Russian-Chinese Dictionary" compiled by him brought him worldwide fame. Father Iakinf (Bichurin) to this day is called in Russia the first Sinologist, a connoisseur of China, an orientalist.

In 1900 (Guan Xu 26), during the Yihetuan uprising, the head of the 18th Beijing Spiritual Mission, Archimandrite Innokenty (Figurovsky) and some of the employees managed to take refuge in the Russian diplomatic mission. After the revolt of the Yihetuan was defeated, Archimandrite. Innokenty and the Mission staff temporarily resided in the northern wall of the Yong-he palace, since the Russian Northern Compound - Beiguan was burned to the ground. In 1901 (Guan Xu 28), he returned to Russia to report to the Holy Synod a detailed course of events of the Ihethuan uprising in China, at the same time archim. Innokenty made a proposal to recreate and develop the Beijing Spiritual Mission. The Holy Synod highly appreciated the merits of the Head of the Mission in the difficult days of the Yihetuan uprising. He was elevated to the rank of bishop,

With Vladyka Innokenty, a new Mission arrived in China from Russia: hieromonks, hierodeacons, monks, and others. In addition, Vladyka Innokenty subsequently expanded the Russian Northern Metochion - Beiguan: a batch of technical personnel arrived from Russia, about 40 people. Since then, the number of employees of the Russian Spiritual Mission in Beiguan has increased significantly.

Vladyka Innokenty, taking advantage of the indemnity received from the Qing government (after the Yihetuan uprising in 1900) in the amount of 18,000 lang silver, bought a part of the estate of the family of the fourth son of Emperor Qian Lung near Beiguan to build a temple in the name of All Holy Martyrs. The remains of 222 Chinese martyrs who suffered during the Yihetuan uprising were placed in six prepared stone coffins and buried in a crypt under the temple.

After the opening of the Church of All Holy Martyrs, the Holy Synod sent a report to Emperor Nicholas II, with a proposal to establish June 24 according to the new style (June 11 according to the old style) as a day of commemoration of the holy Chinese martyrs, and the day before, on June 23, to establish a day of strict fasting. Vladyka Innokenty, having received a notification from the Holy Synod, sent out to all churches a list of 222 killed during the Yihethuan uprising, ordering every year on these two days in all Chinese churches to celebrate solemn services in their memory. Subsequently, the Dormition Cathedral, the Temple of St. Innokenty and the high bell tower, church library, observatory, male and female monasteries, male and female schools, art school, Orthodox cemetery, service buildings. Besides, thanks to technical personnel and craftsmen who came from Russia, a mill, a dairy farm, an apiary, a weaving manufactory, a printing house, a bookbinder, a silkworm breeding room, an orchard, vegetable gardens, one small power station and other production facilities were built and put into operation in Beiguan. The territory occupied by the then “Russian Beiguan” was approximately 20 hectares. In addition, a shop selling rice flour and noodles was opened in the city, while three-storey houses were built specifically for rent in the Dundandazie and Xinkailu areas. All of the aforementioned businesses were run by Russian priests and Russian technical personnel. At that time, the Chinese wanted their children to attend a temple school or work in a church factory, many of them converted to Orthodoxy.

The influence of the Orthodox Church expanded in China: in Beijing - Xishan, east of Beijing - Tongzhou, as well as Zhoxian, Fangshan, Yongping, Gubeikou, Badakhangou, Zhangjiakou, Tianjin, Beidaihe, in Shandong, Khangdu, in Shandong, Khangduo, Yangduo - Shipu, to the north-east - Shenyang, Lushun, Dalian, Changchun, Harbin, Hailar, Yakesa, Qiqihar, Manchouli (Manchuria), in Xinjiang - Urumqi, etc. Orthodox churches and missionary camps were erected everywhere. The whole country was divided into dioceses.

Before the October Revolution, every day in Russian Orthodox churches during the morning and evening services at the great and augmented litanies, a petition was added: "For the current Russian great Emperor Nicholas II and his imperial family, let us pray to the Lord." Every day during the liturgy at the Great Entrance, a priest or deacon, facing the believers, added a petition: "May the current great Russian emperor Nicholas II and his imperial family remember the Lord God in His Kingdom always, now and forever and forever and ever." On the name day of Emperor Nicholas II, festive services were solemnly held in each church and prayers were read for his welfare. Then in China, in every local Orthodox church, thanksgiving services were served in honor of the Russian emperor.

After the victory of the October Revolution, the church, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) and many Russian refugees were forced to leave the Soviet Union for Serbia and organize a Synod in exile. In Beijing, the central administration and all diocesan administrations recognized this Serbian Synod in exile and did not recognize the Moscow church administration. Until the capitulation of Japanese imperialism in 1945, in the central administration of the Beijing Orthodox Church and in all diocesan administrations, Russian-subject bishops, priests and other church personnel accepted Soviet citizenship by an absolute majority and at the same time recognized the Moscow Patriarchate, and since then they have forever severed relations with the Serbian Synod. Orthodox Church in exile.

In 1949, the People's Republic of China was formed. As the new Chinese state was born, the Chinese people were actually gaining sovereignty. A similar process was going on in the Orthodox Church, and the Chinese Orthodox Church was officially formed. A Chinese bishopric candidate has appeared, ready to take on the historic task of standing at the head of the Chinese Church proper. Through an agreement between the Chinese government and the Soviet government, Archpriest Du Jun Chen (an Albazinian, a descendant of Dubinin) went to Moscow in 1950, where he was ordained a bishop and became the head of the Shanghai Diocese (Bishop Simeon).

In 1957, the archpriest of the Beijing Orthodox Church Yao Fu An (an Albazinian, a descendant of Yakovlev) also went to Moscow and after being ordained a bishop (Bishop Basil), thus becoming the second bishop from the Chinese and heading the Beijing See. From that time on, the situation ended when the Orthodox Church in China was ruled by Russian people.

Establishment of the Orthodox Church in Tianjin

Until 1895 (21st year of the reign of the Qing emperor Guan Xu), Tianjin was one of the most important northern open ports, a very highly developed railway and port junction. The Russians in Tianjin were engaged in the export of furs, tea, and similar commercial trade. They are mainly concentrated in the Hebei area. For example, in Tianjin there was a Russian merchant Litvinov, who in Sanchahekou (Haihesian) established a foreign trading company Sabaoshi (until now, there is one small alley near the former location of this company, still called Sabaoshi). At the same time, Mikhail Batuyev opened a thriving foreign trading company on what is now Zhongshanlu Street. Their warehouses were located in the area of ​​the current Northern Station. Their Russian merchant Kulaev, who arrived in Tianjin later, also opened a factory on Jinzhongshan lu, had his own office, accounting, planning department, office and warehouses. Although the number of Russian merchants was small, they conducted a large trade at that time.

All these Russians professed Orthodoxy, but due to the fact that there was no Orthodox church in Tianjin at that time, on big church holidays they asked the Central Office of the Beijing Spiritual Mission to send a priest to Tianjin to satisfy their religious needs. The head of the Beijing Spiritual Mission, Archimandrite Innokenty, came to Tianjin 1-2 times every year, occupied one compartment in the carriage of a passenger train at Beizhan (northern station) and made a temporary prayer house there so that Russian people could take part in the life of the church. And only in 1904 (Guan Xu 30), the central office of the Beijing Spiritual Mission in Tianjin on Hebeixiaoguan Avenue rented a one-story house and made a prayer house in it, sending a Chinese by the name of Zhao to preach. Every time on major church holidays, the central administration still sent the Russian hieromonk Abraham from Beijing. A psalmist and a choir came with him to conduct the service. During this period, approximately 200 Chinese were baptized and entered the church.

In 1909, during the reign of the Qing Emperor Xuantong, the small prayer house was closed. A small temple was built in the garden on the territory of the Russian concession (now there is the Hedong area and the South Station). This temple was built as a monument to 108 Russian soldiers who were killed during the suppression of the Yihetuan uprising, and consecrated in honor of the Savior. This marble temple could hold approximately 20 people. For the Chinese believers who lived on Hebeixiaoguan Avenue, the path to the temple was quite distant, few people came, for this reason the parish consisted of only a small number of Russian people.

In June 1970, during construction work on the site of the former chapel of the church, a memorial foundation stone, a silver plaque with engraved text and seven Russian royal rubles were excavated.

The foundation stone was buried to a depth of two meters. The stone is square, side length 43, thickness 15.5 cm. On the outside, a square recess is drilled in the stone, side length is 25.5 cm, depth is 8 cm. In the center of the recess there is a silver board 23 length, 9 width, 0.1 thickness see. The following text is engraved on a silver board in Russian: “In the summer of 1901 from the birth of Christ, on June 30, in the seventh year of the reign of the Emperor of All Russia Nicholas Vtorago, this memorial foundation stone was laid, with the personal presence of the commander of the Far Eastern troops and the Pacific naval forces, Far Eastern Governor General Yevgeny Ivanovich Alekseev, Chairman of the Committee for the Construction of the Memorial Church, Lieutenant General Tszitszeseli. Designer Anjibofu senior naval officer and military engineer Lieutenant Colonel Geligelianke, an architect. The silver plate on the reverse side had a small recess 19 long, 5 wide, 3 centimeters deep; seven Russian rubles were placed inside the recess (five gold, two silver.

After the victory of the October Revolution in 1917, the mass of emigrants from Russia - including the aristocracy, military, landlords, merchants and other segments of the population - were forced to flee to China. There were over 110 Russians in Tianjin. In view of this, the number of believers in the Orthodox Church in Tianjin increased and the church began to expand.

In 1920, the Russian people of Tianjin asked the head of the Central Administration of the Beijing Orthodox Church, Bishop Innokenty, to send a priest for permanent service to regularly conduct divine services. Soon, the Beijing Central Administration will send Archpriest Fr. Pavel Razumov, who became the first permanent priest in the Tianjin Orthodox Church, who was simultaneously elected as the rector of the church and the fraternal council.

In 1922 Razumov left Tianjin and went to America. The Central Administration of the Beijing Orthodox Church is sending Hieromonk Fr. Victor (Svyatina). Fr. Victor came from a religious family, his father was an Orthodox priest. Fr. Victor, while studying at the seminary, was called up for military service, later served in the tsarist army as an officer, in 1920 he came from Russia to China in Xinjiang. Together with a group of White émigrés, he arrived in Beijing and found shelter with the then bishop of the Beijing Church, Vladyka Innokenty. Soon he received the monastic tonsure with the name Victor and was ordained a hieromonk. In 1925, on the site of the former small church, donations collected by Fr. Victor built the Church of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos, designed for 100 people. Hieromonk Victor reburied the remains of 108 killed soldiers in front of the altar of the temple, on the western wall in front of the entrance to the temple, three marble slabs were installed on which the names of the victims were carved. And this time the head of the Beijing Spiritual Mission, Vladyka Innokenty, erected Fr. Victor to the rank of archimandrite.

While serving as a rector in Tianjin, Fr. Victor attracted rich Russian merchants Batuyev, Kulaev, the head of the engineering department of former Russian concessions, a French citizen Zhibulakov, to charity work, and a Russian school, hospital, library and other charitable institutions were opened with donations. At the same time, the Russian émigré cemetery was moved to Hedong dachzhiguhutai, the cemetery area was expanded, and a chapel was built. During this period, Fr Victor was appointed dean of all churches in Tianjin, and his temple of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos became a cathedral.

After the Japanese attack on China in 1939, the Japanese authorities converted the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos into a warehouse. On the territory of the Russian hospital Xiaolyuzhuang (now Hexi District, Red Cross Hospital), the Orthodox community in Tianjin began to build another Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos in accordance with the previous model. This temple was completed in 1941.

In 1930, the Chinese Archpriest Chang Xiji, otherwise Chang Fu (his father was a clergyman in the Beijing Orthodox Church, came from a religious family) in Tianjin founded the first Chinese Orthodox prayer house in China, calling it the Holy Innocent Church. Due to the fact that Archpriest Chang Fu was Chinese, the Chinese language was used in the divine services. At the same time, the main temple administrative council was formed from the Chinese. Not only Chinese believers, but also Russians came to this temple to take part in church life. This situation continued until 1949.

In 1933, Archpriest Chang Fu, through the intermediary of Metropolitan Sergius of the Japanese Orthodox Church (a subject of the USSR), established a connection with the Orthodox Church in the Soviet Union and recognized the Moscow Patriarchate. This act at that time caused serious friction and sharp contradictions between the Tianjin Archimandrite Victor and Fr. Chang. As mentioned above, the Central Administration of the Beijing Orthodox Church has not recognized the Moscow Patriarchate since 1917, since it was under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church Abroad. Head of the Orthodox Church in Tianjin Fr. Victor and the White émigrés also referred to themselves as members of the Church Abroad. Disagreements arose among the parishioners, and the Chinese Orthodox Church established by Chang Fu was called the "red party church." At this time, Archim. Victor was elevated to the rank of bishop and the priest Chang Fu did not recognize him. The Chang Fu movement was supported by the then Chinese Church and part of the Russian Church. Thus, led by Chang Fu, the Chinese Orthodox Church has become an independent church organization for the Chinese believers. The Tianjin Holy Innocent Temple has always belonged to the Chinese Orthodox Church, the priests who served in this temple were Chinese - after Chang Fu there were Rui Xian Zhang, Du Run Chen, Du Li Kun and others.

Orthodoxy in Tianjin gradually spread, additionally temples were built, the number of believers grew continuously. In 1933, on 32nd Street of the English Concession (now the Shanghai Road - Shanghai), the St. Seraphim Church was built in a Russian nursing home (almshouse). In 1944, the sports hall of the Russian émigré club on the then 11th Street of the English Concession (now Jianshelu Street) was converted into a temple named after St. Nicholas. In addition, the chapel near the Russian cemetery at Hedong dachzhiguhutai has been converted into a temple in the name of All Saints.

The Orthodox Church had up to five churches in Tianjin. Together with the Chinese, Greeks and believers from other countries, the number of Orthodox Christians in Tianjin at times exceeded 5,000, of which about 200 were Chinese believers. The largest influx of believers who attended churches falls on the period 1929-1939.

After Russian emigrants settled in Tianjin, some began to engage in trade, import and export of goods, opened firms selling fur, wool factories, carpet factories, printing houses, Russian-language publishing houses, alcoholic beverage factories, Russian restaurants, a blacksmith factory, bakeries, dairy shops groceries, shoe stores, trading houses, grocery stores and more. These industrial and commercial facilities mainly opened in the area of ​​Xiaobailou, Jiefanglu, Dagulu and Hedongshisanjinglu streets. Russian private practitioners, lawyers, lawyers appeared in the city, many Russians were employees and workers in foreign firms and trading houses, taught Russian.

On all Orthodox holidays, Russian believers - men and women, old and young - came to churches to take part in joint worship. The entire life of Russian people (birth, marriage, old age, illness, death) is reflected in Orthodox rituals. In addition, they also celebrated their national holidays and organized country festivities. The rectors of Orthodox churches, members of the parish council were chosen from among believers of Russian origin. Thus, a small Russian society was formed around Orthodoxy in Tianjin. It had its own inner life with its own content, origin and habits, and lived in Tianjin for several decades.

During the Second World War (1937-1945), approximately in 1938 in Tianjin, several extremely reactionary, anti-Soviet and anti-communist emigrants from Russia and the Japanese imperialists, having mutually entered into a conspiracy, established the “Russian Emigrant Committee for Combating Communism”, which was controlled by the Japanese occupation gendarmerie and secret police, which collected materials and information for the Japanese occupiers, and at the same time served as a unit for the Japanese interventionists guarding railways in the Chinese north to damage the Chinese people and undermine the anti-Japanese movement. Then, in the north of China, in cities such as Beijing, Tianjin, Zhangjiakou, Qingdao, Shandong, Yantai and others, presumably in each of them "Russian émigré anti-communist committees" were organized.

In 1938, Archbishop Victor, who became the head of the Central Administration of the Beijing Orthodox Church and Mitred Archpriest Valentin Sinaisky, appointed to serve in Tianjin, used the Orthodox Church for anti-communist activities. Both of them constantly interacted with the Japanese occupation authorities and White émigré leaders in Beijing and Tianjin. Every time in memory of the Russian emperors and the anniversary of the founding of the “Committee for the Fight against Communism,” they always came to the building of the “Anti-Communist Committee” to conduct divine services, at the same time calling on priests of Russian citizenship from other churches to take part. The activities of these two people were supported by the Japanese.

In the central office of the Beijing Orthodox Church, with the special permission of Vladyka Victor, the secretary of the Japanese intelligence agencies and several extremely reactionary White emigres lived in Beiguan. Under the guise of religious activity, they fussed in Beijing, Tianjin and throughout northern China for the joint implementation of all kinds of political deals by the Japanese occupiers and white emigrants, getting together, they exchanged political and economic information, while hatching insidious plans for the restoration of the monarchy and the domination of reaction.

In 1944, the rebuilding of the Russian émigré club in Tianjin into a temple (rector Father V. Sinaisky) coincided with the anniversary of the memory of Emperor Nicholas II, therefore this temple was consecrated in honor of St. Nicholas. At the same time, they specifically asked to send from an Orthodox church in Harbin a large icon painted by one nun, depicting Emperor Nicholas II and the whole family (seven people) glorified in the face of saints, in memory of the emperor, this large icon was placed inside the temple in a place of honor, decorated with a large salary, with engraved the names of the imperial family and the tricolor state flag of Russia.

In 1945, after the surrender of Japanese imperialism, in the Central Administration of the Beijing Orthodox Church and everywhere in separate administrations, bishops, priests, deacons, monks, and other church ministers who had Russian citizenship, including Vladyka Victor and Father Valentin of Sinai, for the most part accepted Soviet citizenship and recognized the Moscow Patriarchate. However, the rector of the Tianjin Seraphim Church, Archpriest Afanasy Shalabanov, all the time firmly adhered to his position, did not want to accept Soviet citizenship. In 1948 he left Tianjin and went to Australia.

In the period after the construction of Orthodox churches in Tianjin (1909-1956), there were a total of eight Russian-born church rectors:

All of the aforementioned priests served as rectors; before coming to China, many of them were officers of tsarist Russia and military priests. They were the people who actually ruled the Orthodox Church in Tianjin.

* Published at the request of the son of the author of this article in memory of his father, the last Orthodox priest in Tianjin, Archpriest John Du (+ 1983) This article reflects the traditional and sometimes unusual for the Russian reader view of Chinese historians on the problem of the spread of Orthodoxy in China. Back in the text