June 26, 2006
HAMILTON, ONTARIO — Red silks with
gold thread. Steaming noodles and crab claws. Commemorating spiritual ancestors
in China: A typical gathering of Orthodox Christians?
It is for the
Orthodox Church in China, and their brethren in Christ in Canada.
On Saturday, June
11/24, 2006, All Saints of North America Orthodox Church in Hamilton, Ontario
Canada, hosted its first annual dinner in support of the Chinese Orthodox
The Project combines
the work of the Chinese Orthodox Translation Project in Boston, MA, and the
seminary training and work of Chinese Orthodox missionaries headquartered in
Hong Kong and Moscow. In the end, along with added donations, the dinner raised
$3000 Canadian for the Chinese Missions.
His Grace Bishop
SERAPHIM of Ottawa and Canada was joined by six clergy at the Vespers service,
followed by Small Compline and a beautiful singing of the Akathist to the
Martyrs of China. Many people had never heard an Akathist sung before, so this
was a special joy for us to share together. The feast of the Martyrs of China
(Old Style) coincided this year with the weekend of the parish feast
“It was evident from
the beginning of the evening that there was a real sense of excitement in the
room,” said Father Geoffrey Korz, priest of the parish. “We originally expected
an evening with a few friends to mark the feast of the Martyrs of China. It just
grew.” In the end, more than sixty people attended, sitting down to a
delicious Lenten Chinese banquet — a real blessing of the variability of Chinese
owners were very generous when they found out the nature of the banquet,”
remarked Father Geoffrey. “One suggested that we forego certain more exotic
dishes, which Canadian tastes might not enjoy. All my Chinese Orthodox relatives
insisted that a banquet for the Feast Day wouldn’t be complete without them. In
the end, every dish was finished, and guests said they were the best part of the
After the meal, His
Grace Bishop Seraphim spoke about the personal call to exercise love for
everyone, not just those like ourselves, in sharing Christ and His Church with
the world. Next, Archpriest Oleg Kirilov, the priest from the Russian cathedral
in Toronto, gave a delightfully funny address about the complexities of Orthodox
life, and brought brotherly good wishes from our sister OCA parish. He presented
the parish with a beautiful, wall cross from Russia.
Father Geoffrey gave
the main address on the roots of Christ's witness in Chinese antiquity, a talk
which grew out of the writings and research of Hieromonk Damascene of St.
Herman's in Platina, as well as Mitrophan Chin’s interview and the archaelogical
articles published at www.orthodox.cn. The talk emphasized the fact that the
Lord has never left Himself without witnesses, in any place or generation, and
that Orthodox missions in China are really a task of providing a path of return
for Chinese people to their pre-Communist, pre-philosophical, pre-pagan roots.
It was the ideal opportunity to underscore the importance of the indigenous,
autonomous Chinese Church, and to emphasize that foreign-led missions in China
have always proven to be failures, and that our task is to support the
autonomous Church in China. The talk was well-received.
At the end of the
evening, His Grace Bishop Seraphim was presented with a traditional red silk
cloth, signed by all those who attended; a similar cloth will be displayed at
the parish of All Saints of North America.
By the prayers of the
Martyrs of China, may the Lord bless that this event be repeated again next
year, with the wider participation of Orthodox parishes from other local
Father Geoffrey Korz www.asna.ca