中文 | Русский | April 9, 2007
English Translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas

ORTHODOX BELIEVERS CELEBRATE HOLY PASCHA

Orthodox believers in China celebrated the great holiday Christ's radiant resurrection. In Beijing, in the old building of the Red Fangzi, on the territory of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the P.R.C. (Peoples' Republic of China) in the most numerous parish in China — there was a solemn Paschal procession and divine liturgy. Over 300 people participated in the procession. The divine service was served by Hieromonk Venedikt (Limonov), who came to Beijing from the Vladivostok diocese (from the city of Ussurisk).

The divine services of Passion Week took place in the Red Fangzi beginning from April 4th. On Holy Wednesday, Hieromonk Venedikt performed the sacrament of Holy Unction (Soborovanie) (over 40 people were annointed).

On Great Thursday, on the day the Mystical Supper is remembered, the Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great was served. The matins of Great Friday with the reading of the 12 gospels took place on Thursday evening. On the Great Friday — on the day of the crucifixion and death of the Savior - vespers with the rite of bringing out Christ's epitaphios (embroidered cloth icon shroud) and Matins of great Saturday with the rank of burial.

On the holiday of Annunciation — Saturday, April 7th — over 80 people received communion at Divine Liturgy. After Liturgy, Father Venedikt blessed Kulichi (Paschal breads), Paschal cheese dessert and Paschal eggs. Parishioners tried their best to decorate the the breads they prepared and to color eggs, observing Russian traditions under conditions of living in China .

The Red Fangzi was adorned for Pascha: new candlesticks appeared; a spotlight illumined a 3 meter high image of Christí»s resurrection; the image, in a wooden case with a glass cover, was placed behind the altar.

At 11:30 p.m., the Paschal midnight service began in the Red Fangzi — a solemn procession with banners, lamps, gospel, icons — and the singing of Paschal stikhira "Your resurrection, O Christ our Savior" passed near the wall of Red Fangzi to the devotional cross in the Embassy park. At the end the believers stopped before the closed central doors of the Red Fangzi, as if before the entrance to the Lordí»s grave. In the night sky of Beijing the priest exclaimed: "Christ is Risen!". And joyous voices replied: "Truly, He is Risen!".

During the Liturgy the gospel was read in Church Slavonic, Russian, French, English, German and Chinese, since Orthodox citizens of various countries participated in the Liturgy ( Russia, France, the Ukraine, Greece, Serbia, Poland, and the USA ). More than 80 received communion during the Liturgy. Before Pascha - on April 3rd, with the blessings of ALEXY, the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, a devotional cross was placed in the park of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the PRC, on the very spot of China's first Orthodox church, which later became the temple of All Holy Martyrs of the Russian Spiritual Mission. A memorial plaque depicted the temple and briefly described its history. On Holy Wednesday, the devotional cross was blessed by Hieromonk Venedikt.

 

On the day of Holy Pascha, during the Paschal vespers, with the blessing of ALEXY, the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia , Hieromonk Venedikt presented a St. Sergius medal (2nd class) to E. Yu. Tomikhin, senior counselor of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the PRC. The honorary award was presented to the official of the Russian embassy as a sign of appreciation for organizing the transfer of the remains of lieutenant General V.O. Kappel from Harbin to Moscow in December 2006. On April 8th, a daytime children's party was organized by parishioners of the community, by Sunday school students, and by students in the upper classes of the embassy school. The children were shown a puppet show of the paschal fairy tale, "Kolobok". Songs and poems dedicated to Christ's resurrection were heard during the concert. During competitions, children were given blessed paschal eggs and other gifts.

Pascha was also celebrated in other Orthodox parishes. In Shenzhen and Guangzhou, services of Passion Week and Holy Pascha were served by Hieromonk Melety (Sokolov) ( Moscow Theological Academy ), who came at the invitation of Orthodox communities in Guandong province. In Shenzhen, the midnight Paschal Divine Liturgy was served for the first time. Orthodox believers from Russia, Ukraine, the US, Serbia and Romania came for the services in Shenzhen, while the services in Guangzhou brought together Orthodox from Russia, Ukraine and France . Priest Alexy Kiselevich served the Paschal services in the building of the General Consulate of the Russian Federation in Shanghai. Consul Generals of Bulgaria and Greece with their spouses, citizens of these countries and Russians attended the Divine Liturgy. Over 120 people attended the Paschal service.

Orthodox from Hong Kong, Russia, the US, PRC, France, Ukraine and Serbia celebrated the radiant Resurrection of Christ in SS Peter and Paul temple in Hong Kong, where services were conducted by Fr. Dionisy Pozdnyaev. For citizens of the PRC, the service in Hong Kong was the only opportunity to attend a Paschal service.