English | Services of communications OVTSS | on November 23, 2007 g

« The Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church: history, today, prospects » the Report of chairman of the Department of external church communications(connections) of the Moscow Patriarchate of metropolitan Smolensk and Kaliningrad Kirill

Today's our meeting is devoted to "gold" anniversary of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church. I shall remind in several features history of occurrence of this distressful Church.

Russia and China are connected with long attitudes(relations) which sources of becoming had also a Russian Orthodox Church. Our communications(connections) have a kind historical basis.

Orthodoxy has been brought to China in XVII century when per 1675 together with captured cossacks from Albazinskogo a jail to Beijing there has arrived Russian priest Maxim Leontev. Originally it was kept as religion of a captured Russian community in Beijing. With 1713 in China official Russian Spiritual Mission which long time executed functions and diplomatic representatives of Russia operated(worked). After an establishment of diplomatic relations and occurrence in Beijing embassies of Russia at which the church (it is taken down(is demolished) by the Chinese authorities in 1991) also has been arranged, The Russian Spiritual Mission has concentrated efforts to vicarial works, studying of culture and spirituality of China, to a deepening of cultural and spiritual communications(connections) between our countries. Here arose Russian sinologiya which by the right is considered one of the strongest in the world. Works of Russian missionaries Orthodoxy was included into the Chinese environment. Traditionally loyal attitude(relation) of orthodox believers to the Chinese authorities and customs has caused long peace existence believing in the Chinese environment.

To XX century, owing to work of the Russian Spiritual Missions, in China there was a numerous Chinese flock with the national clergy and the episcopate. By virtue of the political reasons the Russian Spiritual Mission in China has been abolished in 1954. In its(her) conducting at that time was more than 100 churches and prayful houses. After abolition of Mission all property has been transferred(transmitted) to the Chinese National Republic and Embassy of the USSR. The Most part of territory of Mission (so-called Bejguan – Northern farmstead) on which was three temples, a female monastery, the most part of structures and which structure included the historical site of the ground for the first time allocated(removed) in Beijing for needs of orthodox mission (1685), It has been transferred(transmitted) to Embassy of the USSR. The main temple of Mission in honour of All sacred martyrs near which there were pogrebeny chiefs of Mission and in which were power of sacred Chinese martyrs and a body of members of the Imperial family shot in Alapaevsk, has been blown up, other temples have been subjected to desecration also. Temples outside of territory of Embassy of Russia collapsed in process of vetshaniya and communicated.

On April 24, 1956 the chief of the Department of cults at the State Council of People's Republic of China KHe CHensyan has given the consent to purpose(assignment,destination) of archimandrite Vasily (SHuana) bishop Beijing which should was act as the chapter(head) of the Chinese Orthodox Church temporarily also. In the Department of cults the opinion on desirability of preservation of the orthodox center of the People's Republic of China in Beijing has been expressed. It was promised to construct a new temple and premises for clerics and orthodox. The department of cults at the State Council of the People's Republic of China has been informed(notified) on opinion of the Moscow Patriarchate on the organization of management of Orthodox Church in the People's Republic of China. On November 23rd, 1956 Sacred Synod RPTS has made a decision on talent of an autonomy of the Chinese Orthodox Church and khirotonii in bishop of the Beijing archimandrite Vasily (SHuana). Archimandrite Vasily (SHuan) was khirotonisan in bishop Beijing on May, 30th, 1957 in Moscow. After death of the Chinese citizens of bishops of Vasily Beijingskogo (1962) and Simeona Shanghai (1965) The Chinese Orthodox Church has lost arkhipastyrskogo a management(manual). In difficult conditions of "cultural revolution" its(her) life has fallen into decay. Premature full otryv Chinese Orthodoxy from Mother-church has led to complex(difficult) becoming of a young church organism and actual demolition under oppression of circumstances and likholetya to "cultural revolution".

Adverbial modifiers of time have broken off having 250-years kind historical roots between orthodox Russia and China. But after heavy in history of China and the Russian-Chinese attitudes(relations) of times they have gradually started to be restored. In 1986 the church of Harbin where the unique orthodox priest who has received the state registration served, – father Grigory Zhu has been opened(open) for fulfilment of divine services pokrovskaya. In 1994 visit of delegation of the Government on affairs of religions to Russia together with the Chinese orthodox priest from Harbin took place. Bishops of Russian Orthodox Church visited(attended) China: 1993 – metropolitan Smolensk and Kaliningrad Kirill, 1994 – bishop Dmitrovsky Innokenty. In 1996 kharbinsky the priest father Grigory Zhu has received antimins and Sacred chrism from the Patriarch Moscow and vseya Russia and used them at divine service before the death in 2000.

However the aspiration of orthodox Chineses to have a temple and a high-grade church life was not settled(exhausted) only by Harbin. It would be desirable to note, that priest Michael Li repeatedly tried to achieve the sanction to spend divine service in Shanghai. Broken by failures, father Michael has emigrated to Australia and nowadays serves in the Chinese arrival under omoforom archbishop new-zealand and Sydney Ilariona.

Any operating(working) Chinese orthodox cleric in territory of the People's Republic of China at the moment is not present. In Shanghai live being in advanced years priest Michael Van and protodiakon Evangel Lu which store(keep) hope in the heart to make the Liturgy on the Chinese ground.

On available data, now in China it is totaled about 15 000 orthodox believers. Mostly they live in Beijing, Shanghai, province KHejluntszyan, independent areas Sintszyan and the Inner Mongolia.

After years of a cultural revolution in China orthodox temples – in Sintszyane (cities Urumchis, Inin, Dachen), the Inner Mongolia (city of Erguna), provinces Heilongjiang (city of Harbin) are restored. In a number of cities of China – SHenyane, Shanghai – the kept temple buildings are included in number of monuments of architecture. However alongside with it(this) the restored and kept temples require divine service which fulfilment is at the moment extremely complicated as in China now there is no orthodox Chinese priest.

The decision of the Sacred Synod of Russian Orthodox Church from February 17, 1997 the decision of practical questions on settlement of an orthodox life in China was entrusted to chairman OVTSS. Thus we ascertain, that China is a zone of the vicarial responsibility for Russian Orthodox Church till the moment of restoration in completeness of hierarchy of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church. China – not territory of mission for Russian Orthodox Church, and initial territory of independent Church, which life is adjusted(regulated) by canons of universal Orthodoxy, internal definitions of the Chinese Autonomous Church and the Chinese national legislation.

Leitmotif of our meeting – aspiration to high-grade dialogue with ours brothers on belief in China, the mutual certificate on true KHristovoj. However this dialogue is extremely complicated, and it is necessary to imagine fairly all difficulties.

It is obvious, that the Church in China is alive, but requires normalization of the life. Especially sharply there is a question on restoration of orthodox Chinese clergy. For achievement of normalization of a church life orthodox believing in China we carry on constant dialogue with the Chinese party(side) (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, the Government on affairs of religions of the People's Republic of China, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Moscow, Academy of social studies of the People's Republic of China, the other organizations), state (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation), scientific (Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Science, Institute of oriental studies of the Russian Academy of Science, ISAA, etc.) and public organizations of Russia.

Employee OVTSS priest Dionisy Pozdnyaev is directed to Hong Kong for scientific work and studying of an opportunity of restoration of activity of the Peter and Paul arrival which has stopped the activity in Hong Kong in 1970 after death of last priest about. D.Uspenskogo. Since June 2005 in Shanghai carries out the service priest Alex Kiselevich who spends divine services for an international community in territory of general consulate of the Russian Federation.

On a regular basis employees OVTSS in a sacred dignity carry out divine services in territory of diplomatic representatives of Russia in the People's Republic of China (Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong), is conducted research, translational and publishing. At the moment the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Russian Orthodox Church in common work above restoration Uspenskogo of a temple in territory of Embassy of the Russian Federation in Beijing. It would be desirable to note especially that assistance which appears Russian Church the state bodies of Russia, in particular the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Russia, in creation of conditions for conducting wide dialogue with the Chinese party(side).

Speaking about Church in China, it is necessary to mention its(her) spiritual seed – 222 Chinese martyrs who have suffered for belief per 1900 during revolt ikhetuanej, widely known in the West under the name "boxing". Not pressing in political nuances of movement ikhetuanej, I wish to concentrate attention on a phenomenon of the Chinese martyrs. In numerous reports of chiefs of the Russian Spiritual Missions often there are messages that descendants albazintsev have completely given in typical spiritual sinkretizmu Chinese culture surrounding them, near to icons in their houses it is possible to see pagan idols often. The general(common) estimations tserkovnosti and fidelity to precepts KHristovym albazintsev were rather low. And here during the moment of a choice they show very few people expected fidelity to the Christ and Its(His) Church, including impossible to renounce the Christ. It speaks about true depth of their belief. For us albazintsy look(appear) Chineses though many of them continue to consider(count) themselves as Russian. Descendants living nowadays albazintsev and the Chinese martyrs and confessors are alive acknowledgement(confirmation) of that Orthodoxy is a real part of the Chinese culture and tradition and by the right can be called as traditional creed of China.

I visited(attended) China in 1993 under the invitation of the Chinese Protestants and bishop the Dyne from Nankinskoj seminaries with which we were connected with long teamwork within the limits of the World advice(council) of churches, but only in 2001 I managed to meet descendants albazintsev – orthodox Chinese believers. It was very touching meeting on which these past in complex(difficult) years of sufferings people told about the church life about desire to have temples and priests. It was visible, as they assigned the hopes to the aid of Russian Orthodox Church. And we try, within the limits of the Chinese legislation, to render them the feasible spiritual help. The most holy Patriarch Moscow and vseya Russia had been highly estimated(appreciated) works of archpriest Alexander Du Lifu, which before the death in 2003 okormlyal albazintsev in Beijing

Speaking about albazintsakh, it is not necessary to idealize their spiritual condition by virtue of a cargo of historical memory. Absence svyashchenstva and a normal church life have led to that their significant part has lost experience of belief and concerns to it(her) more likely as to ethnic identification. Also there are significant internal pressure(voltage) between various groups to a family attribute. I assume, that only normalization of a church life will lead to harmonization of this historically orthodox community in China.

The important stage in development of attitudes(relations) with official circles of the People's Republic of China became participation of delegation of the Chinese religious leaders and the chief of the Government on affairs of religions at the State advice(council) of the People's Republic of China of E.Syaovenya in the World summit of religious leaders in Moscow in July 2006.

Within the limits of work of this forum the meeting of the Most holy Patriarch Moscow and vseya Russia Alex with representatives of the Government on affairs of religions (GUDR) took place at the State advice(council) of the People's Republic of China. Last time delegation GUDR together with the priest of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church about. Grigory Zhu has visited(attended) Russia in 1994. It is pleasant, that present visit has passed(has taken place) at the highest level.

Visit was especially important, as it(he) was practical step on execution(performance) of the Plan of action on realization of positions of the Contract about good neighbourhood, friendship and cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Chinese National Republic on 2005 – 2008 which assumes to adjust dialogue and cooperation between leading religious faiths of Russia and China (ch. III, item 6).

Result of our meetings became regular direct attitudes(relations) of Russian Orthodox Church with the Government on affairs of religions of the People's Republic of China, other state, scientific and public institutes, in particular, Academy of social studies of the People's Republic of China and the Chinese association on religious and cultural communications(connections).

A taken place meeting has given the certain impulse to bilaterial communications(connections) of Russian Orthodox Church with patriotic vsekitajskimi the religious organizations of Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants, moslems and daosov. We hope, that the Chinese association on religious and cultural communications(connections) which unites representatives of five traditional religions of China, becomes the natural partner of Interreligious Advice(Council) of Russia which unites four traditional religious groups of Russia – orthodox, moslems, Buddhists and iudeev.

Wishing to have a spiritual life in completeness and keeping historical memory of communications(connections) with Russian Orthodox Church, orthodox citizens of China repeatedly addressed to us with requests to direct the priest to China for fulfilment for them divine services and treb – christening, weddings, church burial. Some of them would wish to receive spiritual formation(education) and to serve Church in a curacy. But in the present(true) conditions we cannot give the high-grade answer to the given references(manipulations).

The Chinese orthodox believers by virtue of historical circumstances cannot realize completely the religious beliefs, first of all, because of absence of priests and regular divine services. Russian Orthodox Church does not aspire to missionary activity in territory of the People's Republic of China, and is interested in restoration of activity of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church and as the Church-mother is ready to assist in a direction of the Russian priests as a provisional measure (first of all, in existing temples in Sintszyane and Northeast of China) and preparation national Chinese svyashchennicheskikh the staff at spiritual schools of Russia and the subsequent them postavleniya in a sacred dignity at coordination of the efforts with the Government on affairs of religions of the People's Republic of China.

Well-known complexity of position with Catholics and Protestants in the People's Republic of China. I mean unwillingness of a part of Catholic and Protestant communities initiated by external forces to pass(take place) the state registration within the limits of vsekitajskikh patriotic associations. It is important to note, that, unlike the specified groups, orthodox Chineses manage to keep internal unity, including owing to that Russian Orthodox Church does not support(maintain) creation of any underground structures, considering necessary legitimate restoration, including legal, the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church registered and existed up to 1962. We know, that Chinese orthodox wish to be officially registered according to the legislation of the People's Republic of China. However while in China there are no orthodox religious organizations though those existed up to the middle of 1960th years.

Now at spiritual schools of Russian Orthodox Church some citizens of the People's Republic of China who count are trained, that they can, as original patriots of the Native land to serve as priests in China. I hope, that during dialogue with the Chinese party(side) we shall find the mutually acceptable decision on an opportunity khirotonii new Chinese priests and bishops. It can be accomplished by bishops of Russian Orthodox Church both in Russia, and in China. Russian Orthodox Church and in the further is ready to help(assist) with reception of spiritual formation(education) by the recommended Government on affairs of religions to candidates from China.

Concern Svyashchennonachaliya of Russian Orthodox Church causes also a state of affairs with the kept temple buildings in Shanghai. In Shanghai there was a faculty of one of two Chinese bishops – bishop Shanghai Simeona (Du), the name of prelate John is connected with Shanghai (Maksimovicha). Now the cathedral in honour of icon Bozhiej of mother « Sporuchnitsa guilty » is restored. It would Be represented organic that till the period of restoration of national episcopal faculty in Shanghai the given temples were used in the cultural purposes (for example, for the organization in them of a museum of Russian emigration in Shanghai).

Area of traditionally mutual interest is opposition to destructive sects. Earlier we directed our experts to China for representation of experience of Russian Orthodox Church in this area. I hope, as in the further such cooperation will proceed. However it is necessary to note, that the most productive form of opposition to sects is the activity of traditional religious groups organized up to the mark. Only normally arranged spirituality can create the healthy environment in which occurrence of cancer tumours of sectarianism is inconvenient.

Now cooperation between Ploshchanskoj pustynyu the Bryansk diocese of Russian Orthodox Church and the Beijing military hospital in a direction of rehabilitation suffering game, narcotic and other forms of dependence develops. I hope, that in the further will receive development and other forms of an exchange of experience on socially focused activity of the religious organizations.

The reached(achieved) arrangements not all are realized, but the vector of cooperation which should be developed is set. So important are represented the widest contact to the Chinese party(side) – official structures, the educational and scientific organizations, bilaterial attitudes(relations) with the Chinese believers, first of all Catholics and Protestants. And not only at the central level but also that is especially important, at a level of regional contacts. And here the role of frontier dioceses cannot be underestimated.

Otdelennost in Russia and in China from the state the question about proceeding allows to close Churches to be kept in the Chinese public consciousness mifologemakh about Russian Orthodox Church as a conductor of a colonial policy of imperial Russia.

The most thinking Chinese scientists have refused it(this), it was pleasant to hear at a meeting in Beijing in November 2007, as the Chinese Christians-Catholics do not divide(share) such points of view, and look at Russian Orthodox Church and the Chinese orthodox Christians as brothers on belief. In this connection interest in China to Bases of the social concept of Russian Orthodox Church is absolutely clear.

Now at a level of practical study there is a carrying out by forces of the scientific and educational centers of Russian Orthodox Church and the academic and educational centers of the People's Republic of China at support OVTSS and GUDR joint conferences and seminars concerning history of the Russian-Chinese communications(connections), the newest history of Russia and China, to questions of a religious life, political philosophy, questions of riches and poverty, the multipolar world, human rights.

Such public dialogue is equally useful also to the Chinese party(side). Russian Orthodox Church possesses unique experience of revival after many years of persecutions, preservation of unity, not looking on destruction of political borders, in conditions of crisis, disintegration of the state and civil war. Such experience is unique and important for the People's Republic of China.

Symptomatic and opening known positive prospect the decision recently last 17 congresses of a handheld computer that now the handheld computer conducts « religious work » (tszuntszyao guntszo) is represented. It creates conditions for high-grade dialogue. Would consider(count) important more widely to get acquainted with the accepted decisions in dialogue with the Chinese colleagues.

Having more than 300-years history, today Chinese Orthodoxy it is not presented in any way on a world scene. Forthcoming Olympic Games in Beijing bring this attention to the question including about the organization spiritual okormleniya sportsmen from the orthodox countries, for many of which sacred names of prelates of John Shankhajskogo and Ions KHankousskogo, 222 Chinese martyrs and other conducted and unknown devotees of the ground Chinese are indexes in a spiritual life even more sharply. Their aspiration during a special pressure(voltage) of all forces during competitions is natural to address in prays to the God and glorified by It(Him) Chinese sacred. By us there is begun dialogue structurally supported(maintained) by the Chinese party(side) on maintenance spiritual okormleniya sportsmen of the orthodox countries during Olympiad in Beijing. Certainly, the acuteness(witticism) of the given question would be considerably lowered in conditions is high-grade functioning Chinese Orthodox Church for which revival we pray and on which blessing we work.

Now attitudes(relations) of Russia and China, characterized strategic partnership, have led to that the significant part of our compatriots temporarily or constantly lives in territory of the Chinese National Republic. In territory of diplomatic representatives of Russia in Beijing and Shanghai priests of Russian Orthodox Church make for them divine services. However Russian people live not only in Beijing or Shanghai, and on all territory of the vast Median state. And for them necessary spiritual support would be the open temples of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church and the Chinese clerics whom vivifying church Sacraments could prepodat it(him).

Our compatriots in China represent for us from the initial point of view flock of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church. So we do not register(record) arrivals of Russian Orthodox Church to China.

Separate aspect is the question on Chineses which find belief during stay in Russia. When they to Russia come to our temples with sincere spiritual search, it is important to find for them the necessary words, including in the Chinese language. In this sense there is the extremely positive experience of the Vladivostok, Blagoveshchensk, Khabarovsk dioceses on the organization of excursions on temples in the Chinese language, to the edition of the orthodox literature in the Chinese language and other. There was a successful experience when OVTSS prepared for the edition molitvoslovy in the Chinese language, and then they were pereizdany several circulations in Vladivostok, Khabarovsk and Blagoveshchensk. Now the brotherhood of apostles Peter and Paul in Hong Kong prepares for printing significant number of the literature in the Chinese language. Would consider(count) useful reprinting by their forces of frontier dioceses for formation prikhodskikh libraries of the orthodox literature in the Chinese language.

Some orthodox believing Chineses living in Russia, having found belief and wishing to it(her) to share with the compatriots, start to publish magazines or to use electronic mass-media. And in this undertaking support and wise advice(council) from dioceses of Russian Orthodox Church is necessary – magazines should bear(carry) the spiritual and cultural message and not turn at all to the politized bodies. A successful example of such cooperation is published at support of the Central Asian diocese the magazine « Chinese blagovestie ».

Finding of church unity with RPTSZ brings one more attention to the question in a context of China. For many parishioners of Foreign Church China is a small Native land, a place of finding of the first church experience. As it is important to have for them an opportunity to see the revived darlings since the childhood temples, to pray, visit(attend) cemeteries where are based their native, to have an opportunity to make there requiem or to lithium. It is necessary to note, that in this case we speak any more about citizens of Russia, and citizens of Australia, America or the Europe who are children of uniform Russian Church.

From all told it is visible, that Russian Orthodox Church does not aspire to renewal of the missionary activity in territory of the People's Republic of China, and tests brotherly concern about coreligionists in China and is interested in restoration of activity of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church. At a stage of restoration Russian Orthodox Church is ready to assist in the decision of the mentioned internal questions, first of all – occurrences of the Chinese priests, according to the approaches comprehensible to the Chinese party(side). I consider(count), that now there is all preconditions for realization of unique historical chance on restoration of Orthodox Church in China.

The history considered(examined) by us and today of Chinese Orthodoxy enable us to emphasize once again, that it has the long history implanted in two apostles KHristovykhFome, the apostle of Asia, and Andrey, the educator of Russia. Would like in this connection to call some radical journalists sometimes positioning as orthodox, to observance of the historical truth and church discipline that will allow to avoid it(him) in the further inadequate consecration of questions of Orthodoxy in China and appeals to radical missionary actions. China knows about the Christ, nowadays the general(common) number of Christians in the People's Republic of China is made almost 50 million by person. The Chinese orthodox believers are an organic part of this group. They are numerically small, but their fortress in belief amazes and gives to our to hope for mercy Bozhie.

We with understanding concern to all existing complexities which have not allowed the Chinese believing and Chinese officials to take part(participate) in a today's meeting. But we shall be submissively works and to hope that following anniversaries we shall mark(celebrate) joint divine service in China representatives of all Orthodox Churches, the headed Chinese bishop of a hailstones of Beijing.

I trust, that on not uttered favour Bozhiej and prays of all Chinese sacred the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church will take appropriate it(her) from the Lord a place in fertile family of Orthodox Churches.