Русский | Interfax | December 27, 2007
English Translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas

Representation (An embassy church) of the Autonomous Orthodox Church in China will open in Moscow

Moscow. December 27. Interfax — the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church at its winter meeting on Thursday decided to open in Moscow a representation of the Autonomous Orthodox Church in China.

The Synod's decision notes the need to continue the efforts of the Department of External Affairs to dialogue with the Chinese to normalize the situation of the Orthodox Church in China.

"Many Orthodox believers in China, in difficult circumstances, maintained faith in Christ and prayerful canonical ties with their Mother — the Russian Orthodox Church," stressed the meeting's participants, whose opinion appears in the Synod documents.

The first Orthodox priest arrived in Beijing in 1685 from an Albazinian fortress and the Russian Spiritual Mission in China has functioned since 1713. The Mission's activities — including learning the language, culture, history and contemporary life of the Chinese people — made a significant contribution to the development of sinology in Russia.

In 1954 the Mission was abolished for political reasons. In 1956 the Russian Synod granted autonomy to the Chinese Orthodox Church and appointed Archimandrite Vasily (Yao Shuanglin) to the See of Beijing. However, after his death in 1962, when the Chinese Orthodox Church was left without his archpastoral leadership, church life came to a standstill.

In 1997 the Russian Church 's Synod determined that, in the present circumstances, the canonical care for the Orthodox Church in China is assumed by Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia.