Русский | 'DECR Communication Service of the Russian Orthodox Church'

Memorial Service in Hong Kong at the Grave of Last Russian Priest of the Beijing Mission

English Translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas

On April 20, 2004, on the day of the Paschal commemoration of the deceased, Priest Dionisy Pozdnjaev of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate served a memorial service[1] in Hong Kong at the grave of Archpriest Dimitry Uspensky, last member of Russian Spiritual Mission in China.

Before his death in January, 1970 Father Dimitry served as parish priest of SS Peter and Paul parish in Hong Kong.

Approximately forty of our compatriots found their last shelter in the same cemetery.

Archpriest Dimitry Uspensky was assigned to Hong Kong in 1933 by the chief of the Russian Spiritual Mission in China, Bishop Victor (Svyatin). At that time Hong Kong had many Orthodox emigres from Russia. In addition to serving them, Fr. Dimitry was entrusted with servicing home churches in Guangzhou, Macao and Manila.

World War II did not bypass Hong Kong, and the 1949 revolutionary events in China posed many problems for the parish. The number of parishioners declined sharply; communication with the ruling bishop was interrupted. In 1968 the Hong Kong parish was on the verge of closing.

Not having the strength to conduct divine services, Fr. Dimitry intended to submit an official resignation to Patriarch Alexy I. However parishioners asked the pastor to at least hear their confessions and to provide spiritual advice.

On January, 17, 1970 Fr. Dimitry fell asleep in the Lord. His funeral was served by Bishop Germogen of Podolsk and Archpriest Arkady Tyshchuk. Archpriest Dimitry was buried at the Protestant cemetery[2] of City of Hong Kong near his wife and older daughter. Peter and Paul parish soon ceased to function.

Endnotes by Alan Ho

1. When Metropolitan Kiril of Smolensk and Kaliningrad visited Hong Kong from Moscow more than two years ago he said prayers at the grave of Father Uspensky. Prior to that, Father George Vladimirou (now Bishop Vladimirou of Nilopolis), first Chancellor of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, said prayers at the grave (and other Orthodox graves mentioned in the news item) in 1998, in commemoration of the Souls.

2. The cemetery in which Father Uspensky is buried is the Hong Kong (Colonial) Cemetery in Happy Valley, which was not restricted to Protestants. It was open to people of different faiths including people of Jewish and Buddhist background. There is nevertheless a sizeable church (largely in disuse) on the cemetery grounds.