Report of the Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk to the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (October 3-8, 2004). On external church activity.

I. Care of the Diaspora of the Russian Orthodox Church

English Translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas

"...I would like to especially pause about the situation of our diaspora in Eastern Asia. Through the efforts of associates of the Department, regular pastoral nourishment of our compatriots is being carried out on the territory of the Chinese People's Republic -- in Beijing (北京), Shanghai (上海), Hong Kong (香港), Shenzhen (深圳). Divine services are held on the territory of the Russian Embassy in Beijing, the general consulates in Shanghai and Hong Kong, on the premises of the Russian cultural association "Resurrection in Shenzhen. Since May 2003, a Department associate, priest Dionisy Pozdnyaev, is on a long term assignment to Hong Kong, for research at the invitation of the Chinese-Christian Research Institute and for spiritual nourishment of our compatriots. Clerics of the Astana--Alma Ata and Yekaterinburg dioceses repeatedly visit Xinjiang (新疆) and Harbin (哈尔滨) to develop pastoral contacts and to conduct divine services with the consent of PRC authorities.

December 16, 2003 marked the death of archpriest Du Lifu (杜立福) of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church, who had been ordained at the beginning of the 1950s by the head of the 20th Russian Spiritual Mission in China, archbishop Viktor (Svyatinin). Today 18 students from the Chinese People's Republic are studying in our theological schools and many of them have shown good results and a readiness to serve the Church in the ranks of the ordained.

Continuing to serve in Seoul is hieromonk Theophan (Kim, 金), sent to South Korea at the request of Bishop Sotirios of Zelon (Constantinople Patriarchate) to provide spiritual nourishment to our compatriots. After Kim Jong-Il (金正日), chairman of the state defense committee, publicly declared an intention to build an Orthodox church in Pyongyang (平壤), there were repeated exchanges of delegations for technical consultations on church construction by the Department of External Church Relations, the council of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, 朝鲜民主主义人民共和国) and the Orthodox committee of the DPRK. In June 2003, Archbishop (currently Metropolitan) Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk consecrated the first stone of the church being built in honor of the Life-giving Trinity. While the church building is under construction, priest Dionisy Pozdnyaev is carrying out pastoral care for our compatriots in Pyongyang, with divine services being held on the territory of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Pyongyang. Four North Korean students are studying in Moscow theological schools. Two students from the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary are studying in the University of Kim Il-Sung (金日成) in Pyongyang.

Hegumen Oleg (Cherepanin) who serves the Russian Orthodox Church in the Kingdom of Thailand, also makes pastoral visits to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. Department associates continue their efforts to regularly nourish Orthodox believers in Vietnam, particularly the parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in the city of Vũng Tàu (頭頓市). Trips to Manila (Philippines) take place at the request of believing compatriots. Pastoral care for Orthodox believers living in India is maintained. Besides the traditional divine services in Russia's embassy in Delhi, there have been pastoral visits to Mumbai and Chennai, with divine services were held on the territory of Russia's general consulates. In response to numerous requests by the "Ivushka" association of compatriots in Nepal, clerics of the Russian Orthodox Church serve/nourish Orthodox compatriots living there. A cleric of the Belgorod diocese, hieromonk Ioasaph (Tandibalang) is serving in Indonesia, directed to Jakarta for missionary service, nourishment of the Orthodox community of our compatriots and for the restoration of parish activity of the Russian Orthodox Church in Indonesia which exists since the 1940s of the past century.