Русский | Sept 25, 2005
English Translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas

HE Mt. Nikitas and
Rev. Dionisy Pozdnyaev
near St. Paul Basilica in Rome

The Fifth European Ecumenical Conference on Christianity in China, which took place in Rome on September 16-20, drew over 160 participants from 20 countries. The Orthodox Church was represented by Metropolitan Nikitas of Hong Kong (Patriarchate of Constantinople) and by Priest Dionisy Pozdnyaev and by Dimitry Petrovsky of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department of External Affairs.

Conference topics pertained largely to modern day problems of the Protestant and Catholic (Roman and patriotic) churches in the PRC. However, a certain amount of attention was also devoted to actual problems of China's Autonomous Orthodox Church. Therefore the presentations expressed the hope for accelerating the prolonged process of normalizing the position of the Orthodox Church in China, which aspires to exist in unity and harmony with society.

D. Petrovsky and
Rev. J. Charbonier in Vatican City

It was noted that the basic difficulties of Orthodox communities in China are the non-realization of their potential, many undecided questions pertaining to restoring the hierarchy, clerical ranks and educational system, and reviving communities in places such as Beijing, where an Orthodox community historically existed from 1685 until the period of the so-called "cultural revolution." The so-called "underground Catholic" Church in China, as well as the PRC's numerous Protestant organizations which are not part of the Protestant patriotic union, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, often refrained from officially registering their communities, as demanded by PRC authorities.

Special attention was given by conference attendees to the topics of training students from the PRC in religious educational establishments of Western Europe, the educational work of western scholars in Protestant and Catholic seminaries of the PRC, the Christian Churches' formation of cultural and social strategies in contemporary China, the question of inter-religious dialogue in the PRC and the problems of developing a uniform language for the study of biblical texts.