Русский | April 5, 2007
English Translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas

Before Holy Pascha, a monument is raised on the territory of Russia's embassy to the PRC

On April 3, in preparation for Holy Pascha, a devotional cross and memorial plaque were placed in the park of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the PRC, on the site of the Russian Spiritual Mission's first Orthodox Church in China, later the temple of the All Holy Martyrs of China. The plaque depicts the temple and briefly describes its history.

On Holy Wednesday, the cross was solemnly blessed by hiermonk Venedict (Limonov), who arrived in Beijing from the Vladivostok eparchy (from the city of Ussuriisk) in order to conduct the services of Passion Week and Holy Pascha for the Orthodox community of Beijing.

The very first Orthodox temple, a wooden one, was built by Albazinians, Russian cossacks, who, from 1685, served in the imperial guards of the Qing (Manchu) dynasty, and who founded their own settlement on Beijing soil. Later St. Nicholas church was built on this site, but the church was destroyed during the "Boxer rebellion" and the seizure of the territory of the Russian Spiritual Mission. The 222 holy Chinese Orthodox martyrs who perished during the insurrection were buried in a communal grave, over which the temple of the All Holy Martyrs was built in 1903-1904 (consecrated June 10 (23), 1904).

In 1938, the remains of members of the House of Romanoff, who were victims of the 1918 Alapayevsk tragedy, were re-buried in the temple: Great Prince Sergey Mikhailovich, princes of the imperial bloodline - Ioann Konstantinovich, Konstantine Konstantinovich, Igor Konstantinovich, and the administrator of the palace of Great Prince Sergey Michailovich, Fyodor Semyonovich Remeza. Their remains ad been brought to Beijing from Russia, and from 1920 they remained in a crypt at the Russian Spiritual Mission's cemetery.

Finding their final rest in the temple were the heads of the XVIII and XIX Russian Spiritual Mission: Metropolitan Innokenty (Figurovsky) (1863-1931) and Archbishop Simon (Vinogradov) (1876-1933). General D.L. Horvat (1858-1937), Director of the Chinese Eastern Railway was also buried next to the temple.

The cross and white marble memorial plaque were prepared by a Chinese firm, with resources made available by Boris Alexandrov, grand nephew of Metropolitan Viktor (Svyatin) (1893-1966), the head of the last Spiritual Mission to China. In 2005, Alexandrov carried out geophysical tests to determine the exact location of the Church and the burials in the crypt. The memorial was placed above the altar of the destroyed temple.

The construction of the memorial monuments on the territory of the Russian Embassy in Beijing on the eve of the celebration of Christ's Pascha in 2007 is deeply symbolic, for it not only allows to give what is due to those historical events which took place here, on the territory of the Russian Spiritual Mission, but also helps to resurrect the soul of every believer. After half a century of oblivion, the memory of the Russian and Chinese martyrs, as well as those buried with them, is once again revived in Orthodox veneration.