Chinese Orthodox Church

Chinese Orthodox Church

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Encyclopedia
The Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church is an autonomous Eastern Orthodox church in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. It was granted autonomy by its mother church, the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 in the mid-1950s.

Ancient Period


Christianity is believed to have been founded in China by the apostle Thomas around the year 68 A.D. There is also evidence to suggest the missionary of a few Syrian Christians during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220AD). Some Christians attribute Isaiah 49:12 to be a prophecy of the foundation of Christianity in China. After the East-West Schism
East-West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

, the church in China was divided into two groups, Roman Catholicism and Chinese Orthodoxy, both present in significant amounts.

Nestorianism



Nestorian Christianity (not to be confused with Chinese Orthodoxy) was introduced to China in the 7th century by a Persian Nestorian
Nestorianism
Nestorianism is a Christological doctrine advanced by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428–431. The doctrine, which was informed by Nestorius's studies under Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch, emphasizes the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus...

 missionary, but was suppressed in the 9th century. The Nestorian Christianity of that period is commemorated by the Nestorian Stele
Nestorian Stele
The Nestorian Stele is aTang Chinese stele erected in 781 that documents 150 years of history of early Christianity in China. It is a 279-cm tall limestone block with text in both Chinese and Syriac, describing the existence of Christian communities in several cities in northern China...

 and Daqin Pagoda
Daqin Pagoda
Daqin Pagoda in Chang'an, Shaanxi Province, located about two kilometres to the west of Louguantai temple, is the remnant of the earliest surviving Christian church in China. The church and the monastery were built in 640 by early Nestorian missionaries...

 of Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

. Christianity was again introduced in the 13th century via the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 during the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 but declined rapidly with the coming of the native Chinese Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 in the 14th century.

Russian Mission



Russian/Siberian Orthodox missonaries arrived in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 in 1685. In that year, the Kangxi Emperor
Kangxi Emperor
The Kangxi Emperor ; Manchu: elhe taifin hūwangdi ; Mongolian: Энх-Амгалан хаан, 4 May 1654 –20 December 1722) was the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty, the first to be born on Chinese soil south of the Pass and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper, from 1661 to 1722.Kangxi's...

 resettled 31 inhabitants from the captured fort of Albazin
Albazin
Albazino is a village in Skovorodinsky District of Amur Oblast, Russia, noted as the site of Albazin , the first Russian settlement on the Amur River....

 on the Amur River.

The first mission establishment was begun in 1715 at Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 by an Orthodox Archimandrite
Archimandrite
The title Archimandrite , primarily used in the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic churches, originally referred to a superior abbot whom a bishop appointed to supervise...

, Hilarion. This mission is first recorded in the Russo-Chinese Treaty of Kyakhta (1727). Under Sava Vladislavich
Sava Vladislavich
Count Savva Lukich Vladislavich-Raguzinsky was a Serbian merchant-adventurer in the employ of Peter the Great who conducted important diplomatic negotiations in Constantinople, Rome and Beijing...

's pressure, the Chinese government conceded to the Russians the right to build an Orthodox chapel at the ambassadorial quarters of Beijing. The mission published four volumes of research in Chinese studies in the 1850s and 60s. Two clerics became well-known for scholarship in the subject, Father Iakinf Bichurin, and the Archimandrite Palladius Kafarov, who also compiled a "very valuable" dictionary. During the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

, the mission suffered greatly, including the destruction of its library.

Leaders of the Russian Mission

  • Father Maxim Leontieff, 1685-1712.
  • Archimandrite Ambrose (Umatoff), 1755-1771.
  • Archimandrite Peter (Kamensky), 1820-1830.
  • Archimandrite Policarp (Tougarinoff), 1840-1849.
  • Archimandrite Ioakinf Bichurin, 1806-1821.
  • Father Daniel Siviloff, 1820-1830.
  • Father Avvakum Chestnoy, 1830-1840.
  • Archimandrite Pallady (Kafarov)
    Pyotr Kafarov
    Pyotr Ivanovich Kafarov , also known by his monastic name Palladius , , was an early Russian sinologist.Kafarov was born in the family of an Orthodox priest...

    , 1849–1859 and 1864-1878.
  • Archimandrite Gury (Karpoff), 1858-1864.
  • Father Flavian, 1878-1884.
  • Archimandrite Amfilochy (Loutovinoff), 1883-1896.
  • Metropolitan Innocent (Figourovsky) of Beijing and All-China. Archimandrite 1897-1901, Bishop of Beijing 1902-1921, Archbishop of Beijing and All-China 1922-1928, Metropolitan 1928-1931.
  • Archbishop Simon (Vinogradov), 1928-1933.
  • Archbishop Victor (Svjatin) of Beijing. Bishop of Shanghai 1928-1933, Bishop of Beijing and All-China 1933-1938, Archbishop 1938-1956.
  • Saint John Maximovitch
    John of Shanghai and San Francisco
    Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco also John the Wonderworker was a noted Eastern Orthodox ascetic and hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia who was active in the mid-20th century...

    , Bishop of Shanghai 1934-~1946, Archbishop ~1946-1949.

Boxer Rebellion and the Cultural Revolution


The Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

 of 1898-1900 saw violent attacks on Chinese converts to Christianity. Some Orthodox Chinese were among those killed, and in June every year, the 222 Chinese Orthodox, including Father Mitrophan, who died in 1900, are commemorated as remembered on the icon
Icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

 of the Holy Martyrs of China
Chinese Martyrs
Chinese Martyrs is the name given to a number of members of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church who were killed in China during the 19th and early 20th centuries. They are celebrated as martyrs by their respective churches...

. The mission's library at Beijing was also burned down. In spite of the uprising, by 1902, there were 32 Orthodox churches in China with close to 6,000 adherents. The church also ran schools and orphanage
Orphanage
An orphanage is a residential institution devoted to the care of orphans – children whose parents are deceased or otherwise unable or unwilling to care for them...

s.

106 Orthodox churches were opened in China by 1949. In general, the parishioners of these churches were Russian refugees and the Chinese part was composed of about 10,000 people. Many churches were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (St Nicholas' Orthodox church in Harbin
Harbin Russians
The term Harbin Russians or Russian Harbinites refers to several generations of Russians who lived in the city of Harbin, a major junction city on the Chinese Eastern Railway , from approximately 1898 to the mid-1960s....

, for example).

Today


Although the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 extends official recognition to some religious communities (Protestantism
Protestantism in China
Protestant Christianity entered China in the early 19th century, taking root in a significant way during the Qing Dynasty. Some historians consider the Taiping Rebellion to have been influenced by Protestant Christian teachings. Since the mid-20th century, there has been an increase in the number...

, Islam
Islam in China
Throughout the history of Islam in China, Chinese Muslims have influenced the course of Chinese history. Chinese Muslims have been in China for the last 1,400 years of continuous interaction with Chinese society...

, Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism in China
Chinese Buddhism refers collectively to the various schools of Buddhism that have flourished in China since ancient times. Buddhism has played an enormous role in shaping the mindset of the Chinese people, affecting their aesthetics, politics, literature, philosophy and medicine.At the peak of the...

), Orthodox Christianity
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and Roman Catholicism are not among them (though with the latter, the Chinese government had formed a "Patriotic Catholic Church" or "Patriotic Catholic Association
Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association
The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association , abbreviated CPA, CPCA, or CCPA, is an association of people, established in 1957 by the People's Republic of China's Religious Affairs Bureau to exercise state supervision over mainland China's Catholics...

" which is not in communion with Rome
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

). The officially declared reason for the government's non-recognition of the Orthodox Church is the government's fear that external political forces from outside nations—in this case, primarily Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

—could achieve influence within China.

Several Orthodox congregations continue to meet in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, in northeast China
Northeast China
Northeast China, historically known in English as Manchuria, is a geographical region of China, consisting of the three provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang. The region is sometimes called the Three Northeast Provinces...

 (in Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
For the river known in Mandarin as Heilong Jiang, see Amur River' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. "Heilongjiang" literally means Black Dragon River, which is the Chinese name for the Amur. The one-character abbreviation is 黑...

 and elsewhere) and in western China (Xinjiang - Urumqi and Ghulja) with, apparently, the tacit consent of the government. There are also Orthodox parishes in Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

, Province of Guangdong, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 and Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

.

Two former Orthodox churches in Shanghai are currently in a process of being returned to the church but no activities are currently held inside them.

Meanwhile, as from the early 21st century, Orthodoxy operates relatively freely in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 (where the Ecumenical Patriarch has sent a metropolitan
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

. Bishop Nikitas and the Russian Orthodox
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 parish of Saint Peter and Saint Paul resumed its operation) and Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 (where archimandrite
Archimandrite
The title Archimandrite , primarily used in the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic churches, originally referred to a superior abbot whom a bishop appointed to supervise...

 Jonah George Mourtos leads a mission church).

Orthodox Evenkis


Although many of them have adopted Lamaism — which is the mainstream form of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism — the Evenks
Evenks
The Evenks are a Tungusic people of Northern Asia. In Russia, the Evenks are recognized as one of the Indigenous peoples of the Russian North, with a population of 35,527...

 of both the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China are a nominally Orthodox Christian people. Along with their Evenks cousins and a few other tribes in Siberia or in China, they are some of the only Asiatic peoples who nominally practice Orthodox Christianity, which they had voluntarily (as opposed to being coerced to do so) adopted. There are also around 3,000 Evenks in neighbouring Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
For the river known in Mandarin as Heilong Jiang, see Amur River' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. "Heilongjiang" literally means Black Dragon River, which is the Chinese name for the Amur. The one-character abbreviation is 黑...

 Province.

Further reading

  • Christianity in China
    Christianity in China
    Christianity in China is a growing minority religion that comprises Protestants , Catholics , and a small number of Orthodox Christians. Although its lineage in China is not as ancient as the institutional religions of Taoism and Mahayana Buddhism, and the social system and ideology of...

  • Protestantism in China
    Protestantism in China
    Protestant Christianity entered China in the early 19th century, taking root in a significant way during the Qing Dynasty. Some historians consider the Taiping Rebellion to have been influenced by Protestant Christian teachings. Since the mid-20th century, there has been an increase in the number...

  • Catholicism in China
  • Albazin Cossacks
  • Harbin Russians
    Harbin Russians
    The term Harbin Russians or Russian Harbinites refers to several generations of Russians who lived in the city of Harbin, a major junction city on the Chinese Eastern Railway , from approximately 1898 to the mid-1960s....

  • Timeline of Orthodoxy in China

External links

  • http://www.orthodox.cn/
  • http://www.theology.cn/
  • http://www.etheology.cn/
  • http://www.chinese.orthodoxy.ru/main.htm
  • http://www.saintjonah.org/services/chinese.htm
  • http://www.usbaltic.org/Goble/Goble42.htm
  • http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles5/MayerChina.shtml
  • http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20041027-035919-6014r.htm
  • http://www.cs.ust.hk/faculty/dimitris/metro/orth_china.html
  • http://www.orthodox-christian-comment.co.uk/news-orthodoxy_in_china.htm
  • http://aggreen.net/autocephaly/russia.html
  • http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/bookrev_woerl.aspx
  • http://www.orthodoxnews.netfirms.com/134/Beijing.htm
  • http://www.stvladimiraami.org/clergyupdate.asp
  • http://prologue.orthodox.cn/
  • http://philtar.ucsm.ac.uk/encyclopedia/christ/east/occhi.html
  • http://www.cs.ust.hk/faculty/dimitris/metro/hkmetropolis.html
  • Recent article on Russians & Russian culture in China
  • Orthodoxy in China
  • Article on Chinese Orthodox Church on the CNEWA website