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Nativity services will take place in five Chinese cities

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  • Nelson Mitrophan Chin
    http://orthodox.cn/news/20090106nativity_en.htm originally published in Russian by rian.ru January 6, 2009 18:17 English translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2009
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      http://orthodox.cn/news/20090106nativity_en.htm

      originally published in Russian by rian.ru
      January 6, 2009 18:17

      English translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas

      Nativity services will take place in five Chinese cities

      XIANGGANG (Hong Kong), Jan. 6 - RIA Novosti, Kira Pozdnyaeva
      [reporting]. Clergy from Russia, Australia, the USA and the Czech
      Republic have come to China to conduct Nativity services in the five
      existing communities of the Russian Orthodox Church - Beijing,
      Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, according to the RIA
      Novosti's correspondent.


      "In preparation for the Nativity of Christ, the iconostasis of the
      temple of St. Innokenty of Irkutsk (Red Fangzi) on the grounds of
      Russia's Embassy in China, where the Spiritual Mission had previously
      been located, has been renewed; it was painted especially for this
      temple by graduates of the school of iconography at the Moscow
      Theological Academy," - stated Hieromonk Melety (Sokoloff), an
      instructor from the Moscow Theological Academy who had come from Moscow.


      On the grounds of the Russian Embassy in Beijing, the temple of the
      Dormition, built at the beginning of the [20th] century and in recent
      years used as a garage, is also being restored.

      Historical perspective

      The history of Orthodoxy in China is over 300 years old. The Orthodox
      faith was brought to the country by Cossack prisoners, defending the
      Albazin fortress on the banks of the Amur River. About 50 families of
      their descendants still live in China and adhere to the faith of their
      ancestors. The Russian Spiritual Mission in China, established in the
      times of Peter the Great, also had a diplomatic role. Thanks to the
      efforts of missionaries, by 1918 there were about 10 thousand Chinese
      Orthodox.

      During the 1917 Revolution hundreds of thousands of immigrants fleeing
      to China brought with them their culture and faith. By the middle of
      the 20th century there were more than a hundred temples in Beijing,
      Harbin, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Hankou, Tianjin. And in
      1957, the Orthodox Church in China achieved the status of autonomy.

      The existence of Orthodoxy in China was in jeopardy during the
      "Cultural Revolution", marked by large-scale destruction of temples
      and cemeteries, the desecration of the relics and icons, and
      persecution of believers. There were no divine services in China for
      over 20 years.

      During the 80's due to ongoing reforms in China Orthodoxy began to
      revive. One of the temples of Harbin was opened during those years.

      At the present time more than 10 thousands of Chinese Orthodox
      believers live in various provinces of China. The majority of
      believers live in Harbin and the autonomous regions of Xinjiang and
      Inner Mongolia. Because there are no Chinese clerics, Nativity
      services in temples located in these regions will be coducted by laymen.

      Regular services for Orthodox Russians and international believers
      have been taking place in China since 1997.
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