ROC Holy Synod meeting minutes: Journal No. 139 from Dec 27, 2007
originally published in Russian by patriarchia.ru
English translation by Katherine Ilachinski
The minutes of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church
From December 27, 2007.
Journal No. 139
The meeting of the Holy Synod, presided by the Patriarch
Report of His Eminence Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, held with the blessing of Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church, as well as about measures to normalize the situation of the Orthodox Church in China.
With the blessing of Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia, on November 23, 2007 in the Pilgrimage Center of the Moscow Patriarchate was held commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church. Prayer and remembrance of the Chinese martyrs and bishops, clergy and laity of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church were conducted. A scientific conference was held, attended by bishops, clergy and laity of the Russian Orthodox Church, representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry leadership and key staff of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia addressed and welcomed the participants of celebrations.
Established by the Holy Synod of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in China from 1713. Because of political reasons the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in China was abolished in 1954.
On November 23, 1956 the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has decided to grant autonomy to the Chinese Orthodox Church and to consecrate Bishop of Beijing Archimandrite Vasily (Shuang). With the consent of the authorities of the PRC, Archimandrite Vasily (Shuang) was consecrated Bishop of Beijing on May 30, 1957 in Moscow and was to lead the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church. After the death of Chinese citizens - bishops Vasily of Beijing (in 1962) and Simeon of Shanghai (in 1965) the Chinese Orthodox Church was deprived of archpastoral leadership. In the harsh conditions of the "Cultural Revolution" church life went into decline: all the Orthodox churches were closed, many priests have undergone persecution.
According to reports, now in China there are about 15,000 Orthodox faithful. They mostly live in Beijing, Shanghai, Heilongjiang Province, autonomous regions of Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia.
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in the determination of February 17, 1997 stated that, since the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church currently does not have a primate, until his election by the Local Council of this Church according to Orthodox canon, the canonical administration of the dioceses of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church should be carried out by the Primate of the Mother Church - Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Chairman of the DECR was entrusted with the practical issues of settlement of Orthodox life in China.
1. Take note of the report.
2. Note that in the difficult conditions many Orthodox believers in China have kept their faith in Christ and canonical prayer ties with the Mother - the Russian Orthodox Church.
3. Continue efforts of the Department for External Church Relations in the dialogue with the Chinese side, for the normalization of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church.
4. The opening in Moscow of the metochion of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church to be considered useful.