Visiting Taiwan's Faithful (January 20, 1965)
Originally published in Japanese by "Seikyo-Jiho" No.901, January 20, 1965, pg. 7 courtesy of Abp SERAPHIM (Tsujie) of Sendai
English translation by Fr John Bartholomew
Visiting Taiwan's Faithful
Bishop Vladimir, American military chaplain Archpriest Peter Zurnovich and Priest Kirill Arihara, in response to requests from the Orthodox Christians resident in Taiwan, departed Haneda Airport on December 26th of last year (a Saturday) in order to hold services for fellow believers in Taiwan, brothers and sisters in the Faith.
As previously stated, they departed from Haneda Airport on the morning of December 26th. After an hour flight the Thai Airline jet came to Osaka, then flew directly to Taiwan. After an approximately two and a half hour flight they arrived in Taiwan, which until twenty years earlier had been Japanese territory but which was now a foreign country.
After reaching a place where many Japanese believers had lived, there was a kind of lonely feeling. About twenty who had gathered to meet us were on the balcony of Taipei Airport. After the various arrival formalities and the greeting of those who came to meet us were completed, immediately the arrangements for the Vigil of the 26th and the Divine Liturgy of the next day were carried out. We were shown suburbs in brother Igor's car. The Bishop served the Vigil beginning at 6:00 pm, with Fathers Peter and Kirill in the choir. When the prayers were finished every one sat around the dinner table.
On the following day, the 27th, beginning at 10:00 am the Divine Liturgy was served in the Elusuna home, preceded by the sacrament of Confession. There were 19 penitents. After the Liturgy ended a little past 12:00 pm, all those who had gathered to worship had breakfast together. After 4:00 pm we left Taipei in the bus heading for Taichung. Because we arrive in Taichung after 9:00 we stayed the night in a hotel and on the next morning, the 28th, we visited the homes of five believers living in the vicinity of Taichung, and then departed for Chiayi. After we finished a two hour rail journey and arrived at our destination we immediately performed a baptism and spent one night in the home of the baptized person. The persons baptized were the infant Rufina, middle school student Nikolai, so the number of brethren in the Faith living in Taiwan increased by two.
On the morning of December 29th we left Chiayi at 10:00 am and headed by train for Taipei.
The original plan to return to Japan on the 28th, but because of schedule was extended by two days and we were able to complete our travels in the Taichung area.
There are about two hundred Orthodox Faithful living in Taiwan, mostly in the Taipei area. Right after arriving in Taipei, we spoke to the concerned believers about the future plans for the church. The Faithful in Taipei really want a regular priest but before this, plans for construction of a church must be made and it was agreed to go forward with these plans beginning in January 1965. Right now, Orthodox believers in the Taipei depend on the good will of an Anglican priest, Father Morris, for prayers for the sick and dead. After speaking with the Faithful brothers and sisters, the Bishop and this writer went to visit the home of Father Morris. The aforementioned had just had a serious illness but he gave us a lively welcome and said he prayed with all his heart for the growth of the Orthodox Church in Taiwan.
He expressed to the Bishop his willingness to help if needed and after prayer for a full recovery of this clergyman we departed.
On the morning of the 30th we rested then departed Taipei International Airport and returned via Okinawa to Tokyo's Haneda airport.
What especially impressed us on this trip was the way that these White Russians leave mainland China, marry Chinese, interest their husbands in Orthodoxy and enthusiastically work for the Church. The strenuous effort they display and the ardent faith it is based on should be taken as models of our faith.