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FIRST VISIT TO JAPAN OF BISHOP DANIIL of SOUTHERN-SAKHALINSK

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  • Nelson Mitrophan Chin
    http://orthodox.cn/news/20051125japan_en.htm Pravoslavie.Ru | Southern-Sakhalinsk, November 25, 2005 FIRST VISIT TO JAPAN OF BISHOP DANIIL of
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 28, 2005
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      http://orthodox.cn/news/20051125japan_en.htm

      Pravoslavie.Ru | Southern-Sakhalinsk, November 25, 2005

      FIRST VISIT TO JAPAN OF
      BISHOP DANIIL of SOUTHERN-SAKHALINSK

      English Translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas

      The ruling bishop of the easternmost diocese has made visit to Japan
      at the invitation of the Japanese Autonomous Orthodox Church,
      according to O. Kirjanova, correspondent of Pravoslavie.Ru. His trip
      coincides with the visit to Japan by Russia's president, V.V. Putin.

      "This is my first visit to Japan", Vladyka Daniil told the website's
      correspondent. "I've been in my see for 4 years, but during these
      years it has been impossible to tear myself away. The
      Southern-Sakhalin diocese — not large, but it doesn't have enough
      clerics, and our people are very much in need of pastoral care.

      "I arrived in Hokkaido with a group of officials of the Sakhalin
      regional administration. We flew into Hakodate, visited the Orthodox
      Cathedral of Christ's Resurrection erected at the site, first Orthodox
      temple built in Japan by Bishop Nikolai of Japan. Thereafter we took
      off for Tokyo.

      Japan's capital is a huge city — a veritable stone jungle. I didn't
      particularly like the city — wall to wall buildings, all concrete and
      asphalt.

      I knew that president V.V.Putin will be meeting with Japan's
      prime-minister and that their talks will be complex. All of us have
      awaited this meeting. I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea if, at the
      same time, we pray together with Japanese Orthodox that the Lord
      enlighten and reconcile both parties — that the situation not become
      over-heated. We prayed for peace. On the day when the president
      arrived in Japan, we served liturgy in Tokyo's "Nikolai-do" cathedral,
      together with +Daniil, Metropolitan of Tokyo and All Japan and with
      Bishop Seraphim of Sendai. I know both of them well, since six years
      ago when they received monastic tonsure in the Holy Trinity/St.
      Sergius Lavra, I bore obedience as the Lavra's dean, arranged their
      accommodations, and also took part in the tonsure.

      There were very many people in the Tokyo cathedral. I preached and the
      Vladyka Metropolitan Daniil offered words of welcome. The divine
      service was celebrated in the Japanese and Russian languages. Many
      Russians live in Tokyo, but the majority of the cathedral's
      parishioners are Japanese. Most likely, they are descendants of those
      inhabitants of Japan who were baptized by Bishop Nikolai. He built the
      Tokyo cathedral and often prayed in it. It was moving for me to stand
      in the place where Bishop Nikolai once stood, on that ambo from which
      he preached to the flock. How many such sermons were preached — and
      what were those times like? Certainly, all of this is very touching.

      People there are very pious; they observe Orthodox traditions and
      sincerely love Russia. It is most important, we firmly know we have
      friends there. Before the trip to Japan I was in Korea where, at a
      shipyard, I consecrated two Russian tankers which were being built for
      the Sakhalin port. Certainly, Japan is a totally different country. It
      seemed to me, that this nation is more lively than the Koreans, and
      that we, Russian, are more similar to the Japanese. The Japanese,
      contrary to what we imagine as their traditional severity and
      insularity, have a good sense of humor. The nation is more europeanized.

      At the divine service in Tokyo many young men served in the altar.
      This already is a good indicator. Among them were both Japanese and
      Russians. As a rule, these people are those who have already lived
      here several years; they work in Japanese companies, but on Sundays
      they are strict in attending church. The people attend church — thank
      God! I felt the Japanese Orthodox Church has a future.

      The cathedral choir consists only of Japanese. Singing, basically all
      in Japanese but tunes are Russian. Much is borrowed from Lavra. When
      they sang in Church Slavonic, I hardly constrain a smile because it
      all sounded very unusual, with a Japanese accent.

      I was left with many impressions and I am grateful to God for helping
      me make such this journey.

      I am very happy with results of the visit to Japan by Russia's
      president. He conducted himself with great dignity. His trip to that
      country took place coincided with demonstrations by Japanese right.
      For example, Sakhalin's governor, Ivan Malakhov, who too was in Japan
      at the time, said that before the house where he was staying, Japanese
      demonstrated with posters saying "Ivan, go home!". They scanned these
      same words in Russian. But, simply nobody paid attention to it.

      The Japanese also understand very well that politics does not feed
      people. Sakhalin, first of all, represents energy resources. We have
      rich deposits of gas and coal which are both necessary to Japan,
      China, and Korea. Japanese companies work in Sakhalin's shelf and they
      very much want to expand their activity. The Japanese will soon build
      then Korsakov by Japanese the first will be soon construct a gas
      condensing factory in Russia. Gas will be transported by tankers to
      Japan. They are presently warmed by kerosene, which is very expensive
      - gas is much cheaper. All these matters were negotiated in Tokyo.
      Serious business cooperation must be developed, and if politics is the
      foremost consideration, then Japan's economy will seriously suffer.
      For us Orthodox, spiritual dialogue is most important and I think that
      mutual relations between the Orthodox in Russia and the Orthodox in
      Japan should deepen".
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