Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Orthodoxy in China
Orthodoxy Christianity in China has been relatively little known.
The first mission of Orthodox Christians to China was undertaken in 1684 by thirty-one Russians, led by the cleric Maxim Leontieff. They were taken prisoner at Albasin on the Amur river and brought to Beijing.
The first mission establishment was begun in 1715 at Beijing by an Orthodox Archimandrite, Hilarion. This mission is first recorded in a 1727 Russo-Chinese treaty. The intention of the mission was not to evangelize among Chinese but merely to serve as chaplains to the original mission and, later, to the Russian diplomatic mission staff as well.
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 Yakiuf Bichurin, and the Archimandrite Palladius, who also compiled a "very valuable" dictionary.
During the Boxer Rebellion, the mission suffered greatly, including the destruction of its library.
The government of the People's Republic of China extends official recognition to five religions communities (Protestant Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, Taoism, and Buddhism) but not to Orthodox Christianity. The major political obstacle is the government's fear that external political forces from outside nations--in this case, primarily Russia--could achieve influence within China.
Several Orthodox congregations, mainly of elderly individuals, continue to meet in Beijing and northeast China (in Heilongjiang and elsewhere), with, apparently, the tacit consent of the government. As of 2005 there was one priest; however, a number of Chinese nationals are currently studying in Orthodox seminaries in Russia, with the intent of returning to China to serve in priestly ministry.
The former Orthodox church in Shanghai is currently being used as a restaurant.
Meanwhile, as of the early 21st century, the church operates freely in Hong Kong (where the Ecumenical Patriarch has sent a metropolitan, Bishop Nikitas) and Taiwan (where hieromonk Jonah George Mourtos leads a mission church).
- [http://www.cs.ust.hk/faculty/dimitris/metro/hkmetropolis.html Page of the ]
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