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Orthodox churches in China - the best examples of Russian architecture

The historical significance of Orthodoxy in the culture of China, the interest of the Chinese people in religious dogmas of Orthodoxy is told by the director of the Agency for Investment and Development of the Khabarovsk Krai Vyacheslav Kushnaryov

Already more than one century Christianity is an integral component part of China's culture, along with its own identity, which has absorbed the best of the neighboring peoples.

Orthodox churches in China - the best examples of Russian architecture
The humanism of Orthodoxy gained respect for its religious tenets among the Chinese people and, as a result, the approval and recognition of this religion by the official authorities.

Today in China there are more than 15 000 Christians and 4 officially functioning churches on the continental territory: in Harbin, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. In addition, held worship services in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, as 2013 year work 2 parish in Taiwan and one in Hong Kong and Macau. Divine services are also held in the territory of the General Consulates and the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the People's Republic of China. It is on the spot where the Embassy is located more than 300 years ago and the first Orthodox divine service was held in China.


The first Orthodox priest who opened the temple in China was the priest of the St. Nicholas Church from Albazin Priest Maxim Leontiev son Tolstoukhov. Once in Beijing in 1683, he was allowed to settle in the outskirts of the city, where he opened a peaceful Orthodox chapel in the former Chinese idol of the God of War, to which he put the icon of St. Nicholas of Myra. Brought with him. There, up to 1695 year, he performed divine services, satisfying the spiritual needs of his flock - baptized, crowned, funeral and prayed for co-religionists who came to Beijing.

At the same time, as Metropolitan Ignaty, who was then occupying the Tobolsk department, wrote about his activities: "The Orthodox Christians opened the light to them (the Chinese)".

1695 summer, Metropolitan of Tobolsk and the Siberian Ignatius sent from Tobolsk to China with sales people cathedral church deacon Lavrentiya Ivanova and put "a preacher of the holy Gospel in the Chinese kingdom, reverent priest Maksimu Leontevu and all Orthodox Christians living in the Chinese kingdom, episcopal blessing."

In 1696, Ivanov made his way to Beijing, where he delivered antimise, oil and oil "with all kinds of ecclesiastical needs" for the consecration of the church "in the name of. Sophia of the Wisdom of God. " In the 1696, Father Maxim, together with the arrivals of Russian priests consecrated the church of St. Sophia, but it and continued the tradition of St. Nicholas called in honor of the icon Nikolaya Chudotvortsa. Upon learning of the priest's activity, the King of All Russia Peter I instructed to open in Beijing on Orthodox spiritual mission, and that was done in the year 1716.

For all of its existence until 1956, 20 missions were sent to Beijing with a total number of preachers in 200 people. For many years, the mission carried the functions of the Russian embassy, ​​the cultural representative of the Russian Orthodox Orthodox culture. After 1956, the government of the USSR transferred all the temples of the PRC, and the territory of the mission was transferred to the state for the embassy, ​​which today is the largest diplomatic representation in the world. Tomb of the Chief 1-th The mission is still kept in one of Beijing’s museums. And on the territory of the Embassy, ​​the tradition of Orthodox services was revived not so long ago.


Since the foundation 1-th Temple in Beijing to 40-x years 20-century In the territory of China was built 106 temples, in which 10 000 Chinese parishioners professed.

The geography of the erection was extensive. The majority was concentrated in the Northeast of China and in XUAR. The main place of their concentration was the zone of alienation along the CER and in the places of residence of large diasporas: Hankow, Tianjin, Harbin, Beijing, Urumqi. The majority was built in 1900-1902 years. The churches were built, as a rule, for donations. In Harbin, the whole world gathered for the temples, and in the small, but prosperous colony of Russian tea-dealers in Hankow (now - the city of Wuhan), entrepreneurs were thrown off. So, intending to build a temple in Hankow, tea merchants in 1871 year announced a subscription in Moscow and decided to assign to the temple a part of the collection of baihovyh teas. In 1876, they collected 42 059 rubles. In 1893, a temple in honor of St. Prince Alexander Nevsky in Hankow was erected.

In 1908, a church was built in Harbin in honor of the icon of the Mother of God of Iversk. Construction cost 69 721 r. 78 cop. A lot was donated by TD I.Ya. Churin, TD Samsonovich, TD Kunst and Albers.

All churches presented the best examples of Russian architecture to the Chinese. A large temple in Shanghai was built according to the drawings of the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Time has destroyed many temples. Many of the remaining came to desolation. Of 20 Harbin, only 5 remains. Of 4-x Shanghai - 2.

Today, the Moscow Patriarchate is doing everything possible to restore the old churches in China. And he finds mutual understanding and support of the Chinese authorities in this.

Thus, the Wuhan authorities, who planned the construction of the tunnel and the demolition of the oldest Russian church in China - the temple of Alexander Nevsky - did not do this, and together with the Russian side restored it, spending on the restoration of 47 000 000 yuan. Now in the House of Russian-Chinese cultural exchanges. Residents of the city of Harbin collected 10 000 000 yuan and restored the St. Sophia Cathedral, which is now the hallmark of Harbin and the museum, which tells the history of Russian-Chinese relations as well. 80 000 Yuan was allocated by the Chinese authorities to the cemetery church in the suburb of Harbin - Sankesh. The authorities of the Hendoakhetsi settlement put in order a wooden church, which was once the center of life of the largest junction station of the CER. Today you can go to the village administration and you will be happy to spend, open and show the interior of one of the oldest wooden churches. She is now also the main attraction of the village.

The Patriarchy does everything to restore the remaining churches, and to fill with the sounds of church songs already restored.


The soul of all the churches, of course, were the icons that filled them. The faces of the saints attracted not only the Russian parishioners themselves, but also the Chinese. Singer Alexander Vertinsky often told such a story.

At the station in Harbin, in the kyot stood a large icon of St. Nicholas and departing and coming could pray to Nicholas the Wonderworker and put the candles before leaving. All considered St. Nicholas the patron saint of Harbin. Even the unbelieving Chinese came and bowed to this icon. He was called in the Chinese manner, but respectfully "The old man of the station." One day an old Chinese man ran into the station and thanked the icon for a long time. It turned out that he almost drowned in the river Sungari. This river was very dangerous with a lot of whirlpools. And when he was dragged into one of them, the Chinese, remembering that the Russians were addressing Nikolai Miracle-worker, exclaimed: "The old man of the station, help!". And the miracle happened, the Chinese was saved from a raft passing by.

The icon was so popular that when the Soviet authorities established control over the CER and decided to destroy the kiot, local Chinese did not allow it. However, in 1966 the icon burned in the crucible of the Cultural Revolution.

But icons, like manuscripts do not burn. Today, students of the institute in Vladivostok, using old photographs, have restored the beautiful image of the icon case at the Harbin station.

The fact of the new finding of the Port Arthur Icon of the Mother of God "The Triumph of the Most Holy Theotokos", which is a symbol of the struggle of Russian soldiers with the Japanese, is also interesting.

"The mysterious and miraculous icon of its origin, known as the" Triumph of the Blessed Virgin ", was destined for the fortress of Port Arthur, - Vladivostok newspapers wrote in 1904. - Due to the termination of communications with the latter, this stake, from the Imperial permission of the Empress Maria Feodorovna, as requested by Admiral NI Skradlov, 2 August 1904 year was temporarily placed in the Vladivostok Cathedral.

We have repeatedly witnessed how before this icon, people bowing with deep faith, with tears in their eyes, prayed to people belonging to the upper class of society, witnessed how the naval and land ranks, from the simple soldier and sailor to the admiral Or a general, prostrated before this icon and in earnest prayer sought consolation, encouragement and help from the Blessed Virgin. " Later, the icon was still delivered to China and was in the marching church of the commander-in-chief of the Russian army.

In the crucible of war, the icon was lost. And now, in our time, the pilgrims abbot of Holy Pokrovsky Monastery in the city of Ussuriysk, and the abbot of the Holy Dormition Church of Vladivostok in one of the shops in Jerusalem, saw this icon. Having no funds for her ransom, the monks turned for help to Abbess of the Gornensky convent abbess Georgy. On the first Sunday of Great Lent, on the day of the celebration of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the icon was bought by her. In the spring of 1998, the icon returned to Vladivostok, where it was greeted with "singing with praise and thanksgiving people of the city of Vladivostok." Now and forever, the icon is located in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Vladivostok, built in 1907 to commemorate the soldiers who died during the Russo-Japanese War in China.


Today, Orthodoxy is one of the main unifying forces of Russians, both in the territory of great Russia and beyond. And it was always like this.

After the Revolution, China left Russia 250 000 people, 110 000 of which settled in Harbin. Once in a foreign land, from different places, these people also turned to God and sometimes gave the last to the construction of new churches, because the old ones were not enough to accept the prayers of all the suffering. Orthodoxy united these people, and the temples were the place where they prayed together for the salvation of their fatherland. The temples were also the place where the wounded were hiding during the fighting, and in times of harshness they gave shelter, food and hope to the indigent.

So in 1933 year at the Iberian church of Harbin for poor emigrants the Serafimsky folk dining room was opened, where free lunches, lace gatherings, lotteries, concerts, performances were arranged. There was organized parish for the elderly, sick, and children. Children in the orphanage were trained in farming. About 100 pupils of this institution were brought up in the Russian national spirit. Russian women who worked here, formed their love for their country, nature, everything Russian. From 1933 to 1942 year of the national canteen of this church 856 054 cheap and free meals for poor emigrants was released.

К 60-years Russian emigration in China has disappeared. Many returned to their homeland, many dispersed around the world and continued to sow the ideas of Orthodox humanism in places where they were thrown by fate.

Today in China, on an ongoing basis, there are about 30 000 Russians. They are representatives of Russian companies, government agencies, private traders. One third are students. In addition, a large number of Russians with short-term visits and tourists arrive every day. Last average of a year is 300 000 people.

Today, it is precisely Orthodoxy, the temples have become here and the unifying factor of these people, not allowing them to get lost in the great mass of people. This is a visual continuation of those traditions of Orthodoxy, of which we spoke above.

For a long time, the Russian diaspora was deprived of the opportunity to send their religious sacraments. But to the beginning 2000-x Joint efforts of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Government of the Russian Federation, the Administrations of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, the local Russian community began to rebuild temples, and worship services were held. A special role in this was played by the tireless activity of the chairman of the Sinoidic Department of External Relations of the Church, and now the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.

In 2009, the first divine service in Macau was held in half a century. "We are renewing this tradition with the hope that for many it will be important," it was written in circulation. Today, Russian diasporas have a legal opportunity to gather and listen to divine services for the holidays of Christmas and Easter. In the Church of the Memory of the Murdered Emperor in Shanghai, for example, the entire Easter in Shanghai gathered for the last Easter.

The Russians come to the services in Harbin. The schedule of services and services is transmitted word of mouth, via word of mouth, via the Internet. Many today are already baptized and away from the motherland. What are already such questions! "Good day. We want to baptize a child in Hong Kong with my wife?" Please tell us what you need for this. "

At the Russian Embassy in Beijing and at its consulates, regular worship services are held, where many people also come. The services are already conducted on a regular basis according to timetables. In addition to holidays and rituals, people also gather for church activities, such as bringing parts of the holy relics of St. John, Shanghai and San Francisco to China to the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
The life of the Orthodox community in China is flourishing today. And everything is being done for its full normalization in the future. It is done both by the church itself and by secular authorities. For example, much attention is paid by the Government of the Khabarovsk Territory, because it is through Khabarovsk that traditionally Orthodox priests go to China, it is here that a joint conference on the development of Orthodoxy in China is planned to be held in 2016, which unites our compatriots on the basis of their moral and ethical values.

It is impossible not to note the initiatives of the Russians living in China. Their merit in the revival of Orthodoxy in China is invaluable. The activities of the Russian clubs in Shanghai and Harbin render special assistance to a pleasing business. The latter, for example, constantly spend subbotniks on clearing old dilapidated churches, planted flowers near the St. Iveron Officer Church in Harbin.

The Russian diaspora does not stop at what has been accomplished and continues to make a huge contribution to the revival of Orthodoxy.

Here, for example, the appeal from 5 January 2016 on the restoration of the faces of Orthodox saints: "Dear friends! Brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Orthodox community of the Intercession Church of the city of Harbin addresses you with a request to support a financially good deed to restore two mosaics - icons on the monument of the times of the Russo-Japanese War. It has long faded fights in these places near the city of Mukden (today - Shenyang). Here are buried in a mass grave about 500 Russian soldiers. They died in a battle that brought victory to Russian weapons! In the nightly bayonet attack of 4 on October 1904, the Russian troops, under the personal supervision of General PN Putilov, captured the enemy's 14 artillery. Thank you in advance". Icons do not burn yet!

And I want to finish the review with the words of gratitude of one of the Russian residents of Harbin: "Give you God, Father, strength, patience, humility, success in this field. Indeed, it was not possible to think about it even a few years ago. As they say, I can do everything in Christ who strengthens me. "
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