Articles Clergy and Monastics Parishes and Monasteries Seide, Gernot

History of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia from Its Beginning to the Present. Part IV, Chapter 1.3. The Dioceses in China and Manchuria

Archb. Simon of Peking and China (d. 1933) and Archim. Theodore next to bishop's residence. Photo:

The majority of the white Russian refugees outside of Central Europe before WWII was in China.

Part IV, Chapter 1.3
The Dioceses in China and Manchuria

Since the 17th century, there has been a presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in Peking: the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission. This Mission cared for a small Orthodox colony which consisted of the descendants of former prisoners of war, merchants, and diplomats. 1 The real significance of this mission existed for two centuries in the area of research: they translated books from the Chinese, published dictionaries, and built an extensive library on the culture and history of China. From the second half of the 19th century onwards, religious literature was translated from Russian into Chinese: the New Testament, the writings of the Holy Fathers, the Psalter, and liturgical books. These translations formed the precondition for a successful mission, which was set up at the turn of the century. For two hundred years, the Mission cared for only some 200 Russian faithful. Then, in 1906, there were 650 people. In the following years until the outbreak of World War I, the number increased drastically: in the years 1906-1910, there were between 200 and 300 baptisms, later even 500. In 1913, there were 3,812 Orthodox Chinese; two years later there were already 5,587. 2

This new development of the Mission was largely dependent upon Archimandrite Innocent (Figurovsoky, d. 1931 as Metropolitan). He came to Peking as the head of the Mission in March of 1897 and implemented the following program: (1) the founding of a monastery and social security for the missionaries, (2) daily divine services (liturgies) in Chinese, (3) institutions for the support of needy Albazines, 3 (4) the dispatching of missionaries from Peking into the country’s interior, (5) the building up of parishes and parish work, and (6) the establishment of local social centers. 4

Also, instruction at the two existing schools was to be reorganized and a third school founded. Furthermore, there was a plan to publish a regular church periodically. This journal The Chinese Messenger (Kitaisky Blagovestnik) appeared regularly from 1902 to 1956: however, already in the years 1896-97, individual issues had appeared at irregular intervals. When the journal began it was a constant 16 pages in length and was printed in Harbin; later, each issue appeared with 30 to 40 pages. Most articles originated with Bishop (from 1902) Innocent and the members of the Mission. Besides entries of a purely academic nature, there were also those with a general ecclesiastical and religious content and missionary questions. From 1907, the journal was published in Peking. 5 Also, from 1904 there was the journal News of the Brotherhood of the Orthodox Church in China (Izvestiya Bratstva Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi v Kitaye), which lasted only a few years and was later merged with The Messenger.

By Synodal Resolution No. 1348 of 26 March 1901, the head of the Mission, Archimandrite Innocent, was appointed bishop, and China was raised to the standing of an independent diocese, with Peking as the episcopal residence. In June of 1902, Innocent was consecrated Bishop of Peking & China. 6 The new bishop’s jurisdiction extended not only over China, but also over all the parishes along the 1700-mile Eastern Chinese Railroad, and also over parts of Manchuria, and over Mongolia, which had been dominated by Russia for centuries and was under Russian influence. Subject to the bishop in the years 1912-13 were 2 archimandrites, 15 priests, 26 monks and novices, 15 churches, 34 missionary outposts and chapels, 5 cemeteries, a hospice for the elderly with 34 residents, a seminary, 10 boys’ schools and 2 girls’ schools with a total of 403 students. In 1916, the following belonged to the Mission: the Monastery of the Ascension in Peking, the hermitage of the Elevation of the Cross near Peking, a convent in Peking, 5 monastery churches in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Harbin and Dalny (Manchuria), 19 churches, including 4 in Peking, 32 mission churches, 14 of which were in the Chihli Province, 12 in the Province of Hupeh, 4 in the Province of Hunan, 1 in Tsien-fu and 1 in Mongolia (Urga), also 5 cemetery chapels, 11 boys’ schools, and 3 girls’ schools. 7

This budding mission church had within fifteen years established a network of mission stations, churches, and schools, and baptized 6,000 Chinese. This work suffered a serious setback during World War I, the Russian Revolution and the subsequent Civil War: relations with the homeland and the Mother Church were nearly severed, and all financial support was halted. A stream of needy refugees flooded the country. Simultaneously, Russian émigré communities came into existence everywhere, and for Orthodoxy in China, there was a new beginning.

The success shown by the Russian Orthodox Mission in China in the fifteen years prior to the outbreak of the Russian Revolution led to a proposal at the 1917/18 Pan-Russia Council, which met in Moscow, by Archimandrite Simon ([Vinogradov], later head of the Mission) to reorient the missionary work in China and the administration of the diocese and to set the diocese upon a sound financial basis. The Council was, however, unable to consider this proposal. 8 In consequence, the Ecclesiastical Mission in Peking, as well as the numerous Russian communities in Manchuria, had to rely upon themselves alone, and after the severing of relations with the Mother Church, had to master the new situation by itself.

While the task of the Russian Church in Manchuria was principally the care of Russian settlers who had lived there since the end of the 18th century, the Church in China itself was a that of a genuine missionary church for the native population. This also explains the later administrative division.

In 1921, initial contacts were made between the Diocese of China and the SCA, which had by then established itself in Karlovtsy (Yugoslavia). In the summer of 1922, Archimandrite Simon (Vinogradov) was consecrated vicar bishop of Shanghai. Archbishop Innocent ruled the Diocese of Peking & China and the vicariate of Shanghai. For Manchuria, a separate diocese was created, which Archibishop Methodius (Gerasimov) of Orenburg ruled. In June of 1922, the Synod of the ROCOR empowered Archbishop Innocent to consecrate a second vicar bishop for the Diocese of Peking, namely Archimandrite Jonah, for the new vicariate of Tientsin. 9 In this way, the organizational structure of the Russian communities in China was rearranged.

The Diocese of China received yet another vicar bishop when Archimandrite Juvenal (Kilin) was appointed vicar bishop of Tsintsan in Chinese East Turkestan, for the spiritual care of the Russian émigrés there. Juvenal was, however, unable to travel to Sinkiang, which was under Soviet influence, and returned to Harbin in 1936. Juvenal’s appointment was presumably in connection with the visit of the Patriarchal locum tenens, Sergius (Stragorodsky), who had placed the émigré communities in Sinkiang under his own jurisdiction. In April of 1934, Sergius had named Archpriest Sergius Tchen, who was one of the oldest acting Chinese Orthodox priests in China, as “rector of the Orthodox Mission” in Sinkiang and “administrator of the Orthodox communities in China”; thus, he became head of the Orthodox Churches in China in practice and subject to the jurisdiction of Archbishop Sergius of Tokyo. Thereupon, Bishop Victor (Svyatin) deposed Tchen and appointed the Chinese Elias Wen as archpriest of the communities in Sinkiang. Consequently, Tchen returned to the Karlovtsy Jurisdiction. 10

For Manchuria, Bishop Demetrius (Voznesensky, the father of Metropolitan Philaret) was appointed vicar bishop with his see in Khailar. This administrative structure of the Church Abroad’s Far East Province remained intact until 1945 in Manchuria and 1949 in China. After the outbreak of World War II, relations with the Karlovtsy Synod were again broken, and both dioceses were again left on their own. Under the Bishop of Peking & China, the vicar bishops came in the following order chronologically. From 1922, Bishop Jonah resided as a vicar bishop in Tientsin; in 1925, he died at the age of 34 in Tsitsihar. The next time a vicar bishop was consecrated for Tientsin was in 1950. The Moscow Patriarchate granted Bishop Simon Du this title, though in the same year he received the title of Vicar Bishop of Shanghai, when the Vicar Bishop of Shanghai up to that time, Bishop John (Maximovich), who belonged to the Church Abroad, left China. Archimandrite Basil, out of humility, refused the appointment as Vicar Bishop of Tientsin. On 30 May 1957, Patriarch Alexis consecrated him Bishop of Peking. The following bore the title “Vicar Bishop of Shanghai” in sequence: Bishop Simon (Vinogradov) 1922-32, Bishop Victor (Svyatin) 1932, Bishop John (Maximovich) 1934-49 for the Church Abroad; and Bishop Juvenal (Kilin) 1946-50 for the Moscow Patriarchate. In the last twelve years of the diocese’s existence (until 1962), the Chinese Bishop Simon (Du) headed it. The Diocese of Peking & China, and simultaneously the Ecclesiastical Mission, were ruled by Bishop Innocent (Figurovsky) from 1902-31, Bishop Simon (Vinogradov) 1931-33, Bishop Victor (Svyatin) from 1933-56, who returned to the Moscow Patriarchate in 1945, and finally Bishop Basil (Shuan) from 1957-62. After its establishment in 1922, the Diocese of Harbin & Manchuria was ruled for ten years by Bishop Methodius (Gerasimov) and, from 1932 to 1946, by Bishop Meletius (Zaborovsky) (from the autumn of 1945 under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.) After his death, the Moscow Patriarchate assigned Bishop Nestor (Anisimov) to administer the Diocese of Harbin & Manchuria. Bishop Nestor was apparently arrested in 1947, after which the diocese remained vacant until 1950 when Bishop Nicander (Viktorov) administered it until his return to the USSR in 1956. Thereafter, the Diocese remained vacant. The following vicar bishops were subject to the Bishop of Harbin: in 1941, Bishop Juvenal was named Vicar Bishop of Tsitsihar and bore this title until 1946. Bishop Nicander (Viktorov) received, as Bishop of Zizikar, a Moscow Patriarchate delegation under the direction of Bishop Nestor (Sidoruk), which visited the parishes of Manchuria. 11 Bishop Nicander presumably bore the title of Vicar Bishop of Tsitsihar in the years 1946-50 and was then named Bishop of Harbin. There was also the title of “Vicar Bishop of Khailar,” which Bishop Demetrius (Voznesensky) bore from 1934-46. (In 1946, he joined the Moscow Patriarchate; like many others, he had been convinced by the extensive Soviet propaganda campaign in the Far East that the Soviet Union had changed for the better after the War and that the Church would be free, and so he returned to Russia). After the establishment of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church in 1957, the Diocese of Harbin & Manchuria was no longer occupied, and likewise, the titles of the vicariates were no longer granted.

The Moscow Patriarchate maintained the Russian Church Abroad’s administrative structure [in that region] of two dioceses with vicariates, while it simultaneously received the Church Abroad’s bishops into its jurisdiction. The single exception was Bishop John (Maximovich), who refused to recognize Moscow’s jurisdiction and continued to belong to the Church Abroad. Archbishop Victor (Svyatin) was appointed Archbishop of Krasnodar & Kuban upon his return in 1956, and finally Metropolitan of this diocese. Bishop Juvenal (Kilin), who was named the vicar bishop of Shanghai in 1946, returned to the USSR in 1947 and was named Bishop of Chelyabinsk & Zlatoust. Bishop Nestor (Anisimov) was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan of Novosibirsk & Barnaul. Bishops Meletius (Zaborovsky) and Demetrius (Voznesensky) died in 1946 and 1947, respectively [Trans., the latter under suspicious circumstances].

The stream of refugees that flowed into Manchuria and China after 1920 led to the establishment of many communities and churches there. An estimated count of refugees is 200,000-250,000, most of whom lived in Manchuria. Another 15,000-20,000 refugees lived in Chinese East Turkestan (Sinkiang) and founded seven parishes there, centered in Urumchi. This province came under Soviet influence in the 1920s and 1930s and retained only a loose connection (as an autonomous province) with the rest of China. In China itself − without Manchuria and Sinkiang − there lived, according to information from the “People’s Union,” around 76,000 refugees in 1927. 12 Considering that before the Revolution the number of Orthodox in China without Manchuria was around 6,000, the growth of the already existing communities from the influx of these refugees can be measured. This, however, only applied to the communities in Manchuria. In China proper, the Chinese communities continued to exist autonomously, as also under the Bishop of Peking and consequently under the Church Abroad. The Chinese communities held for their faithful their own schools, social organizations, and various other charitable institutions, whereas the Russian émigrés built up their own communities. Only in a few instances were their communities of Chinese and Russians mixed. This was mostly the case when the Russian colonies were too small to establish their own parishes. 13

The ecclesiastical province of the Far East, its hierarchs, and its faithful formed a pillar of the Church Abroad from 1920 onwards. There was never any doubt about their canonical loyalty to the Church Abroad could arise. In contrast to the bishops in North America and the group around Metropolitan Eulogius, they never doubted the canonical rectitude of the Church Abroad. They recognized the Synod as its presiding head and the Council of Bishops as the supreme church authority for the emigration. After the arrest of Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Sergius’ Declaration, they expressed themselves decidedly for separation from the Moscow Patriarchal Church. Thus, Archbishop Innocent sent an epistle to Metropolitan Anthony in January of 1925, asking that he allow himself to be proclaimed the first hierarch of the whole Russian Church since Patriarch Tikhon was no longer able to make decisions freely. 14 This time, as they already had in earlier cases, the majority of the émigré bishops rejected this plan, 15 though similar plans always kept resurfacing.

The bishops in the Far East also pursued a certain decentralization of the Church, in order to simplify the administration, yet this never resulted in a dissolution of the Synod of Bishops. 16 The bishops of the Far East also condemned the schism of 1926 most sternly. Significantly, Archbishop Innocent presided over the Council of Bishops of 1928, which dealt with Metropolitan Eulogius’ schism and Metropolitan Sergius’ Declaration. 17 For their canonical loyalty to the central ecclesiastical leadership, Archbishops Innocent and Methodius were elevated to the rank of Metropolitan and granted the right to wear a cross on their white klobuks. 18 In the province of the Far East, Harbin and Peking formed the two ecclesiastical and cultural centers: for the Russian émigrés – Harbin, for the Chinese Orthodox communities − Peking with the Ecclesiastical Mission. Harbin in Manchuria, which, at the turn of the century, had been a trade outpost with only 12,000 inhabitants, had approximately 500,000 in the 1930s. In each part of the city, there were Russian communities with their own churches. The Church Abroad had over 20 churches in the city, a monastery and a convent, a metochion of the Peking and Kamachatka Mission, and numerous church educational institutions. 19 Whereas in 1920, for example, there were only four Russian secondary schools in the city, in 1930 there were already 20 schools. 20

In the city, there were, however, not only communities and institutions of the Church Abroad. The city was also the see of a bishop of the Russian Catholics. This group had its own high school (St. Alexander Nevsky Gymnasium). The diocese published its own diocesan newsletter from 1931, which appeared monthly and was 30 pages long. In addition to the community of Russian Catholics, there was also an even larger community of Old Believers, and a few smaller communities of Molokans, Seventh-Day Adventists, Pentecostals, and Lutheran-Evangelicals in the city. These communities also had their own church schools (Sunday schools) and published their own church newspapers. 21

In addition to these numerically important Russian colonies, there existed a large Russian community in Shanghai, with 20,000 faithful, a community in Tientsin, with 5,000 and a community in Mukden, with 2,000 faithful. 22 After the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, many Russians left the country and traveled to China, where they joined the already existing communities.

There were some 50 communities and 70 churches in the Harbin Diocese. Along the western railroad line (Harbin to Tsitsihar) lay 19 churches; on the eastern stretch (Harbin to Blagoveshchensk) 9 churches; and on the southern line (Harbin to Kilin) four churches. 23 The majority of these churches were built between 1920 and 1945. In the years 1930-45 alone 27 churches were erected. 24

The most important church was St. Nicholas Cathedral, which served as the episcopal cathedral. The largest church was the Cathedral of the Annunciation, which held 2,000 worshippers. 25 During the Cultural Revolution (1965-66), most of the churches were destroyed; the larger ones were turned into beer halls, a circus, and a restaurant. 26

The largest church structure of the emigration period was the Convent of the Vladimir Icon of the Theotokos, 27 which was under the direction of Abbess Rufina, and which became a new home for many refugee nuns. In 1939, thirty nuns belonged to the Convent, which ran an orphanage and home for the elderly. After the Red Army occupied Manchuria, the nuns fled to Shanghai, and from there traveled to the U.S. In Shanghai, they stayed in its sister convent, which had been established in the 1920s. Sixty-four nuns belonged to the combined convents; they cared for 150 orphans and elderly. The plans to resettle in the U.S. were later realized by Abbess Rufina’s successor, Mother Ariadne, who, together with her fellow nuns, established a new convent near San Francisco.

Those monks who fled after the Revolution laid the cornerstone for the building of the Monastery of the Kazan Theotokos in 1922. 28 The monastery was subject to Archimandrite Juvenal (Kilin). It took ten years to build the entire complex: in 1925, the church of the same name was consecrated; in 1929, a printing press was completed, in 1931 a home for the poor and elderly together with a pharmacy was able to function and the building of a hospital was begun. The monastery also had numerous workshops and handicraft businesses: a locksmith, a book bindery, a tailor, joinery and an icon workshop. Two archimandrites, seven hieromonks, four hierodeacons, eight monks and forty novices, workers and their families were attached to the monastery. The monastery distinguished itself by its charitable and missionary activities. On the monastery’s own printing press, church journals, church calendars, prayerbooks, gospels, and other literature were published and attained noteworthy circulation. 29 In the monastery’s medical center, which included a hospital, an outpatient clinic, a pharmacy, and medical practitioners, 2,763 patients were handled in the years 1931-39 and 61,802 patients were examined − 27,970 of them free of charge. In the apothecary, 30,737 prescriptions were filled, most of them free of charge or at a nominal cost. 30

The social work carried out by the monastery has never had any parallel in the Church since then. This work was made possible thanks to the considerable profits generated by its handicrafts and printing press. The brotherhood of the monastery was able to support itself on its what it produced itself; this enabled them to utilize all profits for charitable and missionary work.

Beginning in 1932, émigré circles considered founding an institution of higher learning (a university) with various faculties. After a two-year preparatory period, the Institute of St. Vladimir opened with four faculties in the summer of 1934: a theological faculty under the direction of Archimandrite Basil (Pavlovsky, later Bishop of Vienna), an economics and science faculty, a faculty of architecture, and one for electrical engineering. (The late First Hierarch of the Church Abroad, Metropolitan Philaret Voznesensky received his education on the electrical engineering faculty.) The Institute received financial support from the YMCA and the St. Vladimir Brotherhood, which was also established in 1934 and pursued the goal of educating the émigré youth in the “spirit of Holy Russia.” In the first academic year, a total of 177 students studied at the Institute, 40 of whom studied at the Theological Faculty. Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) was the Honorary Chairman, Archbishop Meletius was the Honorary President, and Bishop Demetrius was the Rector. The First Minister of State of Manchukuo became the patron and promised his support. He was represented on the Institute’s Council by a Japanese of the Orthodox Faith (M. Nakamura). The theological faculty claimed to be the direct successor of the theological academies in Russia. The annual number of students who attended it was between 30 and 40. This theological faculty (academy) was supplemented by the addition of a theological seminary in 1938, for the education of priests and deacons. 31

Metropolitan Methodius, who had ruled the diocese for ten years and had had the responsibility of establishing and organizing the émigré communities, died in 1932. His successor was Archbishop Meletius, who was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan in 1939, on the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Under Meletius, community life was consolidated, the real building period having already been completed. Simultaneously, relations with the Synod of Bishops in Karlovtsy became more firmly based: from 1931/32, yearly reports on the life of the diocese were sent to Karlovtsy, and it was determined that the head of the diocese, in this case, Bishop Nestor, who lived in Harbin, should visit each church and community every three years. The diocesan administration was expanded by adding the following commissions: a revision committee, a council for the mission, and a control commission for religious instruction, with three subdivisions. 32

During the years 1941-45, the Diocese of Harbin had 4 bishops, 217 priests, 70 churches, 3 monasteries, and approximately 100,000 faithful. 33 During the Japanese occupation, from 1943 to 1944, much pressure was put upon the communities and the priests, by which community life was severely hindered. Numerous faithful fled to China just before and during this occupation.

A new influx of émigrés began later, in 1945, during the Red Army invasion of Manchuria. After the Japanese Occupation, the Red Army was met by many émigrés as if they were liberators. At the same time, the Soviet occupation meant the end of the Karlovtsy Jurisdiction in this territory. The Moscow Patriarchate sent Bishop Eleutherius (Vorontsev) of Rostov & Taganrog to Manchuria to prepare the émigré communities to return to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. The exchange of greetings between the hierarchy in Manchuria and the Patriarchate later led to the reunification of the separated churches.

Until his death on 6 April 1946, Metropolitan Meletius remained head of the Diocese of Harbin. Thereafter Archbishop Nestor (Anistimov) ruled the Manchurian communities. The Moscow Patriarchate elevated Nestor to the rank of Metropolitan of Harbin & Manchuria; the diocese was reclassified as an exarchate. At the same time, the newly founded Exarchate of East Asia also encompassed the Chinese communities, which at this time were still subject to the Church Abroad. From the time of Nestor’s arrest in 1947, the communities of Manchuria were left on their own.

After the Communist takeover in China, which reunited China and Manchuria, all Orthodox communities in the People’s Republic of China were made directly subject to the Bishop of Peking. Thus, for the first time, a central administrator of the entire territory, formerly the Church Abroad’s Far East Province, became possible, though it led to the Diocese of Harbin’s loss of importance.

In contrast to Manchuria, where Harbin was the undisputed center, in China there were two equal Orthodox centers: the Archdiocese of Peking with the Ecclesiastical Mission and the Diocese of Shanghai with its community of 20,000 émigrés. 34 Whereas in the Shanghai community the Russians set the tone, in the Ecclesiastical Mission in Peking, the Chinese element played a noticeable rôle, especially in the smaller communities of the other cities. The later priests of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Churches were almost all from these communities. After 1918, missionary ideas were most strongly represented here, a fact supported by the abundance of religious literature in Chinese in Peking and Shanghai.

Furthermore, in Peking, Shanghai, and Tientsin, the Orthodox Chinese had their own schools. The main difficulty for the continuance of a successful mission lay in insufficient financial support; the emigration was not in any position to help. Only with the consolidation of the communities could this pre-Revolutionary work be taken up again, with the support of the émigrés. In Peking, Shanghai, Tientsin, Zindao, and Mukden, catechism courses for the native population were instituted in the 1930s. At the Ecclesiastical Mission, of the nine clergies, four were Chinese: Protodeacon Eumenius In, Missionary Archpriest Michael Min, Basil De, Archpriest of the Ascension Cathedral, and Archpriest Vladimir Du. Also belonging to the Mission were Archimandrite Pachomius, Abbot Nathaniel, numerous monks, and fifteen nuns of the convent. On the Mission’s land, there were extensive farm buildings, workshops and gardens, a printing press and a library with over 4,000 volumes on the history and culture of China.

In all larger communities, there was considerable building activity in the 1920s. After the Shanghai church was destroyed in 1927 during the Chinese Civil War, the members of the community collected $31,000 for its rebuilding in just a few years.

The exact number of communities in China cannot be determined. In the Peking Diocese alone, which was the most important, there were 17 parishes, 4 monasteries, 5 metochia, and 23 cemeteries with chapels. Bishop John (Maximovich) of Shanghai also had authority outside of China over Russian communities in Hong Kong, Macão, Manila, and the communities in Canton and Tsindao. In Chinese East Turkestan (Sinkiang), there were other seven Orthodox communities, in which the Chinese remained the liturgical language; after 1948, Archpriest Demetrius (Mlodanovsky) undertook an energetic missionary activity there.

Most churches had community centers with parochial schools, libraries and community halls. In addition to these, social and charitable institutions were established with the support of the Church: in Tiantsin, there was an asylum and a home for invalids to which the old, sick, the mentally handicapped and the crippled were admitted. The poor and needy received free meals there and came daily from the city and surrounding areas, where they lived. In other cities, there were similar social centers and schools. 35

After the outbreak of the Chinese Civil War, the head of the Mission, Archbishop Victor (Svyatin), joined the Moscow Patriarchate, whereas Bishop John of Shanghai remained true to the Church Abroad. During a visit to Shanghai, Victor was accused, at the request of Bishop John (Maximovich), of being a “Communist agent,” and was arrested by the nationalist Chinese authorities. 36

Before the Communist takeover in 1949, some 50,000-60,000 Russians left the country and went to the West (Australia, North and South America). 37 This emigration lasted until the mid-1960s and included groups of up to 1,000 persons. 38 The majority of these refugees were from China, whereas the Russians who lived in Manchuria were forced to return to the Soviet Union. This also applied to the Russian priests, who, in 1956, except for individual priests who refused to take Soviet passports, had to leave the country. Archimandrite Philaret, later First Hierarch of the Church Abroad, was among those clergy who refused to return to the Soviet Union. In 1957, he was offered a passport to travel to the West, but he did not take this, because he wanted to remain with his small flock in Harbin, where, at this time, only a few hundred of the once 45,000 still lived. Only in 1962 did he leave, via Hong Kong for Australia. 39

For the refugees, who left the country between 1945 and 1949, communities were founded in South East Asia, which continued in existence until the 1950s. There were such communities in the Philippines, on the island of Java, on Formosa [Taiwan], and in Hong Kong. On the island of Tubabão, approximately 5,500 Russian émigrés from China lived under the most primitive conditions, in tents and bamboo huts, waiting for permission to travel to North and South America. 40 The émigrés found better conditions on the island of Java, where they managed to build a church, 41 which existed until the end of the 1950s. A small church (the Church of the Resurrection of Christ) was founded in Hong Kong for the refugees, who were permitted to emigrate to the West in 1949. This church existed from 1949 until its closure in the late 1960s when no more émigrés were leaving China. For many years, it was entrusted to the care of the priest Elias Wen, who traveled to California at the end of the 1950s, and has since then been a priest at the cathedral in San Francisco, to which several Chinese Orthodox families also belong. 42 The remaining refugee communities in Southeast Asia were closed down in the 1960s because most Russians had left.


  1. Cf. on the history of the Mission before 1902 Seide, Die Russisch Orthodox Kirche in China, pp. 106-176 for more details. Also, see M.K. Bei Guan’: Yubeleiny Sbornik 1685-1935; Nikon, Zhizneopisanie, 10, pp. 9-34; Kratkaya istoria missii; Innocent, Orthodox Mission in China; Petrov, Missia v Kitae; Widmer, Mission in Peking.
  2. Seide, Die Russisch Orthodoxe Kirche in China, pp. 174-175.
  3. The Albazines were descendants of those prisoners of war from the city of Albazine (at the juncture of the Sitka and Argun Rivers), who were sent to Peking in 1685. The Ecclesiastical Mission was established for them, cf. Petrov, The Albazines in China.
  4. Innocent, pp. 681-683.
  5. Kitaisky Blagovestnik (1933) 3-4, pp. 1-4.
  6. Bei Guan’, pp. 24-25; Nikon, Zhizneopisanie, 10, pp. 13-15; Metropolitan Innocent.
  7. Daubray, p. 372; Innocent, p. 684; Bei Guan’, p. 21.
  8. Ibid., pp. 61-62.
  9. D´Herbigny/Deubner, Eveques Russes, pp. 44-47.
  10. Seide, Die Russisch Orthodoxe Kirche in China, pp. 179-180.
  11. Ibid., pp. 180-182.
  12. Ibid., p. 182.
  13. Tserk. Zhizn´ (1935) 8, pp.123-126.
  14. D´Herbigny/Deubner, Eveques Russes, pp. 38-39.
  15. Nikon, Zhizneopisanie, 6, pp. 38-39.
  16. Seide, Die Russisch Orthodoxe Kirche in China, pp. 177-179.
  17. D´Herbigny/Deubner, Evêques Russes, p. 173; Nikon, Zhizneopisanie, 7, pp. 185-213.
  18. D´Herbigny/Deubner, Evêques Russes, p.173.
  19. Archimandrite Constantine, Pamyati Kharbina; Nestor, Manchuria; Nikon, Zhizneopisanie, 10, pp. 16-25.
  20. Nathaniel, Ocherki Manchury, p. 6.
  21. Church News (1940) 11, pp. 35-40.
  22. Seide, Die Russisch Orthodoxe Kirche in China, p. 182; Nikon, Zhizneopisanie 10:11-12.
  23. Ibid. 10: p. 17. Cf. the pictures of the Harbin church in Russ. Prav. Ts., 1, pp. 219-239, and the churches outside of Harbin in Pravoslavnye khramy v severnoi Manchury [Harbin] (1931).
  24. Seide, Die Russisch Orthodoxe Kirche in China, p. 184.
  25. Nikon, Zhizneopisanie, 10, p. 18.
  26. Seide, Die Russisch Orthodoxe Kirche in China, pp. 191-192, and Part II, Chap.1, p. 91.
  27. Details on the monasteries in Seide, Klöster im Ausland.
  28. Kratky ocherk vozniknoveniya; Seide, Klöster im Ausland.
  29. Cf. Part IV, Chap. 3.
  30. Church News (1939) 7, pp. 53-63; Kratky ocherk vozniknoveniya.
  31. Cf. Part IV, Chap. 4; Nikon, Zhizneopisanie, 10, pp. 19-25; Nathaniel, Ocherki Manchury, pp. 6-8; Irenikon (1934), p. 205.
  32. Nikon, Zhizneopisanie, 10, pp. 22-23.
  33. Seide, Die Russisch Orthodoxe Kirche in China, p. 186.
  34. Ibid., pp. 186-188; Nikon, Zhizneopisanie,10, pp. 10-13; Zhiganov, Russkie v Shanghaye.
  35. Tserk. Zhizn’ (1933) 4, p. 71; (1935) 8, pp. 123-126.
  36. Cf. Part II, Chap. 1, p. 89. On the further fate of the Chinese Orthodox parishes, see Seide, Die Russisch Orthodoxe Kirche in China, pp. 188-192; Brunello, Chieso di Cina.
  37. Cf. Part II, Chap. 1, p. 90.
  38. In the year 1985, for example, 943 Old Believers left Manchuria for Brazil, Internationale Kirchliche Zeitschrift (1958) p.134); in 1962, 5,000 emigres settled in California (Kirche im Osten [1962], p. 44.)
  39. Prav. Rus’ (1956) 9, p. 16.
  40. Russky national’ny kalendar (1951), pp. 116-119.
  41. Russ. Prav. Ts., 1, pp. 248-249: the church in Java, whose rector was Archimandrite Innocent, is depicted here.
  42. Prav. Rus’ (1952) 3, p. 15; (1958) 19, p. 16; Spisok (1989).

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