St. Nicholas’ personal example of love and respect for the Japanese people and their history, language,and customs left a good impression on the Japanese authorities and helped contribute to the growth of the Orthodox mission. St. Nicholas’ fluency in Japanese led to his being occasionally called upon to be present during official government meetings between Japanese and Russian representatives.
Just as monasticism was beginning to put down its roots in Gaul, an event occurred that shook the minds and hearts of the entire Graeco-Roman world: after several centuries of violent conflicts and bloody skirmishes, the Germanic tribes of the north finally sacked the city of Rome. This marked the beginning of a new period in the history of the West, both ecclesiastically and politically, in the challenges it brought to the growing Orthodox Church.
The Gallic Church had its beginnings in the first century. Western tradition holds that Gaul (France) was initially evangelized and baptized by St. Mary Magdalene, St. Lazarus the Four-DaysDead, and his sisters Sts.Mary andMartha. On the basis of St. Paul’s second Epistle to Timothy, several historians have thought that the Apostle Crescens, an envoy of St. Paul, labored in Gaul. Some also think that St. Paul stopped in Gaul on his way to Spain. In any event, Christianity penetrated into southern Gaul at an early date, specifically into Provence and the Rhone Valley — areas that had a strong presence of Greek minorities hailing from Asia Minor, Phrygia and Syria.