Tokyo, September 16, 2020
This weekend, solemn services were held in Tokyo to mark several important anniversaries for the Japanese Orthodox Church
In 2020, the Japanese Church celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding, the 50th anniversary of its autonomy within the Moscow Patriarchate, and the 50th anniversary of the glorification of the Equal-to-the-Apostles St. Nikolai of Japan.
On Saturday, September 12, the All-Night Vigil was celebrated at Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Tokyo (known in Japan as Nikolai-do in honor of St. Nikolai) by His Eminence Archbishop Seraphim of Sendai together with the cathedral clergy and the rector of the Russian Church’s representation church in Japan. His Eminence Metropolitan Daniel of Tokyo and All Japan prayed in the altar during the service, reports the Department for External Church Relations.
The next morning, Met. Daniel and Abp. Seraphim celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the cathedral together with clergy from throughout Japan. Due to restrictive coronavirus measures, about 70 people were present in the congregation.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, a moleben was served and many years were proclaimed. Met. Daniel then addressed the faithful with congratulations on the anniversary dates.
A message from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia was then read out in both Russian and Japanese, in which he recalled that St. Nikolai arrived in Japan in 1861 as the priest of the church at the Russian embassy, and within 10 short years, he had spread the Orthodox faith enough that a new structure, the Japanese Spiritual Mission, had to be established.
The anniversaries of the Japanese Church are inspirational for the faithful of both Japan and Russia, and thus the Patriarch was glad to accept the invitation to visit Japan for the celebrations, he writes, though, unfortunately, epidemiological restrictions forced a postponement.
As a gift to Pat. Kirill, the Japanese Church handed over material for vestments made according to the ancient Kyoto weaving tradition.
In the afternoon, Abp. Seraphim served a moleben at the Yanaka Cemetery in Tokyo at the tomb of St. Nikolai, and a memorial litiya was served at the graves of the deceased hierarchs of the Japanese Church. The services were attended by clergy of the Japanese Church and the Russian representation in Japan.
The celebrations will culminate with a visit to Japan by Pat. Kirill once the current restrictions are lifted.