Russian Church works to facilitate opening of churches and training of priests in China

Moscow, October 1, 2021


The Russian Orthodox Church is in constant contact with the Chinese government, working to arrange the opening of new churches and the training of priests there.

The Church is very concerned with developing the life of Orthodox Christians in Chinas, although there are limited opportunities for missionary work there, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), head of the Department for External Church Relations, told reporters at the recent presentation of the Chinese translation of Patriarch Kirill’s book, Thoughts For Every Day of the Year, reports RIA-Novosti.

“We have a permanent mechanism for consultations with the People’s Republic of China,” Met. Hilarion said. “We were just holding negotiations on the development of Orthodox believers in China, on the opening of churches, on the training of priests. This work is moving ahead, but it’s moving quite slowly.”

The Metropolitan also noted that there are a lot of Chinese in Russia, “and nothing prevents us from enlightening them with the light of faith in Christ.”

Orthodoxy first appeared in China in the 17th century, when the Russian priest Maxim Leontiev arrived in Beijing. In 1956, the Chinese Orthodox Church was granted autonomy by the Moscow Patriarchate, though the mission remains small.

According to Met. Hilarion, the situation in China is comparable to that in the USSR 40 years ago, “when the Church existed and had a legal right to exist, but its right to conduct educational and missionary activities was severely limited.”

The Russian Church hopes that its publishing activities will help spread the Orthodox faith in China.

Pat. Kirill’s Thoughts For Every Day of the Year includes fragments from sermons, articles, reports, speeches, books, and interviews. Other books were also presented yesterday, including a catechism by Met. Hilarion, an illustrated Russian-Chinese dictionary of Orthodox vocabulary, and Asceticism for the Laity by Fr. Pavel Gumerov.

In fact, a number of important texts for the Chinese mission have been issued in recent years. Another catechism was published in 2017 as well as the life of St. Innocent of Irkutsk, the Book of Hours in May 2018, a Chinese translation of Metropolitan Tikhon (Shevkunov)’s Everyday Saints in 2019 and the Sunday Octoechos later that year. In 2020, the text of the Nativity services was published in Chinese.

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