The Chinese Orthodox Church
English translation by Katherine Ilachinski
On September 21, 2012, the feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas (Nativity of the Mother of God) church in Golutvino – in the Chinese Patriarchal representation in Moscow.
Metropolitan Hilarion concelebrated with Archimandrite Sergius (Obyedkov), rector Archpriest Igor Zuev, priest Alexy Proshakov – a cleric of St. Nicholas Church, Fr Alex Yusupov, Archdeacon Alexis Trunin – a clergyman of the Moscow church in honor of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” on Ordynka, and Hierodeacon John (Kopeikin) – assistant of DECR chairman.
At the service many parishioners prayed, including benefactors of the temple, as well as LM Sevastyanov, executive director of the St. Gregory the Theologian Foundation, and DI Petrovsky, employee of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Part of prayers offered during the services was in Chinese. At the end of the Liturgy, a procession took place.
Addressing the clergy and parishioners of the church, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion warmly congratulated all participants with the feast day, and gave believers the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
In his archpastoral speech Vladika Hilarion said:
“We celebrate the Nativity of the Theotokos as the first feast of the church year. As we know, the church calendar begins in September, and it is the solemn day of the Nativity of the Virgin, which starts it. And closing as the last great feast of the church year is the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin. During the year before us we see the life of the Theotokos from her birth to her blessed end. The Mother of God accompanies us Orthodox Christians throughout the year and during all the years of our lives, throughout our life’s journey.
There is not a day on the calendar, when the Orthodox Church has not offered a prayer to the Queen of Heaven. There is no such service, which does not have a prayer to Our Lady. We honor her as our Mother, as the Mother of the Holy Church, as our helper and intercessor, heavenly patroness, who protects us from all evil and covers us with her omophorion. To her intercession we entrust our lives and souls, our children and loved ones, to Her we pray in the morning, afternoon, evening and night, asking the Mother of God to be our guide and Hodegitria, that she would pray for us before the throne of Her Son our Lord Jesus Christ, inspiring our life and our life deeds.
I am glad that today, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill I celebrated Divine Liturgy in the church, which has recently become the Chinese Patriarchal representation. This year, the Lord send me again to visit China and for the first time in many years to serve the Liturgy in the Holy Protection Church in Harbin, and make the first, probably, for a half-century hierarchical service at St. Nicholas Church in Shanghai, to pray with Orthodox believers in Beijing. Very joyous and exciting were the meetings and worship services, because for many years we cared about revival of the life of the Chinese Orthodox Church.
Patriarch Kirill began work on the revival of the Chinese Church when he was chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, repeatedly visiting China for conducting the divine services, for meetings with Chinese believers and to negotiate with the government of the People’s Republic. Now, this mission is entrusted by hierarchy of the Russian Church to me as chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. Every time I come to China, I can see small as yet, but the good changes in the lives of believers of Chinese Church. I hope that by our joint efforts the life of Orthodox believers in China will be normalized, and all those who want to participate in worship in Chinese temples, will be able to do it on a regular basis, the churches once again will be filled with the sounds of the Divine service, Chinese priests will serve in them again, as it was before.
The Chinese patriarchal metochion in the capital city of Moscow can, should and must play a significant role in the normalization of life of the Chinese Orthodox Church. It was created in order to be a place of spiritual enlightenment for Chinese believers, who would come here to pray, that worship here at least partially would be made in the Chinese language, that this place would become the center of the active enlightenment and publishing works, so that modern Chinese believers could receive Orthodox literature in their native language. I hope that by your labor, Father Igor, by works of monastery clerics who know the Chinese language, this important task will be executed.
We must not forget that China is our great neighbor. It is a country with smaller territory than ours, while it is a home to more than a billion people, including Orthodox Christians, the descendants of Russian Albazinians, who in the late XVII century came to China. Over time, they have practically ceased to be Russian by birth, but have not lost the Orthodox Faith and continued to keep it for all these long and difficult centuries. They keep the Orthodox Faith today. We have to take care of them, to pray for these people and do everything we can so that they, like us, are able to go to their temples, offer prayers to the Lord and His Blessed Mother. We should pray that the life of the Orthodox believers in China proceeds in the same way as in our country and in other countries where the multinational and great Russian Orthodox Church exists.
I would like to congratulate all of you, dear fathers, brothers and sisters, with the feast day of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Golutvino. Let us pray that the Blessed Virgin would be a guide in our life journey, that she would cover the countries of Russia, China and the entire world from all evil with Her omophorion. Amen! ”
In response, the rector Archpriest Igor Zuev warmly thanked His Eminence for his paternal care and concern for the Chinese Patriarchal representation.
In memory of the visit and the services there the chairman of DECR was presented with an anointing set.