Orthodox Christianity in China – April -May 2014
English translation by Katherine Ilachinski
Orthodox Ukrainians living in Beijing for the first time this year were able to celebrate the feast of Pascha on its territory – at the Ukrainian Embassy in the PRC.
At the Paschal liturgy, which was conducted at night by parish cleric of Adrian and Natalia, priest Igor Shumak of the Kiev Metropolis of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was also visited by Ukrinform correspondent.
On the night service for which specially cleaned reception hall of diplomatic office was available, gathered about 50 people – citizens of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, in particular, the ambassadors of these countries. Despite the fact that the situation was largely “camp” like, the service was held according to all the canons, everyone could confess and receive Holy Communion; they could bless cakes, cheese cakes and eggs.
“There is no difference how the service is conducted at home and abroad. The only thing that in a strange temple nobody is acquainted, the singers are also strangers. Only this. And the atmosphere and everything else – no special distinction” – Father Igor told the agency correspondent, adding that “pious people are the same everywhere.”
According to the priest, he was warned that there will be not many people, but for him it was not important, because “even when there is at least one person who sincerely prays, the priest is praying together with him.” However when lot of people had gathered, Father Igor was pleased, because when more people are present, then praying is easier and the mood is more festive.
Igor Shumak noted that China – a specific country where Orthodoxy is in difficult situation. And because in many other countries they have permanent temples, there was no need to send priests from Ukraine. Of course, for organizing the trip to China – there was a lot of questions related to the financing, with the purchase of tickets. “Literally they collected from the people by a string. Embassy organized the meeting space and board, we ourselves – the tickets” – he said.
Interlocutor of the agency appealed to those believers who have the opportunity to provide all possible assistance in such actions.
The main idea of the cleric’s preaching – “Acquire the peaceful spirit first for yourself, and then there will be peace in families and in our country, because each person will take care of his soul.” He is convinced that “there is hope that if everyone will think about saving his soul, to preserve peace in the soul, then there will be peace in the country and there will be no appeals to separation, to war, nor to the fighting, there will not be a split in the families.” “People are fighting because they lose peace in their souls,” – the priest is convinced. “The church can help, but you need to hear it, to want to listen and hear,” – he stressed.