On December 6-7, 2012, the 300th anniversary of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in China was celebrated. Among the events were conferences, a book fair, a round table and divine services.
With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, His Grace Vicar Bishop Efrem of Bikin, Prorector of Khabarovsk Theological Seminary, and Mr DI Petrovsky, member of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, traveled to Hong Kong for the anniversary celebrations.
On December 5, Bishop Efrem, Protopriest Dionisy Pozdnyaev, Rector of the Church of SS Peter and Paul in Hong Kong and Mr Petrovsky were welcomed by the Consul General of Russia Mr VA Kalinin. At the meeting, they discussed the spiritual ministry to the Russian people who live in Hong Kong on a temporary or permanent basis.
On December 6, a conference was hosted at the Institute for Chinese Christian Studies in Hong Kong marking the anniversary of Orthodoxy in China, which began with a prayer. Bishop Efrem gave the keynote address.
Opening the conference was Professor Daniel Yan of the Institute, discussing the work of the establishment he heads in studying Chinese Christian theology and the effort to attract a wider circle of humanities scholars to this field from colleges and educational institutions of the People’s Republic of China. He also talked about the Institute’s contributions in this discipline. Stressing the long history and effective cooperation with the Russian Orthodox parish in Hong Kong, Professor Yan noted warmly that His Eminence Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad (now Patriarch Kirill) helped launch this program, having visited the Institute in 2001.
Fr Dionisy then delivered a lecture titled “The Orthodox Church in the Chinese Context,” sharing his thoughts on the perspectives for the development of the Orthodox presence in China, and the historical path of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Peking [Beijing].
Mr Petrovsky read a lecture titled “The Russian Orthodox Church and Russo-Chinese Relations;” Nelson Mitrophan Chin, President of the Orthodox Brotherhood of All Chinese Martyrs, spoke on “The Ponomar Project: a Multi-lingual Computer Platform for Divine Ritual Texts;” Professor Lin Tsinhua of Beijing Pedagogical University read “Orthodox Research and Chinese Academic Circles;” Mr MV Rumyantsev, teacher at Moscow State University’s Asia and Africa Studies Department spoke on “Difficulties in Translating Liturgical Lexicons and Texts Into Chinese;” Professor Chan Baichun delivered a speech titled “On the Lexicon of Orthodox Terminology in the Chinese Tongue;” Professor Syuya Fenlin: “On the Uniqueness of Orthodox Anthropology;” and Deacon Georgy Maksimov spoke on “The Inner Spiritual Life of the Orthodox Christian.”
After the speeches, an enthusiastic discussion followed among the speakers as well as other participants, including Protopriest Alexei Kiselevich, Rector of the Orthodox Community of Shanghai; clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia Protopriest Michael Li and Protopriest Vladimir Boikov; Mr MV Drozdov, President of the Russian Club of Shanghai; Mr LB Gubarev, Coordinator of the Russian Cultural Center at the Catholic Institute of St Joseph in Macau; and representatives of Orthodox communities in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhe and Macau, as well as members of the ICCS, Catholics and Protestants of Hong Kong.
On December 7, the feast day of St Catherine the Great Martyr, Vladyka Efrem officiated at the celebration of Divine Liturgy at SS Peter and Paul Church, joined by other clergymen of the unified Russian Orthodox Church. This was the first hierarchal service in Hong Kong since the visit to this parish of Bishop Yuvenaly of Zaraisk (now Metropolitan of Krutitsa and Kolomensk) in 1968, and since the renewed life of the parish in 2003 (a final decision on the matter was made by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church in October 2008).
During Liturgy, which was performed in Church Slavonic, English and Chinese, prayers were lifted for the repose of the souls of His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV of Great Antioch and All the East.
After a moleben of gratitude at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Bishop Efrem opened an exhibition of Orthodox literature published in the Chinese language. Present at the service was Consul General Kalinin.
The archpastor gave commemorative medals of the Church of SS Peter and Paul to those who have worked on the development of the Orthodox Church in China. He also gave the university library an illustrated album, “Orthodoxy in China,” published in Russian and Chinese, prepared by the DECR of the Moscow Patriarchate jointly with the Institute of the Far East.
Some 60 books were on exhibition, which included a round table devoted to the Russian-Chinese Orthodox lexicon, as well as the presentation of several new titles.
Participants of the celebrations made visits to the colonial cemetery of Hong Kong, where Vladyka Efrem performed a commemorative litany over the grave of Protopriest Dimitry Uspensky, the first rector of SS Peter and Paul Church. The hierarch also performed a pannikhida in the oldest Orthodox edifice in Hong Kong, a cemetery chapel, to commemorate the Orthodox Christians buried there.
Over 150 Russians are buried in the cemetery. Thanks to the assistance of the Consulate General of Russia in China, permission was received from the municipal authorities for SS Peter and Paul Parish to conduct periodic services at the cemetery.
The celebrations concluded with a formal reception.
Press Service of the DECR/Patriarchia.ru