Skip to comments.In Beijing Orthodox Easter is celebrated in Catholic church
Posted on 05/05/2005 7:35:58 AM PDT by Destro
4 May, 2005
In Beijing Orthodox Easter is celebrated in Catholic church
Lay people celebrate Orthodox Easter service in Catholic because there are no more Orthodox churches and priests in China.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) Orthodox Easter was celebrated in China on Sunday, May 2. The service was however conducted in Beijings Catholic Cathedral since there are no Orthodox places of worship left in the country.
The mass, the first one in 40 years, was conducted by lay people since there are also no Orthodox priests in the country and Chinese law bans foreign priests.
China's oldest Orthodox priest, Fr Alexander Du Lifu, died in 2003 at the age of 80. He was survived by just two other Chinese-born Orthodox clergymen living in Beijing: Mikhail Li, who is currently based in Australia, and Evangel Lu, who in the meantime has moved to Shanghai. For this Easter, Orthodox believers had to get prior authorisation from City Hall.
The congregation thanked City Hall for its permission, and said they hope that they would soon have an Orthodox priest of their own.
Most of the worshippers in attendance were Beijing residents, but some had come from Tianjin and Hebei (provinces to the south-east of the capital).
Another Easter service took place on the premises of the Russian Embassy in Beijing, but was not open to Chinese believers.
The Orthodox Church in China gained full autonomy from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1957, but with the Culture Revolution of 1966-67, the life of the local Orthodox community got almost frozen.
Currently, according to the External Church Relations Department of the Moscow Patriarchate there are an estimated 13,000 Orthodox Christians in the whole of China, 400 in the capital.
Well I honestly don't know what to think about this story, because all of the facts seem to be screwed up.
Under normal circumstances, I would be opposed to the Orthodox saying their liturgy in one of our churches, but the situation in China obviously is not normal.
Some of the facts were completely off in the story though. The actual church that was used for this liturgy is not "officially" a Catholic Church, because it is the Beijing Cathedral of the Catholic Patriotic Assocation of China, which is in a state of schism from the Roman Catholic Church. I've actually been there to mass a couple of times, and the ironic thing is that even though it is a government sponsored, Communist Church, the mass said there was a 100 times more conservative than the mass you would see at the Average American parish. The altar boys even wore red cassocks with a white surplice.
The second issue which I would take with this article is about the existence of Orthodox churches in China, because I believe there are a few, especially in Manchuria. Specifically I know that there is a large Orthodox Church in the city of Harbin, although I don't know whether there is a scheduled weekly liturgy or not, but it is a well known building in China.
You are right. This article is a strange one and the facts are definitely screwed up. Here's a link to Orthodox matters in China:
The Ecumenical Patriarchate's Exarchy of SE Asia is also situated in Hong Kong.
From what I can gather there are plenty of Orthodox Churches in China, especially in Manchuria, but there are many other ones spread throughout the country. The real problem in China for the Orthodox is that there is a shortage of native Chinese priests. There are Russian priests who are willing to minister to the Orthodox believers in China, but under Chinese law foreign religious leaders are not allowed to work in China. There are many cases of foreign ministers being caught while attempting to minister to their believers in China, and as a result they were subsequently deported.
The article is correct in a fashion - what Orthodox Churches remain standing are not allowed to function as churches.
God Bless you Destro-—and Kali Anastasi wherever you are.
I celebrated an Orthodox Christian wedding in Venezuela once - in a catholic church-—it was a small town and had no Orthodox Church.