In a move sure to aggravate the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Russian Church has declared Japan and China their own. One wonders what the Metropolitanate of Hong Kong will have to say. This is not a new debate between the two Churches, but this declaration is a new chapter in that disagreement.
Moscow, February 6 (Interfax) - China and Japan are part of the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate, the new edition of the charter of the Moscow Patriarchate says.
The document was adopted by the Bishop Council in Moscow on February 2-5 and was published on the website of the Russian Church.
Among the countries included in the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate are Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, the Baltic states, Central Asia (all these countries, except for China and Japan, were included in the previous edition of the charter).
The Russian Church began its activities in China in the 17th century, when Russian priest Maxim Leontyev arrived in Beijing. The Russian Spiritual Mission to China was founded in 1713.
On November 23, 1956, the Holy Synod decided to transfer all Orthodox churches in China to the Chinese Orthodox Church, which was granted autonomy.
In 1997, the Synod of the Russian Church decided that because the Chinese church did not have its head, its flock was placed under the care of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia until his election by the Local Council of the Chinese Orthodox Church in accordance with the Orthodox rules.
Orthodox faith was also brought by Russian missionaries to Japan.
The creation of the Russian Spiritual Mission in Japan was preceded by the creation of a Russian consulate in Japan in 1859 and the appointment of Iosif Goshkevich first consul in the city of Hakodate. He was accompanied by Vasily Makhov, a doctor and orthodox priest. Father Vasily had to return to Russia in 1860 due to his illness and was replaced with father Nikolay (Kasatkin), who later became future educator of Japan.