Church of Japan

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The Church of Japan (日本ハリストス正教会) is an autonomous Orthodox church, whose primate is confirmed by the Church of Russia.

Orthodox Church in Japan
Founder(s) St. Nicholas of Japan
Autocephaly/Autonomy declared 1970
Autocephaly/Autonomy recognized 1970 by Russia
Current primate Archbishop Daniel
Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
Primary territory Japan
Possessions abroad  ?
Liturgical language(s) Japanese
Musical tradition Russian Chant
Calendar Julian
Population estimate 30,000[1]
Official website Church of Japan

Contents

History

St. Nicholas of Japan (baptized as Ivan Dimitrievich Kasatkin) brought Orthodoxy to Japan in the 19th Century. In 1861 he was sent by the Church of Russia to Hakodate, Hokkaido, as a priest to a chapel of the Russian consulate. Though the contemporary Shogun's government prohibited the Japanese conversion to Christianity, soon some neighbors who frequently visited the chapel converted—Nicholas's first three converts in Japan. While they were his first converts in Japan, they were not the first Japanese to do so—some Japanese who had settled in Russia had converted to Orthodoxy.

Apart from brief trips, Nicholas stayed in Japan, even during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), and spread Orthodoxy nationwide, being appointed as the first bishop of Church of Japan. Nicholas founded the Cathedral of Tokyo in Kanda district and spent over fifty years of his life there; hence Holy Resurrection Cathedral (Tokyo, Japan) was nicknamed Nikolai-do by Kanda citizens.

The early mission to establish the Japanese Orthodox Church depended on the Russian Orthodox Church, especially in financial matters. The war between Russia and Japan created a politically difficult situation for the church. After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Japanese government had new suspicions about the Japanese Orthodox Church, in particular, that it was used as a cover for communist Russian espionage. The second bishop of Japan, Metropolitan Sergius (Tikhomirov), suffered severely from such governmental suspicion, and he was forced to resign his episcopacy and died under strange circumstances on August 10, 1945, five days before the end of the war. The Russian Church similarly suffered from Stalinist policy and had no ability to help the young church in Japan.

During the Fifteen Years War (1930-1945), which from 1939 to 1945 was part of World War II, Christianity in Japan suffered under severe conditions, the Orthodox Church especially. After the Japanese surrender, the Allied occupation had a generous attitude to Christianity, given its predominantly American composition. As the majority of the Slavic- and Greek-Americans would attend local Orthodox parishes, Orthodoxy in Japan took a step forward. During the war, the Japanese Orthodox Church had almost no foreign contact. After the war, instead of the Russian Church, the precursors of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) helped re-establish the Japanese Orthodox Church, and several youth who studied at the OCA's St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York are now the leaders of Japanese Orthodox Church.

Later, as the situation of the Russian Orthodox Church improved, the Japanese Orthodox Church came under the leadership of the Church of Russia again. In 1970 Nikolai Kasatkin was glorified by the Patriarch of Moscow and is recognized as St. Nikolai, Apostle to Japan. His commemoration day is February 16. In 2000 the Russian Orthodox Church canonized Bishop Andronic (Nikolsky) as a saint and martyr. He was appointed the first bishop of Kyoto and later martyred as the archbishop of Perm during the Russian Revolution.

Hierarchy

This article forms part of the series
Orthodoxy in Japan
Holy Resurrection Cathedral (Tokyo, Japan)
History
Timeline of Orthodoxy in Japan
Church of Japan
Saints
Nicholas of Japan
Andronik of Perm
Bishops
Sergius (Tikhomirov)
Nicholas (Ono)
Benjamin (Basalyga)
Ireney (Bekish)
Nikon (de Greve)
Vladimir (Nagosky)
Theodosius (Nagashima)
Seraphim (Sigrist) of Sendai
Daniel (Nushiro) of Japan
Seraphim (Tsujie) of Sendai
People
Fr Paul Sawabe
Fr Simeon Michiro Mii
Fr Anatoly Tikhai
Yakov Tikhai
Victor Pokrovsky
Irina Yamashita
Institutions
Holy Resurrection Cathedral
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Diocesan bishops

Retired and former bishops


Autocephalous and Autonomous Churches of Orthodoxy
Autocephalous Churches
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Russia | Serbia | Romania | Bulgaria | Georgia | Cyprus | Greece | Poland | Albania | Czech Lands and Slovakia | OCA*
Autonomous Churches
Sinai | Finland | Estonia* | Japan* | China* | Ukraine*
The * designates a church whose autocephaly or autonomy is not universally recognized.



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