Diocese of Beijing

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The Diocese of Beijing of the Church of China traces its origins to the Russian Spiritual Mission that was established in the Chinese capital in 1712.

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History

The formal beginnings of the Diocese of Beijing began when Archimandrite Innocent (Figourovsky), who had been the eighteenth leader of the mission, returned in August 1902 to China having been consecrated Bishop of Beijing. The area of his administration was then established as extending over all churches built along the Chinese-Eastern Railway. In reality this covered, in addition to China, Manchuria and Mongolia.

Bp. Innocent's elevation altered the status of the Russian Mission in China to that of an active missionary organization as nearly all of China was opened to missionary work. The work in the diocese was aided by funding from the Chinese government as compensation for the damages to the mission facilities caused by the Boxer (Yihetuan Movement) Revolt. Soon churches and chapels appeared in Zhili and Henan provinces. By 1916, there were three monasteries in Beijing, 14 churches and missions in Zhili province, 12 in Hebei, four in Henan, one in Xi'anfu, and one in Mongolia.

After the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 in Russia, the diocese grew greatly as refugees from Russia arrived in China in great numbers. With the increase in the Orthodox population the formation of new dioceses from the territory of the Diocese of Beijing became necessary.

The new dioceses included Shanghai and Tianjin as well as recognition of the Diocese of Harbin that supported the Eastern China Railway operations in Manchuria.

After establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, jurisdiction over the Diocese of Beijing and the other dioceses in China was transferred to the Autonomous Church of China in accordance with the treaties between China and the Soviet Union. The formal grant of autonomy was made by the Church of Russia in 1956.

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