Martyrs of China
The priest Mitrophan (also Metrophanes), whose Chinese name was Ji chong or Tsi Chung (the English transliterations vary), was born on December 10, 1855. He lost his father in early childhood and was raised under the care of his grandmother Ekaterina and his mother Marina; his mother was a teacher at a school for women. At this time he experienced many troubles. When Archimandrite Pallady became head of the mission for the second time, he charged his teacher Juren Long Yuan to take great care in educating Mitrophan, in order to prepare him for his eventual ordination. Before reaching twenty years of age, he was appointed to the post of catechist. At 25 he was ordained to the priesthood by Nikolai, bishop of Japan.
Mitrophan was a humble person, very cautious and quiet, peaceful and dispassionate; even when faced with great insults, he did not try to justify himself. From the time of his arrival in Beijing (北京, Peking), Archimandrite Pallady charged Mitrophan, as did his teacher Long Yuan, to try to attain the priesthood. Mitrophan, however, did not want to accept ordination and constantly refused it, saying "how can a person with insufficient abilities and charity dare to accept this great rank?" But under the forceful urging of Archimandrite Flavian, succesor to Pallady, and the persuasion of the teacher, Mitrophan obeyed, even though he knew that by accepting the priesthood, his end would be inevitable. Under Archimandrite Flavian, Mitrophan assisted in translating and checking books. For fifteen years, he tirelessly served God while suffering many hurts and insults, both from his own people and outsiders. He finally had a mild breakdown. Sometime after this he spent three years living outside the mission, receiving half of his previous salary. All his life Father Mitrophan was never greedy, and many took advantage of this.
On the evening of June 1, 1900 (which was the 17th day of the 5th month on the Chinese calendar)1, the Boxers (Yihetuan Movement) burned the buildings of the mission. About seventy Christians, hiding from danger, assembled in St Mitrophan's home. Although Fr. Mitrophan's former ill-wishers were among them, he did not drive them out. Seeing that some people were dispirited, he strengthened them, saying that the time of troubles had come and would be difficult to avoid. He himself several times daily went to look at the burned church. On the 10th of June, towards 10 in the evening, soldiers and Boxers surrounded Fr. Mitrophan's dwelling. Up to seventy Christians were there at the time; the stronger among them fled, while Fr. Mitrophan and many others, primarily women and children, remained and were tortured. Fr. Mitrophan sat in his courtyard when the Boxers punctured his chest, and he fell under a date tree. His neighbors removed his body to the mission's almshouse. Later the hieromonk Avraamy picked up Fr. Mitrophan's body and, in 1903, during the first commemoration of the martyrs, it and those of the others, were placed under the altar in the martyrs' church.
Fr. Mitrophan’s family members were also tortured; they included his wife Tatiana and his three sons: the eldest, named Isaiah; the second, called Sergiy, a priest; and the third, Ioann.
On June 11, Tatiana was saved from the Boxers with help from her son Isaiah's bride, but on the following morning, June 12, she was seized along with 19 others and sent to Xiaoyingfang, where the Boxer camp was located, and was finally executed by beheading. An almshouse for the poor now stands on the place of her execution.
Isaiah had served in the military for 23 years. On June 7, the Boxers beheaded him because he was known to be a Christian.
Ioann (John) was only eight years old at the time. On June 10, when his father was killed, Boxers slashed his shoulders and chopped off his nose, ears, and toes. His brother Isaiah's bride managed to save him from death by hiding him in a latrine. In the morning he sat at the entrance without clothes and shoes, and when people asked "Are you hurting?" he answered “It doesn't hurt." Boys scoffed at him, calling him a “child of demons." Shortly thereafter, he reposed.
- Apolytikion. Tone one
- Minister to Christ, true priest of glory, reasonable sacrifice and blameless victim, thou gavest thyself up to the stadium with thy flock, O father, Chi - Sung in Beijing. Therefore pray for us who keep thy precious memory with faith»
- Apolytikion. Tone two
- Thou hast become a participator in the customs of the Apostles and a successor to their throne thou hast found the way of ascending to behold God, by thy faithful struggle unto blood with thy flock in Beijing, O God inspired, hieromartyr Chi - Sung Pray to Christ our God, that our souls might be saved.
- A. Rejoice, O priest of Beijing, martyred illustriously with thy flock thou didst destroy the impious schemes of tyrants with the strength of the Lord O Father Chi - Sung.
- B. Mitrophan as a pious God speaking minister thou didst weaken the delusions of the impious by thy feats, with thy flock, O Father, protector from darkness and boast of martyrs.
- Stars of the East, The Chinese Martyrs of the Boxer Rebellion
- The Chinese Martyrs of the Boxer Rebellion, by Fr. Geoffrey Korz. AGAIN magazine. Volume 22, No. 3 (July-September 2000).