Difference between revisions of "Orthodoxy in Taiwan"

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*[http://mx.nthu.edu.tw/~katchen Johanna E. Katchen's website]
*[http://mx.nthu.edu.tw/~katchen Johanna E. Katchen's website]
*[http://orthodoxchurch.tw/ ROCOR-affiliated church site (Chinese)]
*[http://orthodoxchurch.tw/ Moscow-affiliated church site (Chinese)]
*[http://orthodoxchurch.com.tw/ ROCOR-affiliated church site (Russian)]
*[http://orthodoxchurch.com.tw/ Moscow-affiliated church site (Russian)]
*[https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=553900138004240&set=a.553892188005035.1073741830.530595883667999&type=3&theater  ROCOR-affiliated church's Facebook page]
*[https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=553900138004240&set=a.553892188005035.1073741830.530595883667999&type=3&theater  Moscow-affiliated church's Facebook page]
[[Category: Church History]]
[[Category: Church History]]
[[Category: Orthodoxy by country]]
[[Category: Orthodoxy by country]]

Revision as of 23:14, August 31, 2013

Orthodox Christianity arrived in Taiwan around 1895, the year the Qing Dynasty ceded the island to Japan. These first Orthodox believers were Japanese immigrants, who almost immediately began petitioning St. Nicholas (Kasatskin), Archbishop of Japan to send them a priest. In 1901, a Tokyo synod created the Christ the Savior Parish in Taiwan. Its first priest was Fr. Simeon (Okava or Yukava--spellings differ), followed (in 1911) by a Fr. Titus (Kariyama). Records indicate a Taiwan-based Orthodox population of 15 or 17 (in 1900), 29 (in 1901), and 44 (in 1903). The activity of the community was interrupted by the 1912 death of St. Nicholas of Japan, and largely ceased with the end of Japanese rule in 1945.

Nicholas (Saiama) of Ramenskoe was born 1914 in Taihoku (Taipei). [1]

In 1949, some 5000 Russians arrived from China (e.g. Shanghai, Harbin, Xinjiang) in the wake of the Chinese Civil War, and began gathering in Taipei's Cafe Astoria. Mention is made of a Korean War-era funeral led by Bishop (later Archbishop) John (Shahovskoy) of San Francisco, then a U.S. army chaplain en route from Korea to the USA. Archbishop Ireney (Bekish) of Tokyo (later New York) made annual visits to Taipei between 1957 and 1959, celebrating divine liturgy in a private home, called the Church of the Forerunner. In 1960 he ceded these duties to an American military chaplain, Fr. Nikolay Kirilyuk. 1965 saw a visit by Metropolitan Vladimir (Sagosky) of Japan (later San Francisco), American military chaplain Archpriest Peter Zurnovich, and Fr. Kirill Arihara. The number of Orthodox faithful in Taiwan has been variously estimated at 50 (in 1960), 100 (in 1958), and 200 (in 1965).[2] The Russian community's most famous member, ROC President Chiang Ching-kuo's Belarussian-born wife Chiang Fang-liang (née Faina Ipat'evna Vakhreva), did not attend services (and may have nominally affiliated with her husband's Methodism).

Sources differ as the whether this Russian church had any contact with the earlier wave of Japanese-era believers. By the 1970's the church had again dwindled into inactivity, in part because of a canonical rule requiring the closure of any parish which goes more than fifty years without a resident priest.

In 2000, a Greek hieromonk, Fr. Jonah (Mourtos) of Gregoriou Monastery (Athos), arrived, under the auspices of the recently-created Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia (OMHKSEA, f. 1996, and affiliated with the Ecumenical Patriarch), and with financial backing from the Kosmas Aitolos Missionary Society of Greece. He had previously been posted to missionary churches in Zaire and Calcutta. A small congregation of perhaps 30 people (swelling to more than a hundred at Christmas and Easter) formed as the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (Taipei), aka the Orthodox Church in Taiwan, which formally registered with the government in 2003. It originally met in hotels and borrowed Catholic church buildings, then in a rented storefront in Taipei's Tianmu district, before moving to a fourth-floor apartment in Xindian. The congregation has included a mixture of Russians and East Europeans, as well as Chinese and Western converts. Liturgy is conducted in English, with parts translated into Chinese, Russian, and/or Greek. A satellite group, led by a lay reader, has been meeting in Taizhong.

In 2005, INTERPOL contacted Taiwan authorities in an attempt to apprehend drug smuggler / Christodoulos aide Apostolos Vavylis, notorious for his role in the church scandals which made worldwide news that year. [3] Vavylis had been traveling on false identity documents obtained through the assistance of church leaders, including Fr. Jonah, who traveled to Greece to testify to his lack of criminal intent. Vavylis indicated that he had traveled to Italy via Thailand with the help of (unnamed) "Taiwanese friends." [4]

In 2012, Archbishop Mark of Yegorievsk, head of the Russian church's Office for Institutions Abroad, "reactivated" the (1901) Christ the Savior parish, apparently in response to numerous requests from Russians living in Taiwan. The following year, the Church of the Elevation of the Cross, aka the Taiwan Orthodox Church, was formed as a metochion of the Moscow Patriarchate, with Russo-Canadian hieromonk Fr. Kirill (Shkarbul) as its first resident priest. It meets in first-floor apartment in Taipei's Xinyi District, off the Hulin Night Market. Liturgy is conducted in Russian, and translated into Chinese and English.

Bishop Nektarios (Tsilis) of Hong Kong (OMHKSEA) responded by excommunicating Fr. Kirill and one of his parishioners (both of whom had formerly attended the OMHKSEA mission church), on the charge of uncanonical behavior and "ethno-phyletism." [5] At issue is whether the Moscow Patriarchate has the right to establish parishes outside of Russia, in what OMHKSEA considers to be territory under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch. The Russian church takes the position that it has the right to operate wherever there are Russians, and points to Moscow's historic privileges in China and Japan (both of which have exercised sovereignty over Taiwan in the past). An OMHKSEA press release specifically rejects arguments in favor of "parallel Orthodox jurisdictions" (as in the USA), adding a note on the political background:

The Orthodox Metropolitanate knows who is protecting him [Fr. Kirill], as well as all the bad things that he and his collaborators are doing in order to gather followers. We do not want to make any disclosures yet, so as not to scandalise the faithful. [...] Finally, to those who speak of the presence of the Church of Russia in South East Asia and its supposed canonical rights, the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and South East Asia states once again its unwavering and clear position that the presence of the Church of Russia in South East Asia is uncanonical and that any decision of the Synod of the Church of Russia concerning the Far East is considered invalid. At some future point, the Orthodox Metropolitanate will comment on the so-called historical arguments presented by the Church of Russia to support its uncanonical actions. [6]

Also in 2013, the ROCOR-affiliated church briefly attracted media attention for the blessing of a ship. [7]


Material taken from Wikipedia: "Orthodox Christianity in Taiwan"

External links