The Orthodox church timeline is fascinating. Here you can learn about the 106 Orthodox churches that opened in China over the last century. You’ll also learn about the Orthodox churches that were closed and later reopened. Historically, the Orthodox church has faced many challenges. In the last century, it was dominated by anti-religious state policy and decades of repression. The result was marginalization of Orthodox believers. In addition, new parishioners want to live normal contemporary social lives, not a cloistered subculture. Ritualistic demands of the church are not something that can be fulfilled in a big city, and they do not want to join it.
106 Orthodox churches were opened in China
After the Communist Party seized power in 1949, many Russian immigrants in China decided to pursue their religious beliefs and established Orthodox churches in the country. The Communists stifled Christian missionary work, but the Orthodox remained, and 106 Orthodox churches were established in China by 1949. Initially, parishioners were mostly Russian refugees, with a small percentage of native Chinese believers. The city of Harbin had 15 Russian Orthodox churches and two cemeteries, but in the following decade, the Soviet and Chinese governments signed treaties turning over the Orthodox Churches to Chinese control.
In addition to the 106 Orthodox churches, two Russian Orthodox parishes were restored in Shanghai. In Beijing, there is a single Orthodox parish. Two former Orthodox churches have been returned to the Orthodox Church, but no activities take place inside them. This situation is a concern for the Orthodox community in China, which is increasingly threatened by the Communist Party’s increasing zeal to suppress religious minorities.
During the Boxer Rebellion, Orthodox Chinese Christians were targeted and some were killed. In 1900, Father Mitrophan, an Orthodox priest, was martyred during the Boxer rebellion. His memory is etched on an icon of Holy Martyrs of China. The mission’s library in Beijing was destroyed, but by 1902, 32 Orthodox churches were in China with close to 6,000 adherents. Some churches also operated schools and orphanages.
106 Orthodox churches were reopened
Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, more than a hundred Orthodox churches were reopened in the People’s Republic of China, the former Soviet Union. In China, the Orthodox churches were mainly reopened after the Communists banned Chrisitan missionary work. The churches’ parishioners were mostly Russian refugees, but a large Chinese element made up the other 10,000 faithful. The Russian churches and cemeteries were turned over to the Chinese government when the Soviet Union was dissolved.
The fall of Constantinople in 1453 was another significant event in the Orthodox church timeline. During that time, Greek-speaking churches were enslaved and placed under the heavy yoke of Islam. They were forced to endure servitude until they gained independence in the 19th century during the Balkan Revolutions and World War I. Eventually, the focus of Orthodoxy shifted to the domains of the Most Pious Tsars of Russia.