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Minnesotan
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« on: September 20, 2014, 01:08:15 PM »

What's the status of Orthodoxy in China recently? I haven't heard any updates on it.

What I have read is that the Chinese government does not officially recognize Orthodoxy, presumably because it's semi-isolationist and wary of Russian influence. (For the same reason, it has an officially-sanctioned "Catholic" church with no actual ties to Rome). Historically the Chinese Orthodox Church was under Russia. Thus, Chinese Orthodox are in the same position as the Protestant "house churches" and the "underground" Catholics, of being technically illegal.

Have there been any official dialogues with the Chinese government over this? This is one area where Orthodoxy's ecclesiology would potentially give us an advantage over Catholicism. A completely autonomous Chinese Orthodox Church, one free of foreign influence, would be perfectly possible in theory since we don't have a magisterium or "universal bishop".

Books like Hieromonk Damascene's Christ the Eternal Tao make me think an Orthodox mission to China would have a lot of potential.

The Chinese government isn't doctrinaire Communist anymore, and some senior bigwigs have expressed an openness both toward more traditional Chinese ideals (Confucianism, etc.) and toward Western ones such as Christianity. They view house-church Protestantism as subversive due to its individualism (Orthodox sobornost is probably more in keeping with Chinese values). Also, house-churches, because of their extremely non-hierarchical organization, are vulnerable to takeovers by cults such as Eastern Lightning (a violent pseudo-Christian cult that rivals ISIS in its brutality). Orthodoxy would not have this problem, since the bishops would be there to keep the church from being deceived, and also because, if it were officially registered with the government, it could cooperate with the authorities to make sure Lightning doesn't take over any parishes.

Perhaps this is one of the things the 2016 pan-Orthodox synod could discuss. I certainly think that if the USSR could be persuaded to allow the Russian Orthodox Church to continue existing, it should be possible to do the same with China.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2014, 01:09:46 PM by Minnesotan » Logged
Minnesotan
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2014, 02:22:05 AM »

I'm still wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this. Any replies would be most welcome!
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2014, 02:33:39 AM »

I read that China is concerned about the latest Hunger Games movie since they fear a revolution among the increasingly educated and wealthy masses.  Before there was Katness, there was St. Nina, evangelizer of the Armenians.  Perhaps China needs a couple of St. Ninas for both Orthodoxy and Catholicism.

Plus, the MP and EP would fight over who has jurisdiction in China.  China is friendly with Turkey and Greece, not with Russia.
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2014, 02:47:28 AM »

An interview from 2013 of Mitrophan Chin, webmaster of http://orthodox.cn
http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2013/05/13/rebirth-of-the-orthodox-church-in-china-an-interview-with-mitrophan-chin/

An article from October 2014 from The Economist magazine.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2014/10/orthodox-christianity-china
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2014, 03:32:23 AM »

What's the status of Orthodoxy in China recently? I haven't heard any updates on it.

What I have read is that the Chinese government does not officially recognize Orthodoxy, presumably because it's semi-isolationist and wary of Russian influence. (For the same reason, it has an officially-sanctioned "Catholic" church with no actual ties to Rome). Historically the Chinese Orthodox Church was under Russia. Thus, Chinese Orthodox are in the same position as the Protestant "house churches" and the "underground" Catholics, of being technically illegal.

Have there been any official dialogues with the Chinese government over this? This is one area where Orthodoxy's ecclesiology would potentially give us an advantage over Catholicism. A completely autonomous Chinese Orthodox Church, one free of foreign influence, would be perfectly possible in theory since we don't have a magisterium or "universal bishop".

Books like Hieromonk Damascene's Christ the Eternal Tao make me think an Orthodox mission to China would have a lot of potential.

The Chinese government isn't doctrinaire Communist anymore, and some senior bigwigs have expressed an openness both toward more traditional Chinese ideals (Confucianism, etc.) and toward Western ones such as Christianity. They view house-church Protestantism as subversive due to its individualism (Orthodox sobornost is probably more in keeping with Chinese values). Also, house-churches, because of their extremely non-hierarchical organization, are vulnerable to takeovers by cults such as Eastern Lightning (a violent pseudo-Christian cult that rivals ISIS in its brutality). Orthodoxy would not have this problem, since the bishops would be there to keep the church from being deceived, and also because, if it were officially registered with the government, it could cooperate with the authorities to make sure Lightning doesn't take over any parishes.

Perhaps this is one of the things the 2016 pan-Orthodox synod could discuss. I certainly think that if the USSR could be persuaded to allow the Russian Orthodox Church to continue existing, it should be possible to do the same with China.

I think China is the one case where it would really make sense for the MP to give up its claim in favor of Constantinople. The less the Chinese church is seen as a vehicle of Russian state influence, the better- and let's face it, the MP is basically a department of the Russian government at the moment.

There are functioning Chinese congregations on the ground in several cities. This year, for the first time since the cultural revolution, a Chinese orthodox cleric was ordained in Hong Kong- Fr. Dcn. Alexander Yu. Here, he is serving at the Pokrov liturgy in Harbin:

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Minnesotan
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2014, 08:43:11 PM »

What's the status of Orthodoxy in China recently? I haven't heard any updates on it.

What I have read is that the Chinese government does not officially recognize Orthodoxy, presumably because it's semi-isolationist and wary of Russian influence. (For the same reason, it has an officially-sanctioned "Catholic" church with no actual ties to Rome). Historically the Chinese Orthodox Church was under Russia. Thus, Chinese Orthodox are in the same position as the Protestant "house churches" and the "underground" Catholics, of being technically illegal.

Have there been any official dialogues with the Chinese government over this? This is one area where Orthodoxy's ecclesiology would potentially give us an advantage over Catholicism. A completely autonomous Chinese Orthodox Church, one free of foreign influence, would be perfectly possible in theory since we don't have a magisterium or "universal bishop".

Books like Hieromonk Damascene's Christ the Eternal Tao make me think an Orthodox mission to China would have a lot of potential.

The Chinese government isn't doctrinaire Communist anymore, and some senior bigwigs have expressed an openness both toward more traditional Chinese ideals (Confucianism, etc.) and toward Western ones such as Christianity. They view house-church Protestantism as subversive due to its individualism (Orthodox sobornost is probably more in keeping with Chinese values). Also, house-churches, because of their extremely non-hierarchical organization, are vulnerable to takeovers by cults such as Eastern Lightning (a violent pseudo-Christian cult that rivals ISIS in its brutality). Orthodoxy would not have this problem, since the bishops would be there to keep the church from being deceived, and also because, if it were officially registered with the government, it could cooperate with the authorities to make sure Lightning doesn't take over any parishes.

Perhaps this is one of the things the 2016 pan-Orthodox synod could discuss. I certainly think that if the USSR could be persuaded to allow the Russian Orthodox Church to continue existing, it should be possible to do the same with China.

I think China is the one case where it would really make sense for the MP to give up its claim in favor of Constantinople. The less the Chinese church is seen as a vehicle of Russian state influence, the better- and let's face it, the MP is basically a department of the Russian government at the moment.

There are functioning Chinese congregations on the ground in several cities. This year, for the first time since the cultural revolution, a Chinese orthodox cleric was ordained in Hong Kong- Fr. Dcn. Alexander Yu. Here, he is serving at the Pokrov liturgy in Harbin:



Why not just enthrone a Patriarch of Xi'an? (That's the city where Christianity was first introduced to China, so it's of symbolic importance. It was the capital during the Silk Road era). Given that China's population is far larger than those of Greece, Turkey, or Russia, it would be silly to suggest that the Chinese church should be anything other than completely autonomous and autocephalous. The small number of faithful at this point shouldn't be an issue either; the Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria is also small yet is still considered on equal footing to the other ones.
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2014, 08:51:51 PM »

Why not just enthrone a Patriarch of Xi'an? (That's the city where Christianity was first introduced to China, so it's of symbolic importance. It was the capital during the Silk Road era). Given that China's population is far larger than those of Greece, Turkey, or Russia, it would be silly to suggest that the Chinese church should be anything other than completely autonomous and autocephalous. The small number of faithful at this point shouldn't be an issue either; the Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria is also small yet is still considered on equal footing to the other ones.

At the moment the church in China has no bishops and a few elderly priests. All new clergy are trained by the MP or other jurisdictions. In other words, there is no Chinese Orthodox Church except on paper. It is really not comparable to the Patriarchate of Alexandria or any other ancient church which is still functioning. It's fun to dream of a Xi'an Patriarchate but that's not happening in our lifetimes. First they need some bishops, seminaries, monasteries, etc., not to mention more parishes and laity.
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"A riddle or the cricket's cry
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