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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Topic of Orthodoxy in China should be lifted up to level of the whole church

As seen from

"- And de facto?

- We haven't had such practice, but I don't exclude a possibility that it can take place. There've been some positive tendencies this year and some steps of the Chinese authorities make us think it is possible. We were first time allowed to celebrate for foreigners in Harbin. Then there's a very old Chinese priest who is retired and lives in Shanghai. He was allowed to celebrate for Chinese citizens and foreigners were also allowed to the service. An Orthodox church is given to the Orthodox community in Shanghai for the time of Expo-2010, though the community still doesn't have legal status. Anyway, we can't say that authorities of the People's Republic of China are negative about Orthodoxy. The problem is in weakness of the parishes.

- Do you think that Christian teaching is close and comprehensible to an ordinary Chinese? Are they interested in Orthodoxy?

- Western Christians call the last thirty years the period of golden age for Christianity in China as the number of Catholics and Protestants grows 13 per cent a year. There's a great interest to Christianity, but Chinese people mostly see Catholicism and Protestantism that are much wider presented in China. Though I can say that academic circles show great interest to Orthodoxy, there's much feedback at our website, there are active discussions in Chinese section of our forum dedicated to Orthodoxy in China. Ordinary and educated people show great interest to Orthodoxy as Catholicism and Protestantism don't answer some of their inner questions. There are certain things in Chinese spiritual tradition that make Orthodoxy more attractive than Catholicism and Protestantism for the Chinese.

- The Moscow Theological Academy has opened optional courses of the Chinese language and culture for the students. Is there real need in such specialists?

- It's extremely important, we have to spare no effort. The whole Church should consider the question: on one side, it involves bordering dioceses, on the other, theological educational establishments, and, on the third, the Department for External Church Relations. In fact, each synodal department can do something in this direction. The topic of Orthodoxy in China should be lifted up to the level of the whole church."

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