中文 | Русский | Kitajskij Blagovestnik (1935 edition)

Accounts of the Martyrs of the Chinese Orthodox Church
who fell victim in Beijing in 1900

English translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas
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Priest Mitrophan, July 1882
photo courtesy of Bishop
Seraphim of Sendai

Priest MITROPHAN. Priest Mitrophan, his Chinese name being Yang Ji [1], was born in 1855, on the 10th day of the 12th month [2]. 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. 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 females. At the time he experienced many troubles. When Archimandrite Pallady became head of the Mission for the second time, he charged his teacher Jǔrén, Lóng Yuán (举人隆源) to take great care in educating Mitrophan, in order to prepare him for eventual ordination. Mitrophan was a humble person, very cautious and quiet, peaceful and not impassioned; even when faced with great insults, he did not try to justify himself. Archimandrite Pallady's successor was Archimandrite Flavian, who later became Metropolitan of Kiev. From the time of his arrival in Běijīng (北京, Peking), Archimandrite Pallady charged him, as well as the teacher Long Yuan, to try to have Mitrophan attain what had been predestined (that is the priestly rank). Mitrophan did not want to accept ordination and constantly refused, saying "how can a person with insufficient abilities and charity dare to accept this great rank?" But under the forceful urging of Archimandrite Flavian and the persuasion of the teacher, Mitrophan obeyed, even though he knew that by accepting priesthood, his end would be inauspicious. Under Archimandrite Flavian, Priest Mitrophan assisted him 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 spent three years living outside the mission, receiving half of his previous salary. All his life the Priest Mitrophan was not avaricious and many took advantage of this.

In 1900, on the evening of June 1 (which was the 17th day of the 5th month on the Chinese calendar) [3], the Boxers burned the Mission's buildings. Many Christians, hiding from danger, assembled in Priest 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 70 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 like a honeycomb and he fell under a date tree. His neighbors removed his body to the Mission's almshouse. Later the Priest-monk Avraamy picked up Fr. Mitrophan's body and, in 1903, during the first commemoration of the martyrs, it along with others, was placed under the altar in the martyrs' church. At the place were Fr. Mitrophan was tortured, now a cross is erected and every memorial day of the martyrs a sacred procession takes place to commemorate them. The family of Fr. Mitrophan also included his wife Tatiana from the (李) family, and three sons -- the older, Isaiah; the second Sergiy -- now an archpriest[4]; and the third Ioann.

TATIANA, 44 years of age. On June 10th Tatiana was saved from the Boxers with help from her son Isaiah's bride, but on the following day, June 11th, she was seized in the morning and together with 19 others, was sent outside the Ānděngmén Gate (安定门) to Xiaoyingfang, to the Boxer camp and was then executed by beheading, at the place where there is now the "Treugol'nik" [Triangle], an almshouse for the poor.

ISAIAH, served in the artillery for 23 years. On June 7th, the Boxers executed him by beheading on the big street near the Píngzémén Gate (平则门) , because it had been known that he was a Christian.

IOANN (John). He was 7 years old at the time[5]. On the evening of June 10th, when Fr. Mitrophan was killed, the Boxers split Ioann's shoulders and severed his 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 "črmáozǐ" (二毛子), but he answered, "I believe in God, and am not 'črmáozǐ'." He got used to answering thus, becuse the pagans constantly called Christians devil's disciples, (the word "črmáozǐ" has this meaning). Ioann asked neighbors for water, but they not only did not give it to him, but chased him away. Protasy Chang and Irodion Xu, who were not yet baptized, testify that they saw this boy with wounded shoulders and feet; the wounds were 1¾ inches deep, but he felt no pain and, when seized again by the Boxers, he felt no fear and went peacefully. One old man expressed a regret about him, saying "What is this boy guilty of? It is his parents' fault that he became a devil's disciple. Others made fun of him, derided him, or simply smiled with contempt. So he was taken as a lamb to slaughter.

MARIA, 19 yrs. old, bride of Fr. Mitrophan's son Isaiah. Two days before the Boxer's pogrom, she came to Fr. Mitrophan's home, wishing to die in her groom's family. When the Boxer's surrounded Fr. Mitrophan's house on June 10th, she very courageously helped to rescue others, supporting them in climbing over the wall. When the Boxers and soldiers broke down the doors and entered the courtyard, Maria bravely accused them of beating people lawlessly and indiscriminately, and they didn't dare to kill her, but simply wounded her hand and pierced her leg. In general, she exhibited uncommon courage and sense. Fr. Mitrophan's son Sergiy, three times tried to convince her to leave and hide, but she answered: "I was born near the church of the Most Holy Mother of God and here I will die" and she remained where the church was. Soon soldiers and Boxers arrived there, and the courageous woman was martyred, considering death as departure to a place of blessed rest.

Give rest, O Lord, to the souls of your servants -- Priest Mitrophan and those with him -- and make their memory to be eternal. Amen.


End Notes by Mitrophan Chin

[1] In the original Russian text of this account which was first published in the original Kitayskiy Blagovestnik in 1917, used the Cyrillic transliteration that was equivalent to the pinyin Jichong. In this English translation, St Mitrophan's Chinese name has been restored to Yang Ji, which is derived from the actual Chinese characters of his name that was found in the records of the All Japan Council of 1882.
[2] Judging from the writing style from the rest of the account, this date is probably according to the Chinese calendar, since the name of the month is not used. This would be equivalent to January 17, 1856 on the Gregorian calendar, January 5, 1856 on the Julian calendar, and 咸丰岁次乙卯年己丑月己亥日 on the Chinese calendar.
[3] According to various calendar conversion programs such as Calendrica, the Chinese date noted is off by one day. June 1, 1900 according to the Julian calendar was actually the 18th day of the 5th month on the Chinese lunar calendar.
[4] Father Sergiy in other accounts being listed as martyred together with his family is probably based on the account of Chinese Martyrs published in January 2000 KITAĬSKIĬ BLAGOVESTNIK. However, he have miraculously survived martyrdom and lived to give account of the Chinese Martyrs. See page 79ff in the 1935 issue of KITAĬSKIĬ BLAGOVESTNIK which by that time Fr Sergiy was mentioned as an Archpriest.
[5] Earlier accounts have St John at age of 8 which was due to traditional Chinese method of calculating age. See Coming of Age for a Young Chinese Martyr by Mitrophan Chin.

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