... Your Holiness, magnanimously forgive my not quite official report. I, the most unworthy, write it under the fresh impression of my conversation with our high government authorities (V.N. Roshchin, Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary, and S.L. Tikhvinsky, Embassy Counselor - K.K.)...
This, my official report, in part repeating the contents of previous reports, will be filled partly with contents required by the present situation. The mission's first and basic request to Your Holiness is to petition the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union to clarify the legal status of our mission in China with the new government political order (the formation of the Chinese People's Republic in 1949 -- K.K.) and to formally secure real estate for the Mission for which there are documents.
Because of the situations of time and place the contracts of sale for property were deeded: to the Mission, to parish organizations and even to individual persons. Here and in China during Kuomintang (Guómíndǎng , 国民党) times and earlier, not only entire provinces lived a completely separate life, as vice-kingdoms, but also "each big city had its own burrow" [customs]. Peaceful Běijīng (北京, Peking) -- is the administrative center, the city of embassies, spiritual missions and scientific establishments. Beijing is loyal to the law. All mission property in Beijing and its vicinities is deeded to the Mission (highlighted by me - K.K.) But our ancient Beiguan has many contracts of sale, has documents for each parcel of land being gotten anew -- a single general and solid document for all of Beiguan is required. This document should secure precisely, with observance of all formalities, Beiguan to the Russian Spiritual Mission. At No. 185 Hatamyn Street in Beijing, the Mission has a three-story stone house. The contract of sale is in order; the house is deeded to the Mission.
The Mission's Orthodox cemetery beyond the Āndìngmén Gate (安定门) is deeded to the Mission. The contract of sale -- [deeded] to the Mission -- is in order.
Near Beijing, in the Xīshān mountains, the mission has a skete. A Chinese caretaker lives there. The contract of sale -- [deeded] to the Mission -- is in order.
About 20 versts [verst: a Russian unit of distance equal to 0.6629 miles] from Beijing, in the village of Dōngdìngān (东定安), the Mission has a plot of land, on which there had been a church and living quarters, which were destroyed during the last civil war. The contract of sale, [deeded] to the Mission, is in order.
In the little place of Badanhangou, at a distance of two hundred versts from Beijing, the Mission has a most extensive plot rich in forests and [natural] deposits within the earth. At the present time this property is divided among our tenants. The contract of sale is completely in order; deeded to the Mission.
In Tiānjīn (Tientsin, 天津), in compensation for the Memorial Church built on the bones of Russian soldiers, which was destroyed during World War II, the Japanese built, beyond the city boundaries, Holy Protection Cathedral and house on a plot which, on repeated assurances by the Japanese, had been deeded to the Mission. They did not give the contract of sale to anyone in order to hold the Tianjin Orthodox Brotherhood in dependency; later, according to the people of Tianjin, the Japanese burned this contract of sale when they had to flee the city; earlier, before the flooding, Tianjin was very comfortably equipped. It is a commercial city. It exports abroad: furs, eggs, bristles, carpets, curios. All educational and charitable organizations were associated with the Orthodox Church.
In Kalgan (now Zhāngjiākǒu, 张家口), the church was destroyed and burned even during the Boxer rebellion (i.e., before the summer of 1900 -- K.K.). The site is occupied by a cemetery. The contract of sale, to the Mission, is in order.
In Qīngdǎo (Tsingtao, 青岛), a plot [of land] with a church and a priest's house is deeded to the former parish leaders. In 1948, when seizing the church and rectory in Qingdao, Bishop Ioann complicated the property question even further. It is necessary to undertake all measures in order to firmly [irrevocably] deed this property to the Mission. Former military agents lived in Qingdao. On leaving, each of them was able to build himself an excellent house. It is a resort city. Only rich people generally lived in it, people who did not want to be accountable to anyone or anything, and for this reason, at one time, deeded this property to "the Christian Society; even in business documents they contrived to omit what was necessary, that which obligated them to order, to the word "Orthodox" which is dear to each of us.
"People of the past century" lived in
Hànkǒu (Hankow, 汉口), living Ostrovsky types -- millionaires, merchants-proprietors of tea plantations. They built a wonderful church and an impressive 2-story stone house for the clergy. In order not to be subject to anyone, they deeded this property to themselves. Now almost all the merchants have died off there, while those that are still alive have scattered "across Europe." The original contract of sale for the church property in Hankou was appropriated by the Kuomintang authorities. A receipt for the appropriated contract of sale is available; a photo of the contract is also available.
In Shànghǎi (上海) the plot of land, cathedral and the Bishop's house (three-story, stone), as demanded by rules re: purchase and sale at that moment, are deeded to several persons, including Bishop John, as a Mission official. The contract of sale is in order. It is at the disposal of the Mission Council. The contract of sale for the land plots and buildings of the Commercial School, the St. Tikhon of Zadonsk orphanage, and the building housing the free-of-charge dining facility were forcibly taken by the Chairman of the Émigré Committee, Bologovoy, from the dining facility manager, Fomin. A photo of the contract of sale is available. Documents regarding use of the Commercial School building are available. In what condition are the documents for the plot of land and the large two-story stone Orphanage building -- I do not know. Thus far, I have received no data on this question from Shanghai.
The Mission possessed a large and very valuable property in the mountains between Shanghai and Hankou, along the Yangtze river ( Yángzǐjiāng , 扬子江). This place bears the name Leulin-Kulim. Because of one unfortunate incident, it was seized -- leased by the Hankou Russian municipal authorities. A.K. Tokmakov, Bishop Gabriel's secretary, is well acquainted with this matter.
In Manila, the church and priest's house were burned down from bombardment during the second World War. The property was deeded to the parish organization. There has been no contact with the Manila parish for many years.
Nothing has been known for many, many years about the condition of the church and church property in Xīnjiāng province in the cities of Ghulja ( Yīníng , 伊宁), Chuguchake (Tǎchéng, 塔城), Urumchi (Wūlǔmùqí, 乌鲁木齐) and in the little place called Suidun (Suídìng 绥定). This remote bountiful was to have been served by Bishop Yuvenaly but, just before his planned departure for Xinjiang, all sorts of political and military perturbations began and he was unable to depart to his appointed place, and since then and up to the present moment, there has been no contact with Xinjiang province.
On compulsion of the Japanese military authorities, the Mission property in Manzhouli, Hailar (Hǎilāěr, 海拉尔) and Harbin was temporarily -- until the end of the war -- transferred to the jurisdiction of the Harbin diocese, as well as the Mission property in Dàlián (Dalny, 大连), Kakagashi (Xiàjiāhézi, 夏家河子) and Port Arthur (Lǚshùn, 旅顺).
Also temporarily transferred to the jurisdiction of the Harbin Diocese were all the Military Cemeteries together with the wonderful memorial church in Mukden (盛京, now Shěnyáng 沈阳) which was built on the bones of Russian war heroes who were killed during the Russo-Japanese war. The contracts of sale and other documents for all this property were, for the most part, deeded to the Mission. The Mukden property is deeded to the priest-in-charge, but, I do not know exactly how matters are at present with the Military Cemeteries. Documents on possessing church property in Dalian, Kakagashi and Port Arthur are kept in the Mission.
There are two contracts of sale for parcels of land in Korea, presented by V.S. Prints and A. Vazhenin. These documents were not completed, because, since the time of their being received by the Mission, there was no communication with Korea.
The Mission has a large manor in Běidàihé (北戴河, Peitaiho, after I found this "large manor" -- the so-called bishop's summer residence in Beidaihe and related this in the Soviet embassy, P.F. Tolkachev, my sister's husband died -- K.K.). The contract of sale for this valuable property must definitely be deeded to the Mission. The Mission has owned this site almost half a century. In Beidaihe there is also a small parcel of land, gifted to the Mission by A. Golubev. The documents have not been made out. The contract of sale is available.
In Qingdao there is a two-story stone house -- of the hunting Alpine house types -- left in a will by O.V. Yavdynskaya. This matter has not yet cleared through the Chinese legal proceedings.
In the Mission safe there are some additional contracts of sale for insignificant, worthless parcels of land, abandoned and forgotten by Metropolitan Innokenty.
During the last decades, government authorities in China have changed like in a kaleidoscope. Hands were outstretched to seize property which was not under government protection. It is a wonder that it was not only possible to keep possessions, but even to increase the Mission property. And so, now, when "the time of favor has come, and the day of salvation", when a people's democracy is in charge in our homeland and here in China, all this most valuable property, is inactive and without guardianship as a "magic treasure", "under seven locks and seals."