T.A. Sir
The scientific employee, the St.-Petersburg branch of Institute
of oriental studies of the Russian Academy of Science
English Machine Translation

The Historical bulletin, № 6 (2 for 2000), a site of the Voronezh diocese


The History of Orthodox Church in China begins with the end of XVII century when in Beijing there were Russian voennoplennye from Albazina, after it osady in 1685 Priest Maxim Leontev who has arrived together with albazintsami, was the first orthodox cleric in Celestial where to the captivated Russian cossacks and the deserters who have acted on service to the Chinese emperor, it was authorized to profess the belief. As sources testify, albazintsy quickly enough have departed from religious canons. The researcher of history of the Russian spiritual mission in China V.P. Petrov wrote, that " obviously strongly influence of the huge Chinese human sea ? would be Seemed that fact, that albazintsam it was authorized to have the chapel in a corner of internal Beijing, together with the cemetery behind walls of city - should keep them in belief of fathers and ancestors, but there was, that an influence of the Chinese life, and the main thing that fact, that wives from the predatory order have been given to all of them, all this has led to that despite all efforts of father Maxim, albazintsy became gradually <okitaezirovatsja> " 1. As marked ieromonah Nikolay (Adoratsky), " pagan wives albazintsev though and kreshchenye, have brought in the house of the husbands of superstition and the Chinese idols before whom made worship. In their nearest posterity the open indifference to belief ottsev was. Their children on neskolku time remained not christened, despite of every possible uveshchanija their aged pastor. Besides, children of father Maxim were not alien some superstitions Chinese jazychestva " 2.

In the domestic literature it is considered to be, what exactly religious alienation albazintsev was the reason of the organization of Orthodox mission in Beijing. Nevertheless, if to track the historical documents published in the first volume " the ?onnei-Chinese attitudes in XVIII century " 3 it is possible to draw a conclusion that the chapel did not arrange Russian merchants albazinskaja and they would like to have an own orthodox temple in Beijing. In this case pertinently again to quote the mentioned work ieromonaha Nikolay (Adoratskogo): " At some Russian caravans come to Beijing, there were also priests, but they did not remain there long and besides had no permission from the Chinese government to send the open divine service. Russian envoy Izbrant <Ides> tried to petition in 1693 before the Chinese government for the permission to construct in Beijing the Russian church expense of the Russian sovereigns and for this purpose to allocate a place. The Beijing tribunal has answered it it: " Construction in China of churches to foreigners, is legalized by what eternally live in an empire, and to visitors only for a while to demand churches in custom it is not necessary " " 4. Apparently, this strict refusal of the Chinese government has served as the reason of search of other opportunities of creation of constantly operating orthodox temple in China. As such opportunity the extremely unsatisfactory state of affairs in albazinskoj iaueia5 has served. The subsequent actions of the government of Russia, Peter's I decree about the organization of the first Orthodox mission in Beijing are in detail enough shined in scientific eeoa?aoo?a6 to stop on them in this clause.

As a result of all lead actions metropolitan Tobolsk and Siberian John (Maksimovich) to 1715 has generated the first Orthodox mission from seven prichetnikov (Joseph Djakonova, Nikanora Kljusova, Peter Jakutova, Grigory Smagina, Feodora Kolesnikov, Andrey Popova, Joseph Afanaseva) 7, ierodiakona Filimona, ieromonaha Lavrentija led by archimandrite Ilarion (Lezhaiskii).

Unfortunately, historical archives of Russia have not kept sufficient data about the early period of history of the Beijing mission and we have the majority of data on it only from memoirs of members of later missions or the Catholic missionaries was during this period in China. Modern writers explain this fact as follows: " If to recollect, that the moment posylki Lezhajskogo concerns to the middle of 10th of XVIII century when in Russia actually yet there was no the central establishment known church aaeaie8, becomes clear why this action remains outside of a field of vision of the center and in funds of the central establishments was not reflected. Moreover, the Tobolsk metropolitan as well as the Siberian governor in civil cases, had the huge rights in the decision of local church questions. That the question about posylke the priest to Beijing could be recognized in Tobolsk local, practice of that time when the will of metropolitan appointed priests to caravans going to Beijing, to embassies in boundary areas and business posylkam in Urgu and Naun " 9 specifies.

In this connection about archimandrite Ilarion (Lezhaiskii) we know slightly. All works on history of mission mention only facts in issue of the biography of the chapter of the first Orthodox mission in China. It was born in Chernigov in 1657, training passed in the Kiev theological seminary. Later it was prior Spasskogo of a monastery in Yakutsk, and then is appointed by the chief of the first Orthodox mission in China.

As will seem strange, till now among historians there is no uniform point of view in a question on when mission has arrived to Beijing. Russian archival sources are specified with two dates: on April, 20th, 1715 and on January, 11th 1716 a.10. The Chinese sources give only year - " 54-th year of board Kansi " that corresponds to the period from February, 4th, till January, 23rd, 1716 However everywhere is emphasized, that mission has arrived to Beijing together with the Chinese embassy Tulishenja which is coming back from Volga region steppes from Kalmyk a?ee-khan. To the " Zapiskah about foreign edge " (" And-?e lu ") Tulishen writes, that it has returned to capital in 27-th day of 3-rd month of 54-th year of board Kansi11. This date corresponds on April, 30th, 1715 on the European calendar, and we should accept it for day of arrival of archimandrite Ilarion and members of its mission to Beijing.

As informs ieromonah Nikolay (Adoratsky), mission has been provided by all necessary for carrying out of services. Moreover, on the maintenance of mission enough of money, the silver utensils, two caftans and a satiny cassock have been released. In Beijing the first mission has been accepted with especial attention. " Bogdyhan has enlisted its members in the maximum estate of the state, namely: archimandrite has welcome a tangerine (t. e. The official.-.) 5-th degrees, the priest with diakonom - tangerines of 7-th degree, and pupils were ranked as estate by the soldier. To all members of mission state apartments near albazinskoj churches and, possibly, sites of the ground, and also the time grant ? Moreover have been allocated, from the tribunal <foreign affairs> has been certain to make it the monthly salary... " 12.

It is how much possible to judge under documents, to first time of business of mission went successfully enough. To its members monthly there came the envoy of the Chinese emperor to inquire after health of the chief and about needs of mission. As specifies ieromonah Nikolay (Adoratsky), archimandrite Ilarion has arranged " correct and harmonous divine service, than involved in orthodox church not only albazintsev, but also others jazychestvujushchih inhabitants of Beijing " 13. However, it was soon found out, that in mission lack of prayer books is tested, and the life in China for its members represents significant difficulties. Probably, for updating library fund of mission to Russia in 1717 three members of mission - Andrey Popov, Feodor Kolesnikov and Joseph Afanasev have been sent, any of which back has not returned any more. Material difficulties by virtue of irregularly acted monetary prisylok from Russia have soon enough begun also.

It is necessary to tell, that activity of members of mission was not limited to work in Russian community. One of the problems put by the Russian emperor Peter I before mission, was gathering materials about China and the help in normalization and maintenance up to the mark interstate attitudes. Certainly, they had to borrow actively for achievement of this purpose in studying of the Chinese and manchurian languages. Joseph especially has in this respect succeeded (Has got hoarse) Clerks which, having learnt manchurian language, served in the Chinese Tribunal of foreign affairs (Lifanjuane) as the translator of the Russian letters sent to Beijing. Most likely, it became the first Russian teacher at school of Russian at the Palace office opened in 1725

Unfortunately, neither in Chinese, nor in Russian archives it was not kept certificates on the person of archimandrite Ilarion. However in materials of the envoy Roman daddies in Beijing Matteo Ripy are curious memoirs on its meetings with the chief of Orthodox mission and impression on its members. As the diary of M. Ripy exists only in Italian and English editions, we result this fragment completely:

" In Beijing there was a prior and twelve priests (sic!), Which have been sent by Peter the Great for spiritual support of Russian voennoplennyh. As strange hearings about these clerics I have decided to get acquainted personally with them with intention in the further went many to write the full report to Propagation <Beliefs>. Following traditions of the country in which we were, I all over again have sent the prior a gift, and then began to wait its most. I have found its manners noble and polite, it was exclusively tidy in clothes and things. Every time when it left church, on its breast there was a crucifixion, and in hands it held ianoi?aeu14. It was noeciaoee15, but at me it pretended to the Catholic. It spoke on latin enough that it could be understood and as it has told, that one of its priests who is sick, also can speak in <latin> language I have gone to visit it, but the only thing, that I could hear from it, was intelligit, intelligit. The prior has told, that the quantity of Christians of its community hardly reaches fifty, and they were descendants voennoplennyh, one of which is still alive, but very old. I have asked, whether the truth, that it christened a plenty of Chineses. On what it has answered, that the christening was limited to members of families voennoplennyh, and that it did not communicate with Chineses because of ignorance of their language, and that the pitiable condition of its community demanded its all attention ? Though the prior was elegant in clothes, its subordinated clerics had a shabby and pity kind. I even saw some of them playing in the street before church, that for China is especially inadmissible and decent people " 16 are impossible for though a few.

It is known, that members of mission were often betraid to drunkenness, badly carried out the duties, - all these experiences have completely upset health of archimandrite Ilarion, especially after its three subordinates have left for Russia. It is considered, that it suffered rheumatism and went on hot sources in 22 versts from Beijing. On a return way it also has died.

Various historical documents give different dates of death of archimandrite Ilarion (Lezhaiskii). One define it as on October, 14th, 1717 or on April, 26th 1718 a.17, others carry to 1719 a.18. Under certificates of Catholic missionaries, Lezhaiskii has been buried on Russian cemetery to the north from the Tatar city wall, apparently, near to Maxim Leonteva19's tomb. To the beginning of XIX century from tomb Leonteva does not remain any traces, however Dungeon, written at once after Tjantszinskih events, reported, that has found a stone from tomb Lezhajskogo, profaned Chinese iaaienyie20. At the moment there are no data on a site of this gravestone if it is not destroyed finally. Besides the park now is broken into territories of a former Russian cemetery.

For us absolutely unexpected find has appeared one Chinese catalogue which has been presented by the Chinese colleagues: in section "Prints" published in 1991 of " the Summary catalogue of the manchurian documents stored China ", under № 0401 we find the name " Lelasytszi mubej ", t. e. " Tombstone Lezhajskogo " 21. This print has been removed from a stone established on a tomb of nowadays not existing Russian orthodox cemetery in Beijing. Stored National library of the Chinese capital two leaves, everyone in the size 173o51 the sm, are nowadays one of rare documents in the Chinese, manchurian and Church Slavonic languages. On first of them there is a text written on-eeoaenee and on-iaiu??o?nee, on the second, displaying a back of a stone, the inscription in Church Slavonic language is presented. The Chinese text at the left consists of three parallel lines: " Tjanchzhutszjao dashenfu alisimandeli ilalivan lelasytszi. Kansi ushitsi nurses ba jue shitsi zhi "(" the Christian priest archimandrite Ilalivan Lelasytszi. 17-th day of 8-th month of 57-th year of board Kansi " 22) (t. e. On September, 11th, 1718 on the European calendar).

To the right of the Chinese inscription two vertical lines in manchurian language are placed: " Tjan tszju giyo yes shen fu arisimanderi ilalivan lelasgi. Elhe tajfin and susaj nadachi anja chzhakun bjai chzhuvan de giran sindambi " (" the Christian priest archimandrite Ilalivan Lelasgi. The body is buried 10-th day of 8-th month of 57-th year Elhe Tajfin ") (t. e. On September, 3rd, 1718).

As we see, the first line of the manchurian text is a transliteration of the first Chinese line, the surname pogrebennogo however is a little changed. Besides dates of the day of month specified in both texts do not coincide. About the one who is this Christian priest, we learn only from the second print which removed from a back of a tombstone and has been written down in Church Slavonic language: " 1717ai presta // hanging the slave // Divine it is sacred // archimandrite // Ilarion // a prorank // Lezhajsky ro // the house from Poland // pozhive years // 60 and pogreben here ".

Thus, we can present, as the tombstone established on a tomb of archimandrite Ilarion (Lezhaiskii) (Ilalivan lelasytszi-eaeanae), the chapter of the first Beijing spiritual mission looked. This find allows us to specify some dates. In the Chinese text number on September, 11th, 1718 is specified, in manchurian - on September, 3rd, 1718 two words In the latter case are added: giran sindambi, absent in the Chinese text and meaning to bury a body. By virtue of it we have the right to assume, that the manchurian inscription names date of a burial place, and Chinese - date of an establishment of a gravestone. On the other hand, the Church Slavonic text on the back a stone precisely specifies year of death of archimandrite as 1717, adding " when to it was 60 ". As it is known, that Lezhajsky was born in 1657 in 1717 to it 60 years were just executed.

Summing up to the aforesaid, we can eliminate some chronological discrepancies and define on April, 30th, 1715 as day of arrival of archimandrite Ilarion and first Beijing spiritual mission headed by it in capital of China.

The Find of a print from a tombstone of archimandrite Illariona allows to specify date of its death. It is necessary to consider as year of its death 1717, it is possible on October, 14th (as it is specified in one of Russian documents), on road from warm sources in Tunshane near to Iaeeia23. The legend of a body to the ground (or, more likely, consecration of a tomb) has occured considerably later - on September, 3rd, 1718 (that does not contradict the Chinese ceremonial practice), several days later, t. e. On September, 11th, 1718 on a tomb the tombstone has been established.

After death of archimandrite Ilarion (Lezhaiskii) the Chinese government has sent ierodiakona Filimona and to Russia to inform Grigory Smagina Siberian general-governor M.P.Gagarin on death of the chapter of mission. The remained four members of mission had to test on themselves all burdens of the Chinese life down to arrival of new structure of the second Orthodox mission per 1729 their uneasy and heroic work has formed a basis more than 200-years activity of Orthodox spiritual mission in China.

1 Peters V.P.Russian spiritual mission in China. Washington, 1968. With. 15.

2 Nikolay (Adoratsky), ierom. History of the Beijing spiritual mission during the first period of its activity (1685-1745) // History of the Russian spiritual mission in China., 1997. With. 56-57.

3 Sm.: the ?onnei-Chinese attitudes in XVIII century. T. 1 : 1700-1725., 1978.

4 Nikolay (Adoratsky), ierom. The decree. soch. With. 53.

5 In more detail about albazintsah and the attitude of the Russian government to them sm.: Pang T.A. The " Russian company " in the Manchu Banner Organization // Central Asiatic journal. No. 43. Part 1. Wiesbaden, 1999. P. 132-139.

6 See, for example: Nikolay (Adoratsky), ierom. The decree. soch. With. 58-64; Petrov V.P.decree. soch. With. 17-19; Widmer E. The Russian Ecclesiastic mission in Beijing during the eighteenth century. Cambridge (Mass.); London, 1976. P. 23-33.

7 the structure of mission included also pupils of the Chinese and manchurian languages: Onions Voejkov, Ivan Puhart, Feodor (Fedot) Tretjakov, Ivan Shestopalov (JAblontsev) (sm.: P.E.sketch's Jumps of history of Russian kitaevedenija., 1977. With. 358). - the Comment red.

8 the Most holy Means Pravitelstvujushchy the Synod. - a comment red.

9 ?onnei-Chinese attitudes in XVIII century ? With. 31.

10 Sm.: In the same place. With. 611-612 (a footnote 2 to the document № 165).

11 Sm.: Sjuntszju Imanisi. To tju And-?e lu (corrected and commented " And-?e lu "). Tenri, 1964. With. 341.

12 Nikolay (Adoratsky), ierom. The decree. soch. With. 71-72.

13 In the same place. With. 73.

14 Means arhimandritsky a staff. - a comment red.

15 Characteristic for Catholic priests of that time the attitude to orthodox clergymen and laymen as to the dissenters, originating since times of XI century - the Comment red.

16 Memoirs of Father Ripa, during thirteen years' residence at the Court of Beijing in the service of the Emperor of China / Translated by F. Prandi. N. Y., 1846. P. 102-103.

17 Sm.: the ?onnei-Chinese attitudes in XVIII century. T. 2., 1990. With. 561-562 (a footnote 3 

To the document № 56).

18 Sm.: Amvrosy (Ornatsky), arhim. History of the Russian hierarchy. 

T. 2., 1810. With. 449; bantysh-eaiaineee N.Diplomaticheskoe assembly of affairs between Russian and Chinese the states. Kazan, 1882. With. 84.

19 Vysheupomjanutogo priest Maxim Leonteva who together with captured defenders Albazina has been taken out to Beijing.

20 Sm.: Widmer E. Op. cit. P. 197 (a comment 23).

21 Sm.: TSjuango manven I extinguish tszyljao ljanhe to the mule. Beijing, 1991. With. 341.

22 In the beginning of XVIII century the term tianzhujiao, apparently, concerned to Christian religion as a whole. The term longzhengjiao has appeared later for a designation of orthodox belief. Russian word archimandrite in both texts is transliterated, only later there will be a special term xiushidasiji for a designation of this holy order.

23 Sm.: Pavlovsky M.N. Chinese-Russian relations. N. Y., 1949. P. 162.