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
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the historical documents published in the first volume " the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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
the ?onnei-Chinese attitudes in XVIII century. T. 1 : 1700-1725.,
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.
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
9 ?onnei-Chinese attitudes in XVIII century ? With. 31.
In the same place. With. 611-612 (a footnote 2 to the document №
(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
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.
the ?onnei-Chinese attitudes in XVIII century. T. 2., 1990. With.
561-562 (a footnote 3
To the document № 56).
History of the Russian hierarchy.
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.
Widmer E. Op. cit. P. 197 (a comment 23).
extinguish tszyljao ljanhe to the mule. Beijing, 1991. With.
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.
Pavlovsky M.N. Chinese-Russian relations. N. Y., 1949. P. 162.