In 1898, with the beginning of building of city of Harbin the first church has been built on Manchurian ground in honor of St Nicholas, "a speedy helper and intercessor of all who flock to him". Located in the Old Harbin area, it was wooden, small and modestly decorated. When it was transferred to a new more comfortable building in 1926, they erected a chapel on the site of the old church, having retained its name of St Nicholas.
The First St Nicholas
Church in Old Harbin
Writer Elena Petrovna Taskina recollects: "Many times I happen to be under
its arches. Many years have passed since then, I still remember this atmosphere
of solemn silence and something heart aching native…Inside was traditional, but
modestly painted iconostasis… Through stained-glass windows multi-colored rays
of light from above would break through. Lighted icon lamps in front of icons,
flickering in twilight candles… Sensation of height, light and open space…
All breathed of Russia, with its ancient traditions… "(Taskina E.Unknown Harbin.M, 1994. Page.
The unique architectural structure
has been recognized as a symbol of the city. Constructed in less than a year, where
decorating work was made also by the Chinese masters, the cathedral has been
destroyed suddenly in the Cultural Revolution in 1966. But memory of this relic
is alive, by the Russian disseminated throughout the world, and by the Chinese
living in Harbin.
In 1903, to the beginning of
constant operation of KVZhD, in Harbin the station building has been constructed. Remembering that St Nicholas is the
patron for all wandering and travelling, in the waiting room of Harbin station
has been established a big, beautifully decorated kiot
(housing around the icon) with the icon of Saint Nicholas, before it the icon
lamp burned. Before departure passengers did not forget to approach the icon to
cross themselves and light a candle.
Chinese sitting in the hall respected
the icon, and named St Nicholas in broken Russian "station elder". Later
the icon has been transferred from the station to St Iveron chapel at the cathedral. The great relic has
been ruthlessly destroyed by hongweibing
together with the cathedral.
In the station at kiot of St Nicholas
In 1908 in Harbin was erected
the Holy Iveron military church, one of its annex
bored the name of St Nicholas the Wonder Worker of Myra.
He was often depicted on
icons with a sword in the right hand, as the savior "from an enemy attack
". The ancient compiler of the life of St Nicholas wrote, that he "saved
from sword attack". Both young and older people prostrate before him,
praying for protection for themselves, their children and relatives.
In 1923 behind the Songhua River in Jiangbei they
have started to erect with support of parishioners a small St Nicholas church.
It was completed in 1928; being made of stone, white, shining in water
reflection. In the court yard behind the altar violets were blossoming in
spring, as a Jiangbei inhabitant Nadezhda Nikolaevna
Klipinitser (Ivanov) recollects. The Sound of bells melodiously floated
above open water spaces, calling parishioners to cozy, standing in trees'
In 1928 a church dedicated to
St Nicholas was built in Harbin's prison. He was close to people, as the
defender of all suffering, the fallen and unjustly condemned. To him it was
easier to address prayer about repentance, and prisoners hoped for the aid "of
the deliverer from prison and dungeons".
St Nicholas Church
in Jiangbei during
Flooding of 1932
In 1916 the first Harbin Russian Real School has opened, whose heavenly
patron was St Nicholas. In the assembly hall of the school hung a big icon of the
prelate. The school kept the best national traditions in their pupils,
imparting love to Fatherland.
In 1929 in Harbin was founded
a St. Nicholas's Lyceum for boys. In its walls there was a church in which was
a place of repose of St Nicholas with sacred relics. The lyceum has brought up whole
generation of highly educated, fair and decent young men.
Many Orthodox temples in Manchuria also bored the name of St Nicholas. So on East line of KVZhD
at Aihe station [in Mudanjiang] there was a St Nicholas church (1921). Besides
at stations Yablonya [present-day Yabuli](1934) and Border (1901) there were the temples,
devoted to his sacred name. On Western line of KVZhD
there was in Zhalantun a St Nicholas
church (1915), at Anda station- SS Nicholas-Alexis
church. In southern direction of KVZhD at
Kuancheng station [in Changchun] there was also a St. Nicholas church.
Tianjin and Shanghai cities of China had temples dedicated to
St Nicholas; the latter temple has been constructed in memory of executed Tsar Nikolai
In 1990 the St Nicholas temple in city of
Urumqi, Xinjiang province was completed under
the insistence of community of three-thousand Russians living there. (Priest
Dionisy Pozdnyaev. Orthodoxy in China. M., 1998. Page 261.).
Saint Nicholas was a great saint
(who did many heroic deeds), "showing the flock an image of humility, absence
of meanness and love to people ". He does not leave his protection from Russia and all of us who lived earlier under his heavenly protection.