Postcard from Belgium
The Mission of Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in China
formed during the days of Boxer rebellion.
postcard from USA
The first parishioners were in the Zháběi Theophany Church around which
they united and even tried to settle nearby. In 1939 there was a total of 6
temples. Religious organizations such as the Russian Orthodox Brotherhood and
In 1901, after cruel Boxer rebellion and the devastation of the
mission in Beijing,
a parcel of land with the small house was acquired on the-then American
In February of 1903, the cornerstone laying of the Temple of the
Theophany took place and construction began on a stone temple and a 3-story
church house. The Chief of Orthodox Mission in Beijing Bishop Innokenty has come
to Shanghai with a deacon and a choir. Personnel from Russian military
squadrons of Admiral Rozhdestvensky
("Askold", "Xenia", "Svir", "Tobol") attended the consecration.
Archimandrite Simon (subsequently Archbishop) was appointed
priest-in-charge of the church.
photo of school students at the
Theophany Church with
Fr Evstafy & Archim. Avraamy
from Boris Alexandrov's book "Beiguan"
In a building near the church there was a school for Chinese boys, and
also teacher training for Orthodox Chinese.
During 1908-9, the priest-in-charge was Archpriest Pavel Figurovsky;
and Archimandrite Simon and Hieromonk Evstafy in 1916-17.
Priest-monk Evstafy organized a church choir of Chinese boys who sang
in Slavonic. This same choir sang at consecration of a new Russian General Consulate building on January 1, 1917.
1923 postcard from Belgium
After the evacuation of Russians from Vladivostok, Russian population
increased noticeably. Archbishop Simon was still the rector.
A peaceful way of life continued until 1927, when internal Chinese
fighting (northerners and southerners) reached Shanghai, which was
seized in 1927 by military actions.
The south's military units which penetrated into Zháběi did not spare
the Russian spiritual sanctuary; the temple was devastated and even
Ecclesiastics could find safety and refuge in the French Concession
under protection of the Municipal police (where very many Russians worked).
After a year the Chinese troops left the temple and in 1929 divine
services resumed, but most parishioners went to the new temple in the French
photo from Shanghai Library
Priest Mefody Panin was appointed priest-in-charge of Theophany Church.
The Theophany temple and the Representation were in Zháběi until 1932
when military actions between China and Japan started. The temple and Representation were destroyed, and whatever was left was
burned, so only ruins remained.
In November 1933 the Japanese military command informed Russian
spiritual authorities, in writing, about indemnification for losses caused by