Historical Notes about Orthodox Church Life in Taiwan during 50-60 years of 20 cent.

Text published in author's version without any changes.
English Translation by Kiril Mirakovski

"Gleb Rar's Memoirs about Orthodox parish in Taiwan. The evacuation of 1949 sent some Russians on the island.

  1. George Konstantinovich Elsner was an outstanding figure of the emigrant colony in Shanghai, although formally Lutheran, he took part in our church life. He owned the café Astoria where Russians frequently got together.
  2. The second outstanding person was Yury Romanovich Larikov, a military expert of Kolchaka army. He worked in artillery laboratory of The Chinese National army.
  3. The next group was formed of Russian ladies who during the war in Shanghai, had gotten married to some of the American pilots of the squadron "Fighting Tigers"
  4. The Orthodox Chinese, Peter Chang, with his Russian wife and her mother from Harbin.
  5. Also there was rather big group of Russian women from Xinjiang who had gotten married to officers of the Chinese national army and all together were evacuated to Taiwan through India.

In 1957 in Frankfurt, The Russian anticommunist organization (NTS) reached an agreement with the Chinese group of anticommunist people's league of Asia (APACL) for the use of powerful short-wave transmitters which have been established in Taiwan for the purposes of the radio programs in Russian in Siberia. NTS was also in political contact with the member of The Central Committee of Kuomintang, Pu Tao Min, and the employee of the Ministry of information of Taiwan, Chiu Sin Min.

In Taiwan, Roman Nikolaevich and Lyudmila Glebovna Redlih who were among the first to arrive there, besides the radio programs, they tried to gather a local Russian colony around them.

They first invited Archbishop Iriney (Bekish) from Tokyo (probably in 1957), and he celebrated a service in their house on North Chien Kuo Road Lane 132, № 18 in Taipei.

In 1958, the Redlihovs were replaced by Gleb Aleksandrovich and Sofia Vasilevna Rar. With a little help from Tomara Liu, Russian lady from Xinjiang (a dressmaker), they arranged an iconostasis in the living room of the same house for the archbishop's arrival.

Icons printed on a paper have been brought from Europe, and were pasted on boards in Taiwan. During this period Archbishop Iriney came to Taipei and served twice in the house-church devoted to John the Baptist. Also, for the Lady day of 1959, there he christened Alexander Rar. And he also flied to the central part of the island in the city of Taichung where in a modest hotel he christened nine persons. For Christmas of 1960, with Archbishop's Iriney blessing, Nikolay Kirilyuk, an American military priest flew in Taiwan. He has already been on the island and has been celebrating divine services there. All these services gathered a little more than 50 persons. After moving to Japan, the Rors were replaced by the couple A.A. and E.R. Peruan. After them the Orthodox divine services decayed and the parish ceased to exist.

Both in Taipei and in other cities we now have few descendants of some Russian women from Xinjiang. However, we've lost any communication with them.

P.S.: During the Korean war, a senior Orthodox chaplain of the American army was Bishop John (Shahovskoy).

G.K. Elsner told us the following about him:

In the extreme south of Taiwan lived a lonely Russian emigrant married to Japanese. As an owner of a cinema he was maintaining a connection with G.K. Elsner and grieving that his impending death would leave him without a church parting word. When G.K. Elsner was told that he died, he gathered some Russians in the café Astoria to talk over what's left to be done. At the very moment, the door opens and a man in an Orthodox monastic attire enters the café. He introduces himself and says that on his way to America from Korea has suddenly found himself in Taipei. He was told that the Russians were gathering in the café Astoria and that he can celebrate a divine or some other church services for them. So the lonely Russian in the south of Taiwan wasn't left without his burial service."