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Russian Orthodox church to be set up in Beijing shortly

Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Russian Orthodox Church is about to get permission to build a chapel in Beijing. This was revealed by Ye Xiaowen, head of China’s state administration for religious affairs when he was talking to Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow.

At the global inter-religious summit just held in the Russian capital, Ye Xiaowen assured the Orthodox Patriarch that the matter of a church in Beijing “was about to be resolved”. For the time being, the only news that has leaked out is that the building will be dedicated to the Assumption (Dormition) of Mary and will be situated within the perimeter of the Russian embassy in the Chinese capital.

Alexei II and Ye also discussed a number of problems, including the situation facing Orthodox Christians, especially Chinese ones. Currently there are around 13,000 Orthodox Christians in China, but they are not recognized among as an official religious community, of which there are five. The Orthodox Church, through Putin, is doing its utmost to gain recognition before 2008, the year of the Olympics in Beijing. In anticipation of the hoped-for event, 13 Chinese Orthodox students are undergoing studies at the Sretenskaya Theological Academy in Moscow and the Academy of St Petersburg, to pave the way for a minimal presence of clergy there. Prayer books in Russian and Chinese are already in circulation.

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