Russian Orthodox Church Established in Japan

Note: The work of the Russian Orthodox Church before the revolution established the grounds for the creation of the Autonomous Orthodox Church of Japan. After the OCA gained its autocephaly from Moscow in 1970, it transferred its power over the Japanese Parishes to the Patriarchate, which gave it “autonomous status”. But this is strangely insufficient, and now a “Russian” Church will be created for Japan? Why? NFTU

( On Friday, 13th September, Japan’s capital Tokyo saw the consecration of the first Russian Orthodox church in the country, named after the blessed Prince Alexander Nevsky. The construction of the church proved feasible due to late woman parishioner Susanna Kravtsova, who bequeathed her plot of land to the Russian Orthodox Church on condition that a temple would be built on it for Russian Orthodox believers to pray at.

As per the Voice of Russia’s observer Milena Faustova, many see the construction of the Russian Orthodox church named after the Great Prince Alexander Nevsky in Japan as prompted by the growing interest in the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian Orthodoxy growing stronger the world over.

Christianity eastern style has a short record in the country of the Rising Sun. Japan did not officially allow missionaries to preach on its soil before 1870. So the Russian Orthodox Church sent just one priest, Father Nikolai Kasatkin. He did not only briefed the Japanese on the fundamentals of Orthodox faith, but also founded the Japanese Orthodox Church, which soon pulled out of its subordination to the Moscow Patriarchate and became autonomous. The presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in Japan was limited to just one small church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which preached to both Russian émigrés and those coming from other Orthodox countries. It’s for a long time that Russian Orthodox Church priests had been banned from missionary practices in Japan, which actually amounted to a ban on building new churches.

The reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia and abroad served as a powerful factor in the construction of the first and so far the only Russian Orthodox church in Japan. The Act on the canonical communication of the Churches was signed in May last year to help the two branches of Russian Orthodoxy settle the almost century-long schism. The reunification of the Churches has boosted interest in Russian Orthodoxy throughout the world, says the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Foreign Relations Department Metropolitan Cyril of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, and elaborates.

St. Alexander Nevsky’s church has been built according to all rules and regulations of Russian Orthodox architecture. According to tradition, a stone casing was built into the foundation of the church with a capsule of stainless steel containing a paper certifying who and when built the church. All of the church’s decor, including icons and the icon-stand, have been created in and brought from Russia.

It is by no means accidental that the church consecration by the Metropolitan Cyril of Smolensk and Kaliningrad has fallen to come about on the 12th of this month, which is the day when the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the Translation of the relics of St. Prince Alexander Nevsky. The Saint blessed Prince Alexander Nevsky, the defender of Russia and the warriors’ protector is known far beyond Russia’s borders. Numerous churches throughout the world have been named after the Saint Prince. The more prominent of these are the Patriarchal Cathedral in Sofia, a Cathedral in Tallinn and a church in Tbilisi.