The Chinese Orthodox term for Jesus Christ as found frequently in classical Chinese Orthodox liturgical texts and also at the top of Chinese Martyrs icon from Holy Transfiguration Monastery is not the more commonly known Chinese transliteration for the name of the Son of God. The term is a direct transliteration from the Russian (Иисус Христос), and is a mouthful if you attempt to read each Chinese character of 伊伊穌斯·合利斯托斯 literally, as in the pinyin.
According to Fr. Michael Li from Shanghai who is now residing in Cambramata, Australia, the term is not to be read literally in Mandarin Chinese, but is read as the Russian: Иисус Христос/Iisus Hristos.
You may get a puzzled stare if you say Iisus Hristos in front of a Chinese speaker. Unless they are familiar with either the Russian or Greek pronunciation and actually use this term, it is best to use the more familiar Chinese transliteration of Jesus Christ, which is pronounced in pinyin asfor most effective communication.
The Chinese Orthodox term for Jesus Christ was first introduced using specially created Chinese characters by Archim. Gury (Karpov) when he was Mission Head in China and can be seen in his classical 1864 Chinese translation of the New Testament to assist in Slavonic transliteration and smaller size characters to indicate initial or final Slavonic consonants as well as small circle placed next to characters as emphasis mark on the syllable as in 伊伊穌斯 合鿠斯托斯.
Due to the extensive number of strokes on the right component of 鿠, Archim. Flavian (Gorodetsky) while he was Mission head in China further simplify many of these special characters by replacing the right component 爾 with the left mouth radical 口, so 鿠 is replaced by the more familiar looking 唎 as in 伊伊穌斯 合唎斯托斯 and can be seen in his 1884 Chinese translation of the office of the Meeting of the Lord.
Met. Innokenty (Figurovsky) when he was Mission Head in China, explained the use of the left mouth radical 口 for characters to assist with Russian pronunciation in the original 1893 foreword to the 1910 Chinese translation of Orthodox Ecclesiastical History.
He then further simplify these left mouth radical 口 characters, by dropping the mouth radical or replacing with a totally different similiar sounding, more familiar character altogether. Eventually later translations had smaller characters resized to same size of rest of the characters in a text, such as his 1910 Chinese translation of the New Testament, so 伊伊穌斯 合唎斯托斯 became 伊伊穌斯 合利斯托斯. In the preface to the 1911 Chinese translation of St Matthew with commentary, Bp Innokenty introduced two specially made Chinese characters 鿗鿖 to represent the abbreviation of the Slavonic transliteration 伊伊穌斯合利斯托斯 of the name Jesus Christ. If you are seeing two square boxes instead of , download and install the RussianMission font for proper display. These two hanzi are currently being submitted as part of a Proposal to Encode Chinese Characters used to Transliterate Slavonic by the Ponomar Project to the IRG for inclusion in Unicode.
One drawback of this simplication process is the loss of visual indicator of the original intended use of these characters and the varying sizes of the characters to assist in Slavonic pronunciation. Now the only means of preserving the Slavonic transliteration is through oral tradition of passing down from one generation to another of Chinese readership regarding the Slavonic pronunciation of Chinese characters where once stood special characters introduced by Archim. Gury to be as literally faithful to the pronunciation of proper names found in the original Slavonic text.