Русский | Chinese Blagovestnik 1/99 | English translation by Katherine Ilachinski

Minutes from the Meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, presided by Patriarch Alexy

From April 17, 1997


Report of Right Reverend Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad , Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations, about renewal of divine service venerating the 222 Holy Martyrs of the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church, executed for Christ in 1900.

Background Information:

During anti-Christian revolt of "Yihetuan" in 1900 in China, 222 Orthodox Chinese Christians - led by the first Chinese priest - Father Mitrofan Ji Chong have been tortured and killed.

On October 11, 1901, the Chief of the Russian Spiritual Mission in China Archimandrite Innokenty (Figurovsky), subsequently metropolitan of Beijing and China, has presented to the most Holy Synod the name list of the Chinese martyred for their faith and petitioned at the same time for their perpetual memory.

By Decree ¹ 2874 of April 22, 1902, the Most Holy Synod has decided to glorify the martyred Chinese victims for their faith during the “Yihetuan” revolt as locally venerated saints. For the Orthodox community in China, an annual two-day commemoration was established in their memory on June 10th and 11th (old calendar). Incorruptable relics were buried in a crypt of the temple of All Holy Martyrs on the territory of the Russian Spiritual Mission in Beijing. In 1957 during transfer of Mission territory to the Soviet Embassy, their relics have been translated to the Russian cemetery of Beijing. Subsequently this cemetery was reconstructed by Beijing municipal authorities to the Park of Youth Lake ("Qingnianhu"), one third of its areas was flooded by an artificial lake.

The 1902 Decree of the Synod concerning the veneration of the memory of Chinese martyrs was not executed for the past 35 years.

  1. To reactivate Decree ¹ 2874 of the Most Holy Synod from April 22, 1902 concerning the veneration of locally revered holy martyrs – Hieromartyr Mitrofan and 221 Orthodox laymen martyred with him in China. The day of their memory to be established on June 24th (new calendar).
  2. To instruct the Divine Service Commission of the Holy Synod to create troparion and kontakion to martyr Mitrofan and all others martyred with him in China.