Talk:Orthodox Christianity in Taiwan

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Edit dispute[edit]

Below is the text of the article as it stood before Evenhandededit removed most of it, saying that it included material "in dispute." Since there has been no discussion here, I suppose he must mean that the issues are disputed in real life--which of course cannot be a criterion for exclusion from Wikipedia, providing the material is at least reliably sourced. With that in mind, consider the following:

Orthodox Christianity arrived in Taiwan around 1895, the year the Qing Dynasty ceded the island to Japan. These first Orthodox believers were Japanese immigrants, who almost immediately began petitioning St. Nicholas (Kasatskin), Archbishop of Japan to send them a priest. In 1901, a Tokyo synod created the Christ the Savior Parish in Taiwan. Its first priest was Fr. Simeon (Okava or Yukava--spellings differ), followed (in 1911) by a Fr. Titus (Kariyama). Records indicate a Taiwan-based Orthodox population of 15 or 17 (in 1900), 29 (in 1901), and 44 (in 1903). The activity of the community was interrupted by the 1912 death of St. Nicholas of Japan, and largely ceased with the end of Japanese rule in 1945.
Sayama Dayroku, later Archbishop Nicholas of Ramensky (near Moscow), was born 1914 in Taihoku (Taipei). [1]
In 1949, some 5000 Russians arrived from China (e.g. Shanghai, Harbin, Xinjiang) in the wake of the Chinese Civil War, and began gathering in Taipei's Cafe Astoria. Mention is made of a Korean War-era funeral led by Bishop (later Archbishop) John (Shahovskoy) of San Francisco, then a U.S. army chaplain en route from Korea to the USA. Archbishop Ireney (Bekish) of Tokyo (later New York) made annual visits to Taipei between 1957 and 1959, celebrating divine liturgy in a private home, under the name of the Church of the Forerunner. In 1960 he ceded these duties to an American military chaplain, Fr. Nikolay Kirilyuk. 1965 saw a visit by Metropolitan Vladimir (Sagosky) of Japan (later San Francisco), American military chaplain Archpriest Peter Zurnovich, and Fr. Kirill Arihara. The number of Orthodox faithful in Taiwan has been variously estimated at 50 (in 1960), 100 (in 1958), and 200 (in 1965).[2] The Russian community's most famous member, Chiang Ching-kuo's Belarussian-born wife Chiang Fang-liang (née Faina Ipat'evna Vakhreva), did not attend services (and may have nominally affiliated with her husband's Methodism).
Sources differ as the whether this predominantly Russian church had any contact with the earlier wave of Japanese-era believers. By the 1970's the church had again dwindled into inactivity, in part because of a canonical rule requiring the closure of any parish which goes more than fifty years without a resident priest.

Evenhandedit retained the above material, eliminating everything that follows:

In 2000, a Greek hieromonk, Fr. Jonah (Mourtos) of Osiou Gregoriou monastery (Mount Athos), arrived, under the auspices of the recently-created Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia (OMHKSEA, f. 1996, and affiliated with the Ecumenical Patriarch), and with financial backing from the Kosmas Aitolos Missionary Society of Greece. He had previously been posted to missionary churches in Zaire and Calcutta. A small congregation of perhaps 30 people (swelling to more than a hundred at Christmas and Easter) formed as the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (Taipei), aka the Orthodox Church in Taiwan, which formally registered with the government in 2003. It originally met in hotels and borrowed Catholic church buildings, then in a rented storefront in Taipei's Tianmu district, before moving to a fourth-floor apartment in Xindian. The congregation has included a mixture of Russians and East Europeans, as well as Chinese and Western converts. Liturgy is conducted in English, with parts translated into Chinese, Russian, and/or Greek. A satellite group, led by a lay reader, has been meeting in Taizhong.
In Taiping District, Taichung, there is also a house church which belongs to the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) which is not under the Orthodox Church in Taipei or the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.

If I may interject--what is this second Taichung group's contact information, website, etc.?

In 2005, INTERPOL contacted Taiwan authorities in an attempt to apprehend drug smuggler / Christodoulos aide Apostolos Vavylis, notorious for his role in the church scandals which made worldwide news that year. [3] Vavylis had been traveling on false identity documents obtained through the assistance of church leaders, including Fr. Jonah, who traveled to Greece to testify to his lack of criminal intent. Vavylis indicated that he had traveled to Italy via Thailand with the help of (unnamed) "Taiwanese friends." [4]

A friend has kindly provided links to Greek-language sites testifying to Fr. Jonah's involvement in the Vavylis affair. A slight correction--it seems that he traveled to Greece, but avoided being called to testify.

In 2012, Archbishop Mark of Yegorievsk, head of the Russian church's Office for Institutions Abroad, "reactivated" the (1901) Christ the Savior parish, apparently in response to numerous requests from Russians living in Taiwan. The following year, the Church of the Elevation of the Cross, aka the Taiwan Orthodox Church, was formed as a metochion of the Moscow Patriarchate, with Russo-Canadian hieromonk Fr. Kirill (Shkarbul) as its first resident priest. It meets in first-floor apartment in Taipei's Xinyi District, off the Hulin Night Market. Liturgy is conducted in Russian, and translated into Chinese and English.
Bishop Nektarios (Tsilis) of Hong Kong (OMHKSEA) responded by excommunicating Fr. Kirill and one of his parishioners (both of whom had formerly attended the OMHKSEA mission church), on the charge of uncanonical behavior and "ethno-phyletism." [5] At issue is whether the Moscow Patriarchate has the right to establish parishes outside of Russia, in what OMHKSEA considers to be territory under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch. The Russian church takes the position that it has the right to operate wherever there are Russians, and points to Moscow's historic privileges in China and Japan (both of which have exercised sovereignty over Taiwan in the past).An OMHKSEA press release specifically rejects arguments in favor of "parallel Orthodox jurisdictions" (as in the USA), adding a note on the political background:
The Orthodox Metropolitanate knows who is protecting him [Fr. Kirill], as well as all the bad things that he and his collaborators are doing in order to gather followers. We do not want to make any disclosures yet, so as not to scandalise the faithful. [...] Finally, to those who speak of the presence of the Church of Russia in South East Asia and its supposed canonical rights, the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and South East Asia states once again its unwavering and clear position that the presence of the Church of Russia in South East Asia is uncanonical and that any decision of the Synod of the Church of Russia concerning the Far East is considered invalid. At some future point, the Orthodox Metropolitanate will comment on the so-called historical arguments presented by the Church of Russia to support its uncanonical actions. [6]
Also in 2013, the Moscow-affiliated church briefly attracted media attention for the blessing of a ship. [7]

(I omit the links) So, which of the above points are disputed? Dawud (talk) 05:54, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

This whole dispute seems barely relevant to the article. And in the process of adding it to the article and removing it again, all mention of the Orthodox meeting-house set up by someone from the US has been lost. Maproom (talk) 06:33, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
As far as I know, there are two full-fledged Orthodox churches here: the OMKHSEA church and the Russians. Someone added the information about the OCA church, but I do not know anything about it, and no links or sources have been supplied. (Do they have a priest?) Anyway, why would this American church be more important than the Russians or the Greeks? And the dispute between them is not only vitally important (considering that roughly half of the island's Orthodox believers are now out of communion with the other half), but confirmed by the OMKHSEA website. Dawud (talk) 14:51, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
I never claimed the American church was more important than The Russian or the Greek. It is not more important. But four lines on the American church, and over 40 on the current discreditable (and hopefully ephemeral) spat between the Greeks and the Russians, was disproportionate the other way. Maproom (talk) 17:43, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
In that case, the thing to do would be to expand the OCA section, not eliminate the others.Dawud (talk) 23:29, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

More sources[edit]

(For after the above edit dispute gets resolved.)

Simeon Eryshev (Семён Epышeв), Православнaя Mиссиe иa Тайва́ньe--Историe, coвpeмeниocтъ Перспективы (Orthodox Missions in Taiwan: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives). MDiv thesis, Moscow Theological Academy, 2005.

Note: I can't read Russian, but am acquainted with the author, and got him to translate portions of it aloud into Chinese while I made notes. I will try to get him to inspect this page.

Professor Andr. Demetropoulos, Personal Life of Clerics. National Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Law, 2004-20055.

Fr. Jonah is mentioned as one of the Athonite monks with whom Vavylis became acquainted, and as the one who assisted Vavylis in acquiring a passport under the false name of "Fokas." Note that this is an academic work.

I look forward to incorporating these. Dawud (talk) 11:05, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

Revert war[edit]

Since neither of the above editors (if they are not the same person) have shown much willingness to discuss things, after a few weeks I reverted back to my old text (with additional references). Somebody keeps reverting. I'm going to report this. Dawud (talk) 05:14, 6 October 2013 (UTC)


First, I think it probably makes sense for this article to explicitly link to the articles for the individual "jurisdictions" or patriarchates or whatever you want to call them in the article. It is generally acknowledged that they are all separate entities, even if they do all fall under the main patriarch, and it doesn't serve our purposes anywhere, and possibly particularly in this article, to not indicate those differences.

The first paragraph seems to relate to the history, which is good, but maybe not the ideal opening for an article. A separate lede paragraph, with a summary of the early history and recent developments, and some indications of other matters, would probably be called for. Also, it would certainly be worth noting if there had been any previous history of the Eastern Orthodox Church and its members on the island of Taiwan at all, even before independence. It might be reasonable to include any relevant data about the specific liturgical calendars used by the groups, particularly if they have any mention of individuals who are in some way associated with Taiwan or old China or are some sort of local patron there. And, given the apparent size, if any of the groups ever had any sort of church festival, particularly regular ones, which got any sort of attention, some mention of them might be reasonable. Considering that this is, at least at this time, the sole article we have on this subject, and there is no clearcut "History of..." article, the history in the broader sense is probably the most broadly discussed topic, and should probably receive most weight here. That would include at least minimal discussion of the recent controversy.

But there does seem to me to be perhaps a definite bias shown in the history of the article toward recent information. Given the small size of the Orthodox congregations historically, I guess I can understand that, but it probably would go against WP:WEIGHT. John Carter (talk) 15:37, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

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