Icon of chinese orthodox Martyrs. Murdered during Boxer Rebellion (1900). Canonized before 1917.
The Boxer Rebellion is one of the little known historical pages of Russian Spiritual Mission in China. The year 1900 is known as the time of the most active activity of the Yihetuan – mostly a religious movement called the Boxer Rebellion following the incorrect British translation. Directed against foreigners, its ideology lay in anti-Christianity. When the uprising enveloped the entire capital, Director of the Russian Spiritual Mission, Archimandrite Innocent (Figurovskii, future Metropolitan of Beijing and China) left Beiguan with his collaborators and moved to the Russian embassy. Along with the church accessories they brought with them an ancient icon of St. Nicholas of Mozhaisk, brought from Albazin by Fr. Maxim Leontiev back in 1685. Chinese government allotted 10 pikemen to guard the Mission, but on June 11 it was burned to the ground, destroying its library, archive and sacristy. Yihetuans have tortured to death 222 Orthodox Chinese, which are considered the first Chinese martyrs. Among them – hieromartyr Metrophanes, first Chinese priest consecrated in Japan by its enlightener, St. Nicholas. By the intercessions of the Mission’s Director, the Holy Synod has appointed a liturgical celebration to the holy Chinese New-Martyrs (Decree №2874 from April 22, 1902). Their holy relics, many of which turned out to be incorrupt, were buried in the crypt of the new church dedicated to All Martyrs. The “Praise” following their lives is written by Archimandrite Avraamii (Chasovnikov), who, together with Archimandrite Innocent, was a witness of the horrors of the Boxer Rebellion. The “Praise to the slain” was first published in “Izvestiia Bratstva Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi v Kitae”, №8 (July 1, 1905). – Ed.
Priest MITROPHAN. Priest Mitrophan, his Chinese name being Chang Yangji, was born in 1855, on the 10th day of the 12th month. Before reaching twenty years of age, he was appointed to the post of catechist. At 25 he was ordained to the priesthood by Nikolai, bishop of Japan. He lost his father in early childhood and was raised under the care of his grandmother Ekaterina and his mother Marina; his mother was a teacher at a school for females. At the time he experienced many troubles. When Archimandrite Pallady became head of the Mission for the second time, he charged his teacher Jǔrén, Lóng Yuán (举人隆源) to take great care in educating Mitrophan, in order to prepare him for eventual ordination. Mitrophan was a humble person, very cautious and quiet, peaceful and not impassioned; even when faced with great insults, he did not try to justify himself. Archimandrite Pallady's successor was Archimandrite Flavian, who later became Metropolitan of Kiev. From the time of his arrival in Běijīng (北京, Peking), Archimandrite Pallady charged him, as well as the teacher Long Yuan, to try to have Mitrophan attain what had been predestined (that is the priestly rank). Mitrophan did not want to accept ordination and constantly refused, saying "how can a person with insufficient abilities and charity dare to accept this great rank?" But under the forceful urging of Archimandrite Flavian and the persuasion of the teacher, Mitrophan obeyed, even though he knew that by accepting priesthood, his end would be inauspicious. Under Archimandrite Flavian, Priest Mitrophan assisted him in translating and checking books. For fifteen years, he tirelessly served God, while suffering many hurts and insults both from his own people and outsiders, he finally had a mild breakdown. Sometime after this spent three years living outside the mission, receiving half of his previous salary. All his life the Priest Mitrophan was not avaricious and many took advantage of this.