Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

Nika Kravchuk
16.02.2017

Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

Shinto is considered the national religion of Japan, but thanks to the efforts of a Russian missionary, 46,000 Japanese consider themselves Orthodox even today. The name of this preacher is Nikolai the Japanese. The church canonized the saint in the face of Equal to the Apostles: for almost 52 years he dedicated the preaching of the Gospel in the country of the Rising Sun. And February 16 is the day of his memory.

Equal of the Apostles Nikolai Japanese

How did a Russian priest get to Japan

Nikolay Yaponsky (Kasatkin) was born in 1836 in the Smolensk province into an Orthodox family. His father was a deacon, so Nicholas visited the temple from his childhood. When the future saint reached a certain age, he entered the Belsky religious school, and after graduation he entered the Smolensk Theological Seminary. For his academic achievements, he was recommended to the St. Petersburg Theological Academy.

When Nikolai was in the third year, a church opened at the Russian consulate in Japan. For the ministry in this temple only a priest was missing.Nikolay Kasatkin, having learned about it, filed an application. And by God's providence, his candidacy was approved. The future saint took the veil and at the age of 26 went to faraway Japan. At that time, no one could even have imagined that the young priest would devote his entire life to missionary work, build a cathedral, open schools and seminaries, and translate the Holy Scriptures into Japanese. But more on that later.

See also: John of Shanghai: how a Russian saint walked barefoot through the streets of Paris

One step from the sword to the cross

It is difficult to imagine, but Equal to the Apostles spent eight years trying to bring the first twenty Japanese to Orthodoxy.

The young hieromonk actively studied the language, culture, and customs of the new country, sought an approach to the locals. Sometimes, while preaching the gospel, he risked his life.

The first Japanese Orthodox became a former samurai and an ardent ShintoTakuma Savabethen known as priestPavel Savabe. He wanted to kill the Russian hieromonk, as he considered him an agent of the authorities, willing to seize Japan under the pretext of Orthodoxy.

Japanese icon

But Nicholas the Japanese stopped the Shintoist: how can you judge what you do not know at all. And Takuma wanted to learn more about Orthodoxy, and then he accepted this religion, was baptized under the name of Paul.For openly practicing Christianity, he was persecuted and arrested. When he was released, he took holy orders and engaged in missionary work.

From 20 Christians to 34 thousand

By the end of the life of Nicholas of Japan in the Land of the Rising Sun, there were over 34 thousand Orthodox Christians.

Behind this figure are years of hard work. It is hard to even imagine, but Equal to the Apostles spent eight years to bring the first twenty Japanese to Orthodoxy.

After 12 years, there were already more than four thousand Christians in Japan. It took more than four decades, until the number of Orthodox in Japan reached 33 thousand (among them 40 priests from the local population). Over the century, this figure has increased by only 13 thousand - 46 thousand Japanese consider themselves to be parishioners of the Japanese Orthodox Church (0.03% of the total population).

Japanese Enlightenment: Bible translation, the opening of the seminary and the construction of the cathedral

Equal of the Apostles created all the conditions for the preaching of Christianity. He translated the Holy Scriptures (Psalms and the New Testament) and the corresponding service books into Japanese.

For the training of priests, he opened a theological seminary, which operates in our time, and for boys and girls - primary schools.To provide the Japanese with the necessary literature, he created a library, and also published the magazine "Church Herald" in Japanese.

Nikolay-do

Nikolai of Japan petitioned the construction of the Resurrection Cathedral in Tokyo. The temple was consecrated in 1891, and nowadays it is considered not only a religious, but also an architectural landmark of the country (officially counted among the important cultural monuments of the Japanese state). Locals call it"Nikolay-do"(orNikorai-do) in honor of the founder of the Japanese Orthodox Church.

At the end of the life of the saint in Japan, there were, in addition to the cathedral, 8 temples, many small churches, about 280 parishes.

What pray to the holy?

Equal to the Apostles Nicholas of Japan died in 1912, by order of the emperor he was buried in one of the best cemeteries of Tokyo - Yanaka. After 58 years, Nikolai Kasatkin was canonized. Japanese Christians wanted to transfer the relics of the Equal to the Apostles to the Resurrection Cathedral, but were refused. Why? The believers were explained that the relics of the saint are the property of not only Orthodox Japanese, but of the whole people.

The righteous remains remained to rest on Yanak, although the relics were transferred to the believers of the Russian and American Orthodox Churches.

Equal to the apostles will be counted all over the world, they pray to him for the patronage of the missionaries, the education of unbelievers, the strengthening of the servants of the temple. And also about help in learning and learning foreign languages.

We suggest you also watch a film about St. Nicholas of Japan:

 


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  • Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint


    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint

    Nicholas of Japan: how a Russian priest became a Japanese saint