Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill announced that he will visit Japan on 14-18 September to celebrate the centennial of the death of Saint Nicholas, archbishop of Japan and a great missionary who founded the Japanese Orthodox Church. After meeting with Japanese Ambassador to Russia Chikahito Harada, the patriarch made his decision official.
The patriarch will be hosted by the Metropolitan of Tokyo and All Japan, Daniel. After his visit to the archipelago, Kirill will travel to Krasnoyark in Siberia and Vladivostok, where he will meet with local Orthodox and authorities.
The Orthodox Church of Japan is an autonomous Church within the Orthodox Church. Born Ivan Kasatkin, Saint Nicholas was sent in 1861 to the island of Hokkaido as a presbyter to a chapel of the Russian consulate.
During his mission, he translated the Holy Scriptures and other religious texts into Japanese and had Tokyo's Holy Resurrection Cathedral built.
In 1970, when the autonomy of the Japanese Church was recognised, he was proclaimed as "Equal-to-the-Apostles," a title given to saints who distinguish themselves for their great missionary commitment.
At present, there are 30,000 Japanese Orthodox, divided in three dioceses: Tokyo, led by Archbishop Daniel Nushiro; Sendai, in the east, led by Bishop Seraphim Tsujie; and Kyoto, in the west, also led by Daniel as locum tenens.