03/18/2011, 00.00
RUSSIA - JAPAN
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Patriarchate of Moscow launches collection for Orthodox in Japan

by Nina Achmatova
One of the bishops of the Japanese Orthodox Church wrote to the Kirill: extent of damage is still uncertain, there has been no news of the parishes on the Pacific coast in Sendai.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Moscow Patriarchate has launched a collection for donations to help the Orthodox affected by the earthquake in Japan. "We started aid collections at the monastery of Saints Martha and Mary in Moscow to help the Orthodox community in that country," announced the head of the social work and charity department of the Patriarchate, Bishop Panteleimon of Orekhovo-Zuyevo.

Currently, there are no detailed reports on the damage suffered by the autonomous Orthodox Church of Japan. The most affected were the parishes of the diocese of Sendai. According to reports from the site diaconia.ru, the earthquake has destroyed the Church of the Annunciation in the town of Yamada (see photo), in Iwate prefecture, northeast of Miyagi. It would seem, however, that the four monasteries in the country are still intact.

In a letter to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, Bishop Seraphim of Sendai writes: "By the grace of God the church in Sendai was not seriously damaged and life begins to returned to normal, but parishes on the Pacific coast have been destroyed and we have lost all communication with them. " "Aid for the victims is pouring in from all over the country - he added - but we do not have the complete picture of the extent of  damage because roads and communications are down”. News filtering through from some faithful is disheartening, who speak a "significant" number of victims according to the bishop. "Now we survivors - Seraphim assuresthe Patriarch - will do everything possible to meet these needs."

In Japan the number of Orthodox is about 30 thousand, according to the Patriarchate. The Japanese autonomous Church was founded in 1870 by St. Nikolai (Kasatkin), who arrived in Japan in 1861 on the mandate of the Holy Synod. It was he who translated the Holy Scriptures and liturgy books into Japanese and built the Resurrection Cathedral in Tokyo. Nikolay was canonized in 1970. That same year, the Patriarchate of Moscow recognized the autonomy of the Japanese Orthodox Church, composed of three eparchies: Kyoto and western Japan, Sendai and Tokyo and eastern Japan, it encompasses 150 parishes and 40 priests. The primate of the Church in Japan, which falls under the canonical jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Moscow, is the Metropolitan Tokyo and all Japan Danil.

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