11/22/2006, 00.00
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Orthodox seminarians studying Chinese to "integrate" immigrants

The Russian Orthodox Church is training staff to work in close contact with Chinese immigrant community. Many are taking internships at a Catholic University in Taiwan. China has no right to interfere if Chinese convert in Russia.


Moscow (AsiaNews) – The Russian Orthodox Church has decided to strengthen its missionary activities vis-à-vis the Chinese immigrant community in Russia "to favour its integration", said Fr Dionisy Posdnajev, from the Moscow Patriarchate's Foreign Relations Department.

In an interview with the Ria Novisti news agency, the clergyman said that "the Chinese will feel they belong more to Russia if they assimilate the Orthodox religion and openly announce it. For this reason, it is necessary to hold services in Chinese and train staff." According to him, ten seminarians are studying Chinese and are interns at the Fu Jen University in Taiwan.

As Chinese seminarians training in Russian seminaries, Dionisy Pozdnjaev excluded any of them might not want to go back home in order to stay in Russia but "if anyone of them does want to stay, his decision will be supported" by the Patriarchate.

Currently, 11 Chinese are training in Russian seminaries. Fr Pozdnjaev noted that "should any Chinese students in any of Russia's secular universities or institutes choose to be baptised and enter the seminary, we shall not stop them. It will be their decision, and Chinese authorities have no right to interfere."

Pozdnjaev added that some Chinese who came to Russia for study or business purposes have already converted to the Orthodox religion. "It is not a mass phenomenon," he explained, "but a matter of single episodes."

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