• Sandra Knežević Xiamen University – Xiamen
Keywords: Orthodoxy, missionary, Shanghai, tradition, modernity


The question of the existence of a modern Orthodox missionary in Shanghai points to the consideration of official documents and projects of the Russian Orthodox Church, and their comparison with the real situation that exists in practice of the Orthodox Christianity Shanghai and China. The first part of the paper focuses on the official missionary policy of the Russian Orthodox Church and its strategic activities in that field. From the point of view that the practically modern Orthodox mission is a marginalized activity, it was concluded by the church leaders that it is necessary to create a kind of missionary card of each territory, country, eparchy, which would contain not only data on the quantity and composition of the population, its religious and national composition, but would show the situation with the activity of schismatic and pseudo-Orthodox communities, as well as various sectarian organizations, and finally it must be accompanied by priority directions of work. This kind imagined map is a typical example of an anthropologically useful ethnography of a particular region, and the idea is to be a guide to Orthodox missionary work and one of the main sources of information. Today, all activities strive for the recognizable traditional direction of the mission, which has existed since the period before the revolution and represents a priority for the Russian Church. However, if in the 19th century objects of missionary efforts were primarily representatives of indigenous people, nowadays it is necessary to work with people who, as a result of the ethnic and cultural orthodox tradition, have found significant separation not only from civilization goods, but also from the connection with the Orthodox spiritual centers - temples and monasteries, which the territories of large cities project to smaller environments around them. It is possible to recognize a moment in history, that probably cause of the failure of the Orthodox mission in China, and it is mission orientation to its own people outside the Russian borders, which is an easier and more effective choice of missionary activities than the preaching of Orthodoxy among the distanted foreigners. Talking about the purpose and scope of the Orthodox mission in Shanghai, it should be noted that the mission among the indigenous and small peoples of China often encounters another important problem: the problem of the interrelation of national and even local culture and Christian faith that stands in front of people who act in the form of Russian Orthodoxy. The research interest in the continuation of the work is directed to the question of whether a person who is ethnically belonging to one of the peoples of China or the Far East, and who accepts Orthodoxy, must renounce the cultural tradition to which he belongs? The answer ranges between two polarities - the russification model as a break with the native local culture, and, on the contrary, the ideal form of fulfillment of the already existing culture by Christian meaning. There is a conviction that the mission should be related to the work on preserving national cultures and their restoration. In addition to the traditional forms of the mission, modern methods should also be used, taking into account the social context of the epoch. Exploring the forms that exist in Shanghai, it was observed a significant increase in new Orthodox contents in the Chinese language, and as a result, there is activated the educational and apologetic activity of Orthodox Christians in the media, on the Internet and especially on social networks. Their content and essence are different, but they represents a powerful missionary weapon. Finally, in China over the past few years happens an unique process of desecalization and awakening of private spheres of free time and activity choices, which provides new freedoms of religious activity.


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