Holy Resurrection Cathedral, Nicholaido

Holy Resurrection Cathedral, Nicholaido

Product Description

Nicholaido: Kanda Surugadai 4-1-3

The Japanese Orthodox Church or the Orthodox Church in Japan is an autonomous church within the Orthodox Church, under the omophorion of the Russian Orthodox Church.


St. Nicholas of Japan (baptized as Ivan Dmitrievich Kasatkin) brought Orthodox Christianity to Japan in the 19th century. In 1861 he was sent by the Russian Orthodox Church to Hakodate, Hokkaido as a presbyter to a chapel of the Russian consulate. Though the contemporary Shogun's government prohibited Japanese conversion to Christianity, some neighbors who frequently visited the chapel converted in 1864 — Nicolai's first three converts in Japan. While they were his first converts in Japan, they were not the first Japanese to become Orthodox Christians—some Japanese who had settled in Russia had converted to Orthodox Christianity.

Apart from brief trips Nicholas stayed in Japan, even during the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905). He proclaimed Orthodox Christianity nationwide, and was appointed as the first bishop of the Japanese Orthodox Church. He moved his headquarters from Hakodate to Tokyo around 1863. In 1886 the Japanese Orthodox Church had over 10,000 baptized faithful. In 1891 Nicholas founded a cathedral church in Tokyo in Kanda district. He spent most of the last half of his life there, and hence Tokyo Resurrection Cathedral became nicknamed Nikorai-do by Kanda citizens.

St. Nicholas of Japan is also known for his Japanese translation of the New Testament and some Christian liturgical books (Lenten Triodion, Pentecostarion, Feast Services, Book of Psalms, Irmologion).

The early mission to establish a Japanese Orthodox Church depended on the Russian Orthodox Church, especially in financial matters. The war between Russia and Japan created a politically difficult situation for the church. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the support and communications both spiritual and financial from the Russian Orthodox Church were severely curtailed. The Japanese government had new suspicions about the Japanese Orthodox Church; in particular, that it was used as a cover for communist Russian espionage. The second bishop of Japan, Metropolitan Sergius (Tikhomirov), called Sergii by the Japanese, suffered from such governmental suspicion, and was forced to resign his episcopacy. The Russian Church similarly was suffering from Stalinist policy and had no ability to help the young Church in Japan.

The Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 did serious damage to the Japanese Orthodox Church. The headquarters, Nikorai-do, was destroyed and burnt, including its library with many valuable documents. Nikorai-do was rebuilt in 1929 thanks to contributions gathered from the faithful, whom metropolitan Sergius visited nationwide.

During the Fifteen Years War (1930–1945), which from 1939 to 1945 was part of World War II, the Christians in Japan suffered severe conditions, the Orthodox Church especially. In 1945 after the Japanese surrender the Allied Occupation leaders had a generous attitude to Christian groups, given their predominantly American connections. As the majority of the Slavic- and Greek-Americans would attend local Orthodox Christian parishes, the Orthodox Christian community in Japan took a step forward. During the war the Japanese Orthodox Church had had almost no foreign contact. After the war instead of the Russian Orthodox Church the precursors of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) helped re-invigorate the Japanese Orthodox Church. The Japanese Orthodox Church became governed by bishops from the Orthodox Church in America,[2] and several youths who studied at the OCA's Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, then in New York City, are now leaders of the Japanese Orthodox Church.