Here is more about China’s war on Christianity. While this story refers to Catholic churches, the holy icons in Orthodox churches could easily be subject to the same treatment. The Chinese government is in the midst of an all-out campaign to turn Christianity into a weak religion that is entirely subservient to the Chinese Communist Party, and that doesn’t teach anything that would lead Chinese people away from Communist Party dogma. This is a matter of grave concern for Orthodox Christians in China and all other Christians as well. The Chinese Orthodox Church is in a vulnerable position, as it is not one of the Christian groups recognized by the Chinese government.
Holy Orthodoxy in China predates this war on Christianity. It has a three-hundred year history in China, with the first Orthodox Christians coming into the country in 1685. In the 1980s, the Chinese Orthodox Church began to experience a revival. Pray that it not be snuffed out. The Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, requests once again that the Chinese government end these repressive measures, grant official recognition to the Chinese Orthodox Church, and give full religious freedom to all the Christians of that nation.
See ChristianPersecution.com’s previous coverage of China and its war on Christianity here.
“Xi Jinping Portraits Replace Catholic Symbols in Churches,” by Tang Zhe, Bitter Winter, November 25, 2019:
A Catholic Church in Ji’an, a prefecture-level city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi, was built this year at the cost of more than one million RMB (over $ 140,000), which had been raised by believers. It was named “The True and Original Source of the Universe” (萬有真原), a reference to the name inscribed in 1711 on a plaque the Kangxi Emperor (Xuanje, 1654–1722) donated to a Catholic church in Beijing. Not long after it opened its doors, the church became the target of the local government’s persecution.
In late September, local officials ordered the congregation to paint over the sign with the name of the church, replace it with “Follow the Party, Obey the Party, and Be Grateful to the Party,” and display the national flag at the entrance.
What has hurt the congregations the most was the removal of a painting of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child, later discarded into a dark corner of the church. Instead, a portrait of president Xi Jinping was hung in the center of one of the walls, surrounded by propaganda slogans on both sides.
A few days later, officials confiscated the keys to the church and locked all its doors and windows. The congregation lost their place of worship.
The same month, a Catholic meeting venue that is not part of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association in Jiangxi’s Poyang county was ordered to cease religious activities. Local officials threatened to revoke retirement pensions of elderly congregation members if another meeting were to be held. The church’s cross, a painting of the Virgin Mary, and religious couplets were removed, and portraits of Xi Jinping and Mao Zedong were displayed instead.
In early May, another Catholic venue in Poyang county was shut down on the grounds that “any church refusing to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association is a xie jiao.” Congregation members said that they would rather worship at home than join the state-run church….