Lukin Alexander; Puzanova Olga

St. Nicholas of Japan and his approach to state-church relations and the status of the Japanese Orthodox Church

Lukin Alexander, Puzanova Olga (2022) "St. Nicholas of Japan and his approach to state-church relations and the status of the Japanese Orthodox Church ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2022, vol. 99, pp. 11-29 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI202299.11-29


This article examines Nikolai’s views on Church-state relations and the status of the Japanese Orthodox Church. These two questions are inextricably linked because having founded and developed the Japanese Orthodox Church, Nikolai sought to build up its relations with the Japanese state, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state, according to his understanding of the Orthodox ideal, and his views therefore had a direct bearing on his activities and the status of the Japanese Orthodox Church.The topic of Nikolai’s ideas about the status of the Japanese Church is poorly covered by the available literature, which predominantly adopts the simplistic view that Nikolai immediately tried to create a church that was as independent from the Russian Church as possible. This view, however, relies on individual comments taken out of context. The issue is important both in itself and for those who wish to investigate how far the potential indigenisation of the Orthodox Church can be stretched, as well as Nikolai’s views on the matter. The authors conclude that it would be a gross over-simplification to say that Nikolai supported an independent Japanese Church from the outset of his work in the country. In fact, he advocated close ties with the Russian Church for the foreseeable as a guarantee of the Japanese Church’s commitment to true Orthodoxy and fought actively against those who supported premature independence. While it is true that for pragmatic purposes, he would publicly express opinions in support of actual independence for the Japanese Church, this only took place during a period of growth in anti-Russian sentiment in Japan and he would only do so to protect the Church from attacks.


Russia, Japan, Nicholas of Japan, church, state, status


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Information about the author

Lukin Alexander

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in History;
Academic Rank: Professor;
Place of work: MGIMO University;
Post: Director of the Center for East Asian and SCO Studies;
ORCID: 0000-0002-1962-2892;
Email: lukinru@yahoo.com.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.

Puzanova Olga

Academic Degree: PhD in Philosophy;
Place of work: National Research University Higher School of Economics;
Post: Assistant Professor;
ORCID: 0000-0002-2200-2686;
Email: opuzanova@hse.ru.


Research for this article was supported by MGIMO University, project No. 1921-01-02.