În seara de 12 decembrie 2012, Ambasada României la Tokio a organizat un seminar despre primul preot misionar român din Japonia, Anatolie Tihai, cu prilejul sărbătoririi în 2012 a 140 de ani de la sosirea lui în această ţară. În cadrul seminarului, au susţinut câte o prezentare domnul ambasador Radu Şerban şi părintele Demitrios Tanaka, directorul Sectorului Relaţii Internaţionale din cadrul Mitropoliei Ortodoxe nipone. Evenimentul a fost organizat cu sprijinul părintelui Alexandru Nicodim, reprezentantul Bisericii Ortodoxe Române pe lângă Mitropolia Japoniei.
La manifestare au participat ambasadorii Serbiei şi Greciei, reprezentanţi ai corpului diplomatic acreditat la Tokio şi ai Ministerului Afacerilor Externe nipon, membri ai comunităţii româneşti din Japonia şi ai asociaţiilor de prietenie româno-japoneze.
Părintele Anatolie Tihai s-a născut în 1839 în comuna Tărăsăuţi, judeţul Hotin, Noua Suliţă (astăzi în Ucraina). A studiat la Chişinău şi Kiev, iar în 1872 a acceptat să slujească alături de arhimandritul rus Nicolae Kasatkin în Japonia. A locuit în Hakodate (Hokkaido) unde a înfiinţat o şcoală primară, în Osaka unde a deschis o şcoală de catehism şi a slujit la Misiunea Ortodoxă Rusă din capitala niponă. S-a stins din viaţă în 1893 şi a fost înmormântat la Sankt Petersburg.
Sursa: ziarul Lumina
Comunicarea părintelui Dimitrie Tanaka (Biserica Ortodoxă Japoneză)
FR. ANATOLY TIKHAI
Father Anatoly Tikhai was a hieromonk who came to Japan in the early 1870s to assist the future St. Nicholas of Japan in his missionary works in our country. Initially, St. Nicholas of Japan assigned Fr. Anatoly to his original missionary camp in Hakodate, Hokkaido, an island of northern Japan.
During his years in Japan before he returned to Russia due to a serious illness, Fr. Anatoly organized schools and ministered Japanese Orthodox communities in Hakodate, and later in Osaka, as well as served as dean of the language school and organized the seminary in Tokyo.
Hieromonk Fr. Anatoly was originally from Bessarabia – a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west.
In secular, Alexander Dmitrievich Tikhai, born in Bessarabia, Khotin, initially Fr. Anatoly studied at the Chisinau Theological Seminary, but did not finish the course and went to Mount Athos. He became a monk on Mount Athos and lived on Holy Mount for four years and graduated from the Kiev Theological Academy before he was assigned to assist St. Nicholas in his missionary works in Japan.
Hieromonk Fr. Anatoly arrived in Japan in December 1871 (or else in October 1871), while the future St. Nicholas’ activities were still centered in Hakodate. After reviewing the status of the missionary efforts in Japan with Fr. Anatoly, St. Nicholas assigned Fr. Anatoly to the existing Orthodox camp in Hakodate, thus continuing to minister the community that had formed there. This allowed St. Nicholas to move his activities to Edo (the former Tokyo).
In 1873, Hieromonk Fr. Anatoly established the Motomachi Orthodox Primary School in Hakodate, where he taught for the next seven years. By 1880, the number of the students enrolled amounted to 300 people. In 1880, Fr. Anatoly was raised to the rank of Archimandrite and also was called by St. Nicholas to come up to the Kanda Surugadai headquarters of the Russian Orthodox mission in Tokyo, to become the dean of the Russian language school and the newly organized Tokyo’s Missionary School. Here, he taught theology to the seminarians and assisted St. Nicholas in his missionary works.
In 1877-1878, Fr. Anatoly visited Vladivostok with five Japanese candidates for their ordination. On his return in 1878, he made a missionary tour to visit churches in western Japan, before reaching Osaka, where he performed the first baptism.
Subsequently, in 1879-1881, while St. Nicholas was absent from Japan, having returned to Russia to report his missionary achievements to the Holy Synod, Fr. Anatoly served as the head of the Russian Orthodox Mission in Japan. Without going into detail on the characteristics of Fr. Anatoly as a christian missionary, we pay attention only to the fact that he was loved so much by Japanese Orthodox flock. According to the remarks of his contemporary, Hieromonk Fr. Anatoly, like St. Nicholas, was so loved greatly by Japanese people of the time, which is so necessary in any, but especially in the missionary works. He was one who old chrisitians somehow called ‘Father’. In 1880, he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite.
In 1882 he was transferred to serve in Osaka, where he built a missionary home, a church and a school.
In 1884, Osaka Missionary school was closed. Fr. Anatoly was transferred again to Tokyo. He became the rector of the church of the Russian embassy, but at the same time continued to be engaged in missionary works.
Fr. Anatoly is particularly famous for his works in church music. By his contribution to the translation of the music notes, St. Nicholas, by the end of 1873, could fully serve vigils in Japanese. Through Fr. Anatoly, in the beginning of 1874, his brother, a seminarian and a music teacher, Jacob Tikhai was summoned to Japan from Russia for making church music in Japan. Subsequently, Fr. Anatoly continued to translate notes of the church music into Japanese, as well as to teach the chanters.
In the late 1880s Archimandrite Fr. Anatoly’s health began to fail, and in the summer of 1890 he returned to Russia where he reposed in 1893.
Eventually, Archimandrite Fr. Anatoly spent 21 years as an orthodox missionary in Japan. By the end of his life, he returned to Russia, and probably remained among the brethren of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. He reposed in Lord in 1893 in St. Petersburg, and was buried in the brothers’ area of the Nicholsky cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. On his tombstone it says: „The rector of the Church of the Russian Imperial Mission to Japan.”
Bessarabian missionaries in Japan
Among Orthodox missionaries who served in the Russian Orthodox Mission in Japan from early 1870s until late 1920s, together with the future St. Nicholas, there were three Bessarabians; the most prominent among them – Archimandrite Fr. Anatoly Tikhai.
Fr. Anatoly Tikhai initially studied at the Chisinau Theological Seminary and was later ordained as a hieromonk in 1865 at the Zograf monastery on Mount Athos. In 1866, he returned to Chisinau to complete their studies at the seminary, subsequently in 1867 he entered the Kiev Theological Academy, where he was later ordained a deacon and then a priest. In Kiev in 1869 he had the opportunity to see and hear the famous missionary Hieromonk Nicholas (Kasatkin), who told the students about the status of the Orthodox Mission in Japan. So, in the soul of deacon Anatoly was born overwhelming desire to devote himself to missionary service. Immediately after graduation, hierodeacon Anatoly wrote a petition to the Holy Synod, so that he was sent to Japan as a member of the Mission.
Hieromonk Fr. Anatoly arrived in Japan in 1872 and became the assistant closest to Archimandrite Fr. Nicholas at that time, laboring over the spread of the Gospel in many missionary centers. Initially, Fr. Anatoly was entrusted to head missionary camp in Hakodate, where already existed Orthodox community of fifty people. In Hakodate, Fr. Anatoly served until 1880. In a relatively short time he began to speak in Japanese, of which he later acquired perfect command. Fr. Anatoly delivered sermons in public, created for the care of the community the parish council which was composed of the catechists elected among the faithful. The duties of the council were religious education of the members of the community, to teach them according to the canons of the Orthodox faith.
In Hakodate, Fr. Anatoly founded two schools, which were the first Orthodox schools in Japan. Later, according to this example Sunday schools were organized in all Orthodox communities in Japan.
Fr. Anatoly’s journalistic works are quite extensive and cover a considerable range of issues related to the activities of the Russian Orthodox mission in Japan. His materials were placed in a number of national publications, religious and secular. Fragments of diaries of Fr. Anatoly were published in 1878 in a Moscow magazine called «The Missionary», the official organ of the Russian Orthodox Missionary Society. Next year, Fr. Anatoly’s diaries notes were published in the magazine called «Missionary Review» (№ 46). His impressions as a supervisor of the Russian Orthodox mission is very valuable, through which we can observe specifically the cultural level of Japan of the time which he found in Hakodate.
In 1880, Fr. Anatoly founded a school of icon painting in Tokyo. Later, at the same place, a special workshop annexed to the Missionary School for women was opened, where a famous Japanese icon-painter, Irene Rin Yamashita, had long worked. In Osaka, Fr. Anatoly built the church, where congregated about two hundred people, and he painted it in Athos style.
Fr. Anatoly also founded a Sunday Church school for children and a missionary school for catechists. He preached in Kyoto, and also in the towns of Kamioka and Hamamatsu, to prepare sufficient background for the Orthodox missionary works in the south-western part of Japan, too. The fact is that, despite the formal transfer of the capital from Kyoto to Tokyo, the main focuses of social and cultural life of the Japanese people still remain in the south-west and mainly in the ancient capital and surrounding provinces.
In addition, he was actively involved in the translation of various works of Christian literature into Japanese.
Second Bessarabian missionary in Japan was Jacob Tikhai, brother of Fr. Anatoly. He graduated from the Chisinau Theological Seminary in 1869, and in 1874 went to Japan and served in the Catechetical School. Jacob Tikhai knew Japanese quite well and assembled choir from the Orthodox Japanese, translating the notes of some church music into Japanese.
Third Bessarabian participated in the Orthodox missions in Japan was Dmitry Lvovskiy, the grandson of the famous composer and musician Gregory Lvovskiy. He served as a deacon in Japan for more than thirty years. His principal concern was the organization of the choir of a hundred brothers and sisters for the cathedral in Tokyo. Deacon Dmitry knew perfectly Japanese and skillfully taught Russian in Missionary schools in Tokyo. Since 1874 in Tokyo was opened the Regent College, which under the leadership of Deacon Dmitry Lvovskiy, students studied church music, readings and liturgical ranks.
Today, we Japanese Orthodox Christians still live mostly upon the spiritual and religious heritages of St. Nicholas of Japan and these three Bessarabian missionaries who served in the Russian Orthodox Mission with Him. Certainly, many Japanese Orthodox scholars and intellectuals had contributed to their spiritual achievements remarkable in the history of the Orthodox Mission of the 19th and 20th century; however, we are no doubt beneficiaries of the faith of these missionaries who had struggled, as if St. Paul the apostle did with ardent fraternal love and incredible passion, to convey the Evangelion of Christ for salvation and the Orthodoxy to the Japanese people for so many years in this country. Therefore, with joy in Christ and indomitable patience, we must continue to work on the Divine tasks which our Lord committed us through them in the country of the Rising Sun.
- Церковь Воскресения Христова при русском консульстве в Хакодате (в Японии),” Миссионер, Москва, 1874, № 31.
- „Дневник русского православного миссионера,” Миссионерское обозрение, 1879, № 46.
- Бесстремянная, Г. Е., Японская Православная Церковь. История и современность, М. Троице-Сергиева Лавра, 2006, 249-250.
- Саблина, Э., 150 лет Православия в Японии. История Японской Православной Церкви и её основатель Святитель Николай, Москва: АИРО-ХХI; Санкт-Петербург: „Дмитрий Буланин”, 2006, 48-49. Сообщение Изяслава Тверецкого.
- Van Remortel, M. and Chang, Peter, eds., Saint Nikolai Kasatkin and the Orthodox Mission in Japan: A Collection of Writings by an International Group of Scholars about St. Nikolai, his Disciples, and the Mission (Святой Николай Касаткин и Православная Миссия в Японии: Сборник Работ Интернациональной Группцы Ученых о Св. Николае, его Учениках, и Миссии), Point Reyes Station, California: Divine Ascent Press, Monastery of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, 2003, 200.