Our father among the [[ saints]] ''' Nicholas of Japan''', [[ Equal-to-the-Apostles| Equal to the Apostles]] ([[ August 1]], 1836 – [[ February 3]], 1912), brought Orthodoxy to Japan. He was sent to Japan as a [[ missionary]] by the [[ Church of Russia]]. He worked tirelessly among the Japanese people and established there the [[ Church of Japan]]. His [[ feast day]] is [[ February 3]].
Early life ==[[Image:nj3.jpg|thumb|left| St. Nicholas, [[ Equal-to-the-Apostles| equal to the Apostles]] and [[ enlightener]] of Japan]] Nicholas was born Ivan Kasatkin in Berezovsky village, Volsk district, in the province of Smolensk. There his father, Dmitri, served as a [[ deacon]]. When the child was five, his mother died. The deacon's family was big and very poor. Despite that young Ivan was sent to the Belsk [[ Theology| Theological]] School and later to the Smolensk Theological [[ Seminary]].
In 1857, Ivan, one of the best students, was sent to study in the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, where he demonstrated remarkable talents. When Ivan was about to finish his studies, his future mission—to preach the [[ Orthodox faith]] in Japan—was revealed by Divine Providence. The Russian consul in Japan sent a request to the [[Holy Synod]] (later forwarded to the Academy), asking for a pastor "who would be useful both as a spiritual director and a scholar and whose private life would give a good idea of our clergy not only to Japanese, but also to foreigners." He filed a petition to [[Bishop]] Nectarius, the [[rector]], asking to profess him and to appoint him to the Russian Consulate in Japan.
On [[ June 24]], 1860, Bishop Nectarius professed Ivan Kasatkin with the name of Nicholas in the academic church of the Twelve [[Apostles]]. On [[ June 29]], the day of Apostles [[Apostle Peter|Peter]] and [[ Apostle Paul|Paul]], [[monk]] Nicholas was [[ordination|ordained]] [[hierodeacon]], and on [[June 30]], when the [[Synaxis]] of the Twelve Apostles was celebrated, he became [[hieromonk]].
Remarkable were the bishop's words of blessing of the young monk's new mission: "You are supposed to live your [[ asceticism| ascetic life]] outside the [[ monastery]] . You will have to leave your homeland and to serve God in a country that is distant and unfaithful. Along with the cross of an ascetic you must take your staff of a pilgrim, along with [[ monasticism|monastic]] exploits you must embark on an apostolic mission!"
== Early years in Japan == In June 1860, hieromonk Nicholas set off for his duty station in the town of Hakodate, taking along the [[ icon]] of Smolensk [[ Theotokos| Mother of God]]. On his way to Japan, he met the renowned bishop of the [[Church of Russia|Russian Church]], St [[ Innocent of Alaska| Innocent]] (Veniaminov), [[Archbishop]] of Kamchatka, the Kurile and Aleutian Islands (later Metropolitan of Moscow), called the Apostle of America and Siberia. In Nikolaevsk-on-Amur, he learned from the elder missionary's experience all that was necessary to continue his apostolic deeds "even to the end of the earth."
On July 2, 1861 Nicholas arrived Hakodate. At first, to preach the [[ Gospel]] in Japan seemed next to impossible. According to Fr Nicholas' words, "the Japanese of that time regarded foreigners as beasts, and considered Christianity to be a vicious church, to which only notorious evildoers and magicians could belong." It took him eight years to familiarize himself with the country, its people and language, and the customs and traditions of those to whom he had to preach.
Nicholas learned Japanese culture and language eagerly. Especially after he met Archbp. Innocent (Veniaminov) in September 1861 in Hakodate, his motivation seemed to be accelerated. In Japan, the young Nicholas tried to keep his competence for Western languages and read foreign books. Innocent found him read Western book eventually, and scorned him. According to Innocent, the all efforts of Nicholas should have been toward learning Japanese language, culture and history so that he would be able to make a correct translation of the Scripture. Nicholas was impressed greatly with the words of Archbp. Innocent and meekly pursuaded.
[[Hieromonk]] Nicholas attended popular gatherings to listen to visitant storytellers and Buddhist preachers. By 1868, Fr Nicholas had already mastered spoken Japanese. His knowledge of the history of Japan was deeper than that of many Japanese. In the meantime, he also learned English, which was becoming an international language. By that time the congregation of Fr Nicholas numbered about 20 men and women.
Church of Japan| Archbishop of Tokyo]]|
of Japan|Sergius (Tikhomirov)]]}}
External links==*[http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?FSID=100419 St. Nicholas, Equal of the Apostles and Archbishop of Japan] ([[OCA]])*[http://www.roca.org/OA/113-114/113e.htm " Enlightener of Japan, Blessed Nicholas Kasatkin"] by [[ Presbytera]] Doreen Bartholomew. ''Orthodox America'', Issue 113-114, Vol XII, No. 5-6, Jan-Feb, 1992. *[http://www.roca.org/OA/17/17e.htm " Enlightener of Japan Blessed Nicholas Kassatkin"] by [[Matushka]] Naomi Takahashi. ''Orthodox America'', Issue 17, Vol II, No.7, February, 1982.*[http://www.orthodox.clara.net/mission_lecture.htm " Orthodox Christian Mission"] a talk by Fr. Gregory Hallam *[http://www.orthodox-jp.com/maria/English-index.htm Orthodox Church Singing in Japan], by Matushka Maria J. Matsushima and choir leader.*[http://www.comeandseeicons.com/n/phm16.htm Icon of St. Nicholas of Japan]
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