“Orthodoxy came into my life when I was a little over 20 years old. In China, the Orthodox faith is difficult to find, and I know that many on this path fall into other confessions. I learned how to search”, - the priest told TASS.
According to him, it is almost impossible to convert to Orthodoxy in China if you are not Russian. But Zhang managed to get to know Archpriest Dionisy Pozdnyaev, an Orthodox priest from Hong Kong. He baptized Zhang and blessed him to study at the seminary.
He first flew to Russia, namely to Saratov, eight years ago. There, the Chinese studied at the theological seminary. The main obstacle in her studies was the lack of knowledge of the Russian language. The Metropolitan gave Zhang a year to learn to read. In his fourth year, in June 2015, in the Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, he was ordained a deacon. Zhang became a priest two years later.
For almost a year, the Chinese served in the Saratov Church of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos. Then he learned that the Jewish Autonomous Region, where his compatriots live, is located on the border with China. In the spring of 2019, the priest received a blessing and moved to the village of Amurzet, which is located on the left bank of the Amur. However, he soon decided to go to the Amur Region to work in the missionary department of the diocese and serve in two languages, attracting the Chinese to Orthodoxy.
A few months ago, a Chinese was appointed abbot of one of the churches in Blagoveshchensk. “There are a lot of Chinese here, and they all need a priest so they don't make mistakes, trust and get into the sect”, - Zhang says. He is also involved in the creation of an Orthodox Chinese community.
Zhang considers Easter a "holiday of the holidays". “Christmas is also of that kind, but still not like the Easter. Easter services are so beautiful”, - he said.
At the same time, the Chinese pray in different ways: when in Russian, and when in their native language. The parishioners look at Zhang with surprise: “A Chinese in the Russian church? And even in a cassock!".
The priest considers the formal attitude of the Orthodox to the faith to be a problem: many baptized people remember God only in the most difficult moments. “I ask a person if he goes to church on Sundays, and he replies that there is no time. Prince Alexander Nevsky had time, but he did not!”, - the priest is indignant.