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Nicolai, Père

Nicolai, Père (1836–1912). Russian Orthodox pioneer missionary to Japan, raised to archbishop in 1906. Nicolai, whose personal name was Ivan Kasatkin, was the pioneer leader in what has been called the most spectacular achievement in the long history of Russian missionary work. The unique aspect of this work lay in Nicolai's making an almost complete separation from Russian political aims or interests its basic working principle.

Nicolai arrived in Japan on 2 June 1861 to serve as chaplain of the Russian consulate in Hakodate. His proficiency in Japanese and growing understanding of the people and their culture enabled the Orthodox Mission to become indigenized quickly and to raise up Japanese leaders of distinction. By these methods Nicolai and his colleagues, Russian and Japanese, were able to hold together the growing Japanese Orthodox Church even through the intense strains of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–5.

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