June 10th honours the 220 Holy Martyrs of China


Baby giving homage

The Holy Martyrs of China

The Boxer Rebellion and those who stood against  is highlighted today with this Memorial Feast. 

The Box Rebellion was actually an officially supported peasant uprising in 1900 that attempted to drive all foreigners from China.

The group was named  “Boxers” by foreigners.  In Chinese they were called  Yihequan (“Righteous and Harmonious Fists”), because of their emblem as well as their boxing and calisthenic rituals they practiced in the belief that this made them invulnerable. It was originally though to be an
offshoot of the Eight Trigrams Society (Baguajiao), which had fomented rebellions against the Qing dynasty in N. China in 1813. The 8 Trigrams Society were closely related to the millennarian White Lotus tradition, and galvanized into revolt by their belief that the millennium had arrived, but that proved not to be the case, though it was unknown at the time.

Instead it was formed by the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi who attacked converts to Christianity, missionaries, and workers on foreign-controlled railways On 20 June a Boxer uprising occurred in Peking when the German minister of diplomacy Baron Clemens August Freiherr von Ketteler , was killed and other foreign legations besieged.  This gave great urgency to the situation as the World was outraged by the atrocity.

Shortly afterward, the Boxers turned on native Chinese Orthodox Christians, as puppets of a foreign power.  The 220 were commanded by the Boxers to renounce Christianity or be tortured; they did not.

 Instead two hundred and twenty-two members of the Peking Mission, led by their priest Metrophanes Tsi-Chung and his family, stood firm in their belief in the Everlasting Goodness of Our Lord;  that made them deemed worthy of a martyric death.

Apolytikion of Holy Martyrs of China in the Third Tone

Let us the flock of Christ with love and piety now glorify with hymns and truly joyous odes the faithful Martyrs of the truth who suffered for Christ in China. 

For having confessed the Faith, they all bravely went unto death as lambs which were sacrificed for our Shepherd and Master Christ.
 And therefore to the Martyrs we cry out: Remember us all, who sing your praises.

Kontakion of Holy Martyrs of China in the Fourth Tone

The divine Metrophanes, the martyred shepherd, 

with his great and faithful flock,
have hallowed China with their blood; 
wherefore we praise them with sacred hymns,
 for they were faithful to Christ even unto death.