Above: Nicholas Kasatkin
Image in the Public Domain
NICHOLAS KASATKIN (AUGUST 13, 1836-FEBRUARY 16, 1912)
Orthodox Archbishop of All Japan
Nicholas Kasatkin entered the world on August 13, 1836 (Gregorian Calendar) in the Smolensk prefecture of the Russian Empire, now the Russian Federation. Perhaps it was natural that Kasatkin served God via the Russian Orthodox Church. His father, Dimitry, was a deacon. Young Kasatkin entered the theological seminary at St. Petersburg in 1857 and became a monk, deacon, and priest three years later.
In 1861 Nicholas Kasatkin arrived in Japan, having volunteered to become a missionary there. He began his work at the Russian consulate at Hakodate, where he mastered the Japanese language and converted three people. As his work continued during the ensuing decades, Kasatkin became a bishop in 1880 and Archbishop of All Japan in 1907. Part of his missionary work entailed translating the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament into Japanese.
The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 created diplomatic difficulty to Bishop Kasatkin. He negotiated this political minefield by avoiding public prayers during that war, for the liturgy required him to pray for Tsar Nicholas II and the Russian Imperial government. Kasatkin also supported his Japanese flock and tended to the spiritual needs of Russian prisoners of war.
Archbishop Kasatkin died on February 16, 1912 (Gregorian Calendar). His work, which began with three converts, has blossomed into the Japanese Orthodox Church, with about 25,000 adherents.
Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church, including your servant Nicholas Kasatkin. May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith, so that we may serve and confess your name before the world, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35
1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3;14-21
–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006)
Revised on November 27, 2016