(Pravoslavie.ru) - Hierodeacon Nikolai (Ono) comes from an old family of priests of the Japanese Orthodox Church. His great-great grandfather’s name—Priest John Ono—is often mentioned in the diaries of St1. Nicholas of Japan. We talk with Fr. Nikolai about his family and Orthodox churches of Japan and Russia.Complete article here.
Fr. Nikolai, please tell us about your family.
On my father’s side, my family was Samurai. They lived in the city of Sendai in northeast Japan. My great-great grandfather, Ono Syogoro Sigenobu, was the last Samurai in our family. He was baptized with the name of John by St. Nicholas of Japan in 1871 and became one of the first Christians in the Japanese land. Later, John Ono was ordained a priest, was engaged in missionary work, and was the dean of the church in the city of Osaka. My great grandfather and grandfather likewise received baptism and were parishioners of the church in Kyoto.
My father is also called John. Since there are no Orthodox educational institutions with government licensing, he studied in the theological department of a Protestant university in Kyoto, and after graduating he entered the Orthodox Ecclesiastical Seminary in Tokyo. After graduating from the seminary my father was ordained a deacon, then in 1990 to the rank of priest, and served in the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Tokyo, which is known as “Nikolai-do.” After that he was sent to the Church of the Annunciation in Kyoto (the cathedral of the Western Japan Eparchy), where he served as dean for about 20 years. After Kyoto, my father was once again summoned to serve in the Tokyo cathedral, where he carries out his obedience to this day.
Have any old Orthodox holy items been preserved in your family?
We have a photograph of St. Nicholas of Japan with his autograph, which the holy bishop himself gave to my great-great grandfather as a present...