In Memoriam: Protopresbyter Elias Wen

Archpriest Peter PEREKRESTOV

Protopresbyter Elias Wen was born in Peking, China, in 1896. At the age of seven he, on his own volition and with his parentsí permission, was baptized into the Holy Orthodox Church. From 1905 to 1914, he studied at the Mission school, and from 1915 to 1918, at the Peking Theological Seminary. In 1931, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Simon and assigned to the Annunciation Church in Shanghai. After completion of the new Shanghai cathedral in honor of the Mother of God "Surety of Sinners", Fr. Elias was assigned Dean there. In 1946, by Decree of Archbishop John (Maximovitch), he was made Rector of the cathedral.

Soon afterwards, because of the communists, Fr. Elias was forced to flee China. He ended up in Hong Kong, where he founded the Resurrection parish. Fr. Elias did a great deal in Hong Kong to help the numerous Russian emigres. In 1957, Fr. Elias made his final move, to the US, where he was assigned to the Holy Virgin Cathedral "The Joy of All Who Sorrow" in San Francisco. .

Before his departure from Hong Kong, he received St. John's blessing (Maximovitch). St. John characterized Fr. Elias as follows:

"Archpriest Elias Wen began his service to the Church at a young age at the Russian Ecclessiastical Mission in Peking. It is with zeal and diligence that he continued his service at all levels in Shanghai. Faithfulness, steadfastness and a blameless life characterized Father Elias' life as a priest. It is with these fine qualities that he ministered to the Hong Kong community in the course of the last eight years."

In 1981, by Decree of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Father Elias was elevated to the rank of Protopresbyter.

In 1996, Father Elias' 100th birthday was marked by the Cathedral parish. Many people remarked how Father Elias was able, in very difficult circumstances, to bring up seven children and provide them with an education. The results of his labors were evident: his children surrounded him with respect, love and care.

After 1996, it became difficult for Father Elias to serve. He continued to bring joy and comfort to the parishioners by attending services, praying in the altar and receiving Christ's Holy Gifts.

At the end of 2000, he moved to his son Michaels' home and was unable to attend services any longer. He was communed on a regular basis at home.

On Saturday, June 9, 2007, Protopresbyter Elias Wen fell asleep in the Lord at the age of 110. He was the eighth oldest man in the world. His mind remained clear until his repose. He was born in the XIX century, baptized in the XX century when the Russian Church was undivided. He survived the division in the Russian Church and the takeover of his Homeland by communists and reposed in the XXI century. By God's mercy his repose took place a few weeks after the Russian Church became one again.

San Francisco

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