The Japanese Orthodox Church is an autonomous church of Eastern Orthodoxy under the omophorion of the Russian Orthodox Church.
St. Nicholas of Japan (baptized as Ivan Dmitrievich Kasatkin) brought Eastern Orthodoxy to Japan in the 19th century. In 1861 he was sent by the Russian Orthodox Church to Hakodate, Hokkaido as a priest to a chapel of the Russian Consulate.
Though the contemporary Shogun’s government prohibited the Japanese conversion to Christianity, soon some neighbors who frequently visited the chapel converted in 1864 —Nikolai’s first three converts in Japan. While they were his first converts in Japan, they were not the first Japanese to do so—some Japanese who had settled in Russia had converted to Orthodoxy.
In 1970 Nikolai Kasatkin was glorified by the Patriarch of Moscow and is recognized as St. Nicholas, Apostle to Japan. His commemoration day is February 16
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In 2000 the Russian Orthodox Church canonized Bishop Andronic Nikolsky as a Saint and Martyr who was appointed to the first Bishop of Kyoto and later martyred as the archbishop of Perm during the Russian Revolution.
In 2005, the first Orthodox monastery (male) of Japanese Autonomous Orthodox Church was opened in Tokyo near Holy Resurrection Cathedral (Nikolai-do). The abbot of the monastery is hieromonk Gerasimus (Shevtsov), who came from Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra.
As of 2007, the leader of Japanese Orthodox Church is Daniel (Nushiro), Metropolitan of all Japan and Archbishop of Tokyo, elevated to his seat in 2000. It is estimated that the Church has some 25,000 adherents today.