Before the Russian Revolution Siam (now Thailand) was one of the few still uncolonized, sovereign countries of the world. Therefore, as with Tibet and Ethiopia, links between it and the Orthodox Empire were strong. Today, as if to make up for the historical injustice of the overthrow of the Empire in 1917 and the interruption of close relations between the two countries, Orthodoxy is spreading there, with the Russian Orthodox mission now entering its sixteenth year.
On Sunday, the feast of the New Martyrs and Confessors, the sixth Orthodox church to be built in Thailand, dedicated to the Royal Martyrs, was solemnly consecrated in Hua Hin by Archbishop Theophylact. It is situated 120 miles from Bangkok near the summer palace of the Thai Royal Family, which was built between 1911 and 1915 by the heir to the Thai throne, the Minister of Defence, Prince Chakrapong. He had spent his childhood and youth in Russia, received his education at the Military Academy and was considered to be a ward of Tsar Nicholas II, who was a friend of his father King Chulalongkorn.
This week Orthodox life in Thailand will be marked by events surrounding two more churches. On Tuesday Archbishop Theophylact will lay the foundations of St Vladimir’s church in Chiangmay and on Thursday he will consecrate the church of St Sergius on the island of Chang. All the churches in Thailand have been built on the donations of parishioners.