Last week on January 7, believers in the Eastern Orthodox faith in Yining, Xinjiang were given permission to celebrate the Nativity Feast (ie., the Christmas of the Orthodox calendar) in the St Nicholas Church of Ghulja with priests specially flown in from Kazakhstan for the occasion. Destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the church was rebuilt by the local government in 2000 in a different location (no doubt a far cry from its former glory). This was the first public service conducted in the church since the building was consecrated in March 2003. While China has its own state-approved churches for Protestants and Catholics, the Orthodox faith is not officially recognised by the government here, even though Orthodox believers are now given more freedom than before to practise their faith. The Orthodox church officially recognises 222 Albazinians (one of several groups of Chinese people of Russian descent) who died during the Boxer Rebellion as “Holy Martyrs of China” (not to be confused with the 120 “Martyr Saints of China” canonised by the Catholic Church). The official website of the Orthodox Fellowship of All Saints of China has collated some interesting accounts of the Holy Martyrs here.