Chinese) was born in Beijing, China, in 1896. At the
age of seven he on his own volition and with his
parents 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 Beijing
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
honour of the Mother of God "Surety of Sinners", Fr.
Elias was assigned Dean there. In 1946 by Decree of
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:
Wen began his service to the Church at a young
age at the Russian Ecclessiastical Mission in
Beijing. 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 to, 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 eigth oldest man in the world. His mind remained
clear until his repose. He was born in the 19th
century, baptized in the 20th 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 21st
century. By God's mercy his repose took place a few
weeks after the Russian Church became one again.