The [[priest]] '''Maxim
Leontev''' of the [[Church of Russia|Russian Orthodox Church]] was the first Orthodox [[clergy]]man to lead a group of Orthodox Christians in Beijing, China. He arrived in Beijing in 1685 with a group of Russian Cossacks and deserters, referred to as Albazenes, who came into the service of the Chinese emperor after Fort Albazin, on the Amur River, was conquered by the Chinese.
As the Russian cossacks advanced east through Siberia in the seventeenth century a number of forts and settlements were formed near the Chinese border. One of these was the fort/town of Albazin near the confluence of the River Albazina with the Amur River. The town included stores and a [[church]], to which Fr. Maxim was assigned. Albazin proved to be a point of friction between the Cossacks and the Manchu government of China due to adventuresome cossacks. During the summer of 1685, the Chinese besieged Albazin and offered the Albazin inhabitants the option of surrender, which was refused. The subsequent Chinese attack made a shambles of the town. In surrender talks that followed a group of some 25 to 45 cossacks with some women and children accepting the Chinese offer to serve the Chinese emperor. Fr. Maxim
Leontev was among this group that then traveled to and settled in Beijing.