Русский | Vladivostok eparchy/Patriarchia.RU | August 7, 2006
English translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas

Consecration of an Orthodox Temple in Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The rite of the great consecration of a church, which is to take place on August 13th, will be attended by a Russian delegation headed by Metropolitan KIRILL of Smolensk and Kaliningrad (Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate).

Part of the delegation will head for North Korea from Vladivostok on August 12th. This group will include: VENIAMIN, archbishop of Vladivostok and Primorsk; IONAFAN, Bishop of Abakan and Kyzylsk; clergy of the Vladivostok diocese; the episcopal choir of St. Nicholas Cathedral; representatives of the administration of Primorye territory and the legislative assembly of Primorski Krai.

Plans for the visit include meetings of the Russian Orthodox Church delegation with Pak Pong Ju, Premier of the Cabinet of the DPRK; with Paek Nam Sun, Minister of Foreign Affairs; and with the representative of Moon Jae Chul, head of the Committee on international Cultural Affairs.

The temple of the Lifegiving Trinity in Pyongyang was erected through the joint efforts of DPRK's Orthodox Committee, the Russian Orthodox Church and sponsors from both Korea and Russia, including Primorye. The church was constructed at the suggestion of Kim Chen Ir, Chairman of the State Defense Committee, who expressed the wish to build an Orthodox temple in Pyongyang as a monument of Russian-Korean friendship.

Four students from North Korea, who will serve in the new church of the Holy Trinity in Pyongyang, received a diploma upon the completion of the Moscow Theological Seminary. The Korean students were sent for training to Russia as part of an exchange between the Russian Orthodox Church and Korea's Union of Believers.

Holy Trinity temple in Pyongyang is the North Korea's first Orthodox temple in over half a century. The construction of the Russian Orthodox temple of the Holy Trinity began in June, 2003 in the Chonbek area of Pyongyang. During the blessing of the cornerstone, Russian clerics placed a capsule with memorial Gramotas (letters) in Church Slavonic, Russian and Korean. The major part of the construction costs, equivalent to about 30 million rubles, was allocated by the DPRK's government and collected by Orthodox Koreans.

The Russian spiritual mission in Korea was founded by decision of the ruling Holy Synod in 1897. It was active until 1949 when South Korean authorities expelled from the country the last head of the mission, Archimandrite Polykarp (Primaika), and confiscated the missions property and real estate. After the expulsion of Archimandrite Polykarp (Primaika) from South Korea, the missions activity on the Korean peninusula essentially stopped, although the Korean territory became part of the metropolia of Harbin and East-Asia, which by patriarchal ukase of 1946 was transformed into the East-Asian Excharchate, which existed until 1954. At present, in south Korea there are Orthodox temples under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople.