Русский | RIA Novosti/Sedmitza.Ru | May 25, 2007
English Translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas

Orthodox Christian delegation from Primorye arrived in Pyongyang for Pentecost

VLADIVOSTOK. A delegation of Orthodox Christians from Vladivostok in the Primorye region arrived in Pyongyang by plane to celebrate Pentecost.

As reported on Friday by the press service of the Vladivostok diocese, the delegation is comprised of clergy and members of the hierarchical choir.

"The visit to the capital of North Korea coincides with the celebration of Pentecost on May 27. On this day, the first Orthodox temple, which was opened in Pyongyang in August 2006 and consecrated in honor of the Life-Giving Trinity, celebrates its dedicatory feast", according to the press service.

Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Sergiy of Ussurisk together with Korean clergy, who will also serve on May 28, the Day of the Holy Spirit.

During its stay, the delegation of the faithful will meet with the North Korea's Orthodox Committee and with Russian diplomats who facilitate the Russian Church's activity in Pyongyang.

The Russian Spiritual Mission in Korea was established by the governing Holy Synod in 1897. It was located in Seoul; its offices and parishes were throughout Korea.

The Mission continued until 1949, when the South Korean authorities expelled from the country the last leader of the Orthodox clergy. Property and land of the Russian Spiritual Mission were seized, and the Church’s activity on the Korean peninsula was stopped.

The idea of building an Orthodox temple in Pyongyang was expressed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during his visit to Russia in 2002, after he visited an Orthodox temple in Khabarovsk.

In February 2003, a delegation from the Society of Believers of North Korea visited Moscow, and the Orthodox Committee was formed from among its members. In the spring of that year four seminary students from N. Korea enrolled in Moscow Theological Seminary.

In June 2003, Archbishop Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk blessed the cornerstone of an Orthodox temple in Pyongyang. On August 13, 2006 Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad consecrated the temple.