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ROC Parishes in South Korea help Russian-speaking people preserve their identity

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ROC Parishes in South Korea help Russian-speaking people preserve their identity


24.05.2019

Photo credit: pravoslavie.ru

The formation of Korean Diocese of Russian Orthodox Church, established in February 2019, was dictated by the growing number of Russian-speaking people in South Korea and the cessation of the Eucharistic communion of Russian Orthodox Church with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Bishop of Kyzyl and Tyva Feofan (Kim), the ruling bishop of the Korean Diocese, spoke about this in his interview with Pravoslavie.ru website. 

According to the bishop, about 20 thousand compatriots live in South Korea today. In addition, about 300 thousand Russian tourists visit the country annually. For many, the parishes of Russian Orthodox Church are not only places for worship, but also centers where you can socialize, get help, maintain national traditions and celebrate holidays. Temples help people preserve their cultural identity in many ways. 

The emergence of Korean Diocese and the opening of parishes of Russian Orthodox Church in the region was a result of the termination of the Eucharistic communion of Russian Orthodox Church with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which caused a church split in Ukraine. The opening of the parishes of Russian Orthodox Church is necessary so that compatriots have an opportunity to attend Orthodox churches. 

Currently, services are being held in a branch opened in a rented premises in Seoul. At Easter, more than 100 people, who came to South Korea from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the United States and other countries, visited the service. According to Bishop Feofan, a permanent staff of priests is currently being formed. It includes citizens of South Korea. One of them is already serving, the other one is completing his studies at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. 

Korean Diocese also maintains contact with the Orthodox Trinity Church, opened in 2006 in the North Korean capital Pyongyang. Priests who studied in theological schools of Russia serve in it. 

Korean Diocese was established as part of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast Asia at a meeting of the Holy Synod of Russian Orthodox Church. According to Bishop Feofan, the goal of the diocese is to resume pastoral and missionary activities in the region, which Russian Church began here more than a century and a half ago. The priest told that as early as the middle of the 19th century, Koreans who had migrated to the South Ussurian region heard the Orthodox preachers and accepted the new faith "in whole villages”.

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