Two priests, ordained last August by the North Korean Orthodox Church, visited Vladivostok to learn about Lenten celebrations and the Easter Liturgy. The links between the two Churches remains, both under the authority of Alexi II.
Vladivostok (AsiaNews) – At the beginning of Lent North Korean Orthodox priests visited the Russian city of Vladivostok, to attend the Cathedral of St Nicolas and learn the seasons liturgy and Easter celebrations. The decision to journey to the Siberian city was born of the fact that the two, who were ordained priests in the only Orthodox Church in the North Korean capital, the Holy Trinity, received their formation in Vladivostok.
With the two – Fr. Feyodor Kim and Fr. Ioann Ra – was Kim En Chang, a graduate from the Gnesiny music school, who also studied scared music in Vladivostok. The formation of North Korean clergy in Russia was granted thanks to the efforts of the North Korean Orthodox Commission, set up in Pyongyang in 2002.
According to Fr. Dionisy Pozdnyayev, a Russian Orthodox priest from the Moscow Patriarchate invited by the North Korean government to minister to foreign nationals in the North Korean capital, the creation of an Orthodox Committee "marks the official recognition of Orthodoxy".
During the Russian “workshop”, ties between the two Churches were strengthened – both fall under the authority of the Patriarch of the Russias Alexi II – and it was confirmed that a Russian priest and choir have been sent top take part in the Korean Easter celebrations.
By the early 1900's some 10,000 Koreans converted to Orthodoxy as a result of Russian missioners' work in cities like Seoul (South Korea) and Wonsan (North Korea) and several villages. However, Japanese colonial rule and the Stalinist regime in the north cut short the process of evangelisation.
Missionary activity did start again in South Korea where there are now four Orthodox churches
The Vladivostok's delegation is not the first on Russian ground: four North Koreans are studying at the Moscow Patriarchate's Theological Seminary. Two Russian students from the Moscow Theological Academy are also currently studying the Korean language and culture at Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung University.