Vladivostok (AsiaNews) – A delegation of Russian Orthodox Christians, comprising religious and members of the hierarchical choir, arrived in the North Korean capital yesterday to celebrate Pentecost with the small local Orthodox community.
According to a statement released by Orthodox diocese of Vladivostok, “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 honour of the Life-Giving Trinity, celebrates its dedicatory feast”.
Divine Liturgy will be celebrated by Bishop Sergiy of Ussurisk together with Korean clergy, who will also serve on May 28, the Day of the Holy Spirit. The two deacons who constitute the entire Orthodox clergy in North Korea – Fr. Feyodor Kim and Fr. Ioann Ra – studied in Vladivostok.
The formation of North Korean clergy in Russia was permitted thanks to efforts by the North Korean Orthodox Commission, set up by Pyongyang in 2002. Some of its members met with the Russian delegation confirming their attempts to increase the religion’s presence in the country.
According to Fr. Dionisy Pozdnyayev, an Orthodox priest from the Moscow Patriarchate who administers to the foreign Orthodox faithful resident in the Capital, on the invitation of the government, the Commission is “a sign of the official recognition of Orthodox Christianity”.
The Russian spiritual mission to Korea was set out by the Russian Orthodox Synod of 1987. Its offices are based in Seoul, but parishes are found throughout the peninsula.