12/05/2003, 00.00
North Korea - South Korea
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A new protestant church and greenhouse under construction in Pyongyang

Seoul (AsiaNews/Ucan) – Protestants in South Korea and their brothers in the North have signed an agreement to build the first the city of Pyongyang's first Protestant church.

The Committee for the Mission and Unification of Korea, an organization linked to the Presbyterian Church, announced last Nov. 26 that it launched a project in union with the Federation of North Korean Christians to build a church and a greenhouse.

The Federation has made the land available; the Presbyterian Church will offer funding, construction materials and technical training for cultivating plants in the greenhouse. According to the project, the church should measure a total of 600 square meters, while the greenhouse should be 1320 square meters for the purpose of growing plants and vegetables. The whole project will cost around  0,000.                      

The pact was signed last Nov. 18. That same day the opening ceremony took place for the construction site. According to Park Kwang-sik, a Presbyterian representative present at the ceremony, the church in Pyongyang will serve both visitors and the North Korean Protestant Christians. The Presbyterian Church in Korea was born in Pyongyang. Since the division of the peninsula and the advent of the communist dictatorship, the Church's seat was moved to the south.

Timid steps toward freedom of religion have been facilitated in recent years by the miserable direction in which the country is moving. The already disastrous economic conditions have worsened due to weak harvests, floods and drought over the past 10 years.

The Presbyterian Church already constructed one greenhouse in Dec. 2001.

The Protestant Church has few pastors in South Korea, with only 2 churches to be found in the capital. However, there are 500 private homes where faithful gather together for prayer. In North Korea it is estimated that there are around 12,000 Protestant Christians. 

In North Korea there are approximately 3000 Catholics and only one place of worship. Since 1953 there have been no priests or nuns present in the country, as they were most likely all killed during times of persecution. 

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