Pyongyang, August 14, Interfax - Last Sunday, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR) Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad conducted the great blessing of the church of the Life-Giving Trinity in the capital of North Korea and ordained the first native Orthodox priest, Father John Ra, to celebrate divine services in that church.
'We are taking part in an historical event,' Metropolitan Kirill said to those attending the ceremony held in the open air at the entrance to the church on the occasion of the completion of its construction.
The DECR chairman remarked that 'Russian Orthodox people arrived in Korea over one hundred years ago. The life of the Orthodox Church has begun, and the two nations began to understand each other better.' The activity of the Russian Orthodox Church in the south of Korea ceased after World War II due to political reasons.
Metropolitan Kirill noted that the new church in Pyongyang had been built on the initiative of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il by 'the renowned Korean masters,' while the Russian Orthodox Church had 'assisted the construction with love and joy.' The Metropolitan underscored that the Korean priest would celebrate in the church to be opened for the 'Korean believers as well as for all Orthodox Christians residing in the city.' Thus it will become a 'remarkable symbol of the Russian-Korean friendship and help many people find the beauty of Orthodoxy.'