Embassy of Russia to the DPRK

Orthodox Church of the Live-Giving Trinity in Pyongyang

Orthodox Church in PyongyangThe decision to build the first Orthodox Church in the DPRK was made personally by its leader Kim Jong Il on August 22, 2002, after his visit to the Church of St. Innocent Innokentiy of Irkutsk in Khabarovsk in the course of his trip to Russian Far-East.

The foundation stone laying ceremony was held by Archbishop Clement of Kaluga and Borovsk, First Deputy Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, on June 24, 2003. The same year the Russian Orthodox Church accepted four students from DPRK to study at the Moscow Ecclesiastical Seminary (MES). With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, Bishop Mark of Yegorievsk ordained the students of the Seminary Feodor (Kim Hoe Il, now he is a rector of the Church) and John (Ra Gwan Chol) to deacons at the Life-Giving Trinity Church in Khoroshevo, Moscow, on May 21 and 22, 2005.

Chairman of the Korean Orthodox Committee Ho Il Jin (George), sent a request to Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia in June, 2006, on admission of the community of the almost constructed Church of the Life-Giving Trinity to be received into the Russian Orthodox Church. In July the same year the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate made a decision to establish a parish of the Trinity Church in Pyongyang in the canonical jurisdiction of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolite Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad (now Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia), Archbishop Veniamin of Vladivostok and Primorye, Bishop Ionafan of Abakan and Kyzyl and Bishop Mark of Yegorievsk dedicated the Church on August 13, 2006. In the days of the visit Metropolite Kirill ordained the MES deacons Feodor Kim and John Ra to the priests.

The two-headed building of the Church was built by Korean workers in two years at the expense of the DPRK budget. Bells, icons and church utensils were donated by the Russian Orthodox Church. The Administration of Maritime Territory and some Russian businessmen sent donations for the construction of the Church also. Employees of the Russian Embassy to the DPRK helped in the construction of the church as well.

Regular services at the Trinity Church are held every Saturday (the Night Service) and every Sunday (the Divine Liturgy). As a rule, big part of Russian citizens in Pyongyang presents at holiday celebrations. Russian Embassy traditionally invites heads and personnel of the diplomatic missions and international organizations to the DPRK to participate services on the biggest Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter Holiday.

Call to the Trinity Church is an essential part of the visits of all-level Russian delegations to the DPRK. Foreign delegations and tourists also try to visit the church too.

Vladivostok Eparchy that gives guidance to the parish of the Trinity Church regularly sends delegations on the biggest holidays so that Russian priests could assist Korean clergymen to celebrate divine services. In addition joint memorial services are held in the Cemetery of Soviet Soldiers and Civilians in Sadon district of Pyongyang, where stone-made orthodox cross was erected on the initiative of the Embassy.

On August, 2011, the Russian Orthodox Church delegation led by Archbishop Mark of Yegorievsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for institutions abroad, visited Pyongyang to participate in celebrations marking the 5th anniversary of the consecration of the Trinity Church. The delegation also included Archpriest Igor Zuev, rector of the Church of St. Nicholas in Moscow, who had been a rector of the Church of St. Innocent of Irkutsk, when it was visited by Kim Jong Il in August, 2002.

The Embassy provides all possible assistance to activities of the Trinity Church and does it utmost to develop bilateral ties between our countries in religious sphere.