First Orthodox Services Ever in Kumgangsan, North Korea

Bishop Innokenty of Ussuri, a vicar of the Vladivostok diocese, visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from October 9 through 16 at the invitation of the DPRK Orthodox Committee and the Orthodox parish in Pyongyang. The visit was timed to the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and the DPRK.

During the last days of his visit, Bishop Innokenty, accompanied by archpriest Alexiy Sabansky, priests of the Pyongyang parish and members of the delegation from the Vladivostok diocese, visited the city of Wonsan and Kimgansan (Diamond Mountains). The guests visited places of interest and walked to the waterfalls in the mountains. Prayer service was celebrated at the sightseeing platform in honour of the Intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God. Orthodox service was celebrated here for the first time in the history of the presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in the DRRK.

On October 12 and 13, Bishop Innokenty officiated at the All-Night Vigil and the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the Trinity church in Pyongyang together with archpriest Aleksiy Sabansky and the two Korean priests.

Ambassador Alexander Timonin of the Russian Federation to the DRRK, chairman of the DPRK Orthodox Committee, Kim Chi Son, and members of the diplomatic representation of Russia.

The delegation of the Vladivostok diocese visited the memorial cemetery of Pyongyang. Bishop Innokenty celebrated requiem litiya for the Russian compatriots, website of the Vladivostok diocese reports.

The parish of the Life-Giving Trinity in Pyongyang, consecrated in 2006, is under canonical jurisdiction of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. Upon his blessing, the Vladivostok diocese helps Orthodox priests in Korea with their ministry.



First Orthodox Services Ever in Kumgangsan, North Korea


  1. Let’s not rejoice too quickly about this historic event. Having spoken with at least one (NK) North Korea government-backed operative via YouTube, I can vouch that this is nothing more than an empty public spectacle meant to gainsay ordinary Western folks into thinking that NK is open-minded and accepting of Western ideals and values. Believe me when I tell you that they’re more atheistically communist than the former USSR. Take note how there are no ordinary NK citizens in the midst of the celebration. That’s because the NK government purposefully separates its people from any contact with visiting foreigners. If one were to visit Pyongyang today, one would see at least 1 Orthodox temple, 1 Roman Catholic church, and several other singular temples/churches from one of the Protestant traditions. These are not meant for ordinary NK folks, but for Western visitors so that they’ll feel at home while visiting. This is not evangelization by any stretch of the imagination, nor does it signal NK’s possibly turning away from Communism towards a more democratic-like state of affairs. All that this really is, as far as the NK government’s allowing this historic event to take place is concerned, is purely an act of virtue signaling.

  2. Fr. John says:

    I don’t think anyone thinks it was anything else, but we rejoice that the Divine Liturgy now has begun, and may it never cease to be celebrated until the end of the world. Let’s rejoice that the Holy Spirit has in deed, even in a little way, advanced once again into Godless territory. We know how that always ends up.

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