New Korean-language book sheds light on history of Orthodoxy in Korean Peninsula

Seoul, South Korea, June 6, 2023

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The people of South Korea can now read about the history of the Orthodox Church in their country in their own language.

The Orthodox press of the Korean Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church recently published a new book, The Missionary Activity of the Russian Orthodox Church Among Koreans, by His Eminence Archbishop Theophan of Korea, dedicated to the activities of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Korea in the first half of the 20th century, the Korean Diocese reports.

Abp. Theophan, an ethnic Korean, has headed the diocese since 2019.

The diocese describes the book:

The book tells about the difficult twists and turns in the work of the Spiritual Mission in Korea, which from the very beginning of its existence has faced many difficulties associated with the changing political situation in both Russia and Korea. Tragic events in the history of the two countries, such as the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, the annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910, the revolution in Russia in 1917, as well as the division of Korea into North and South after the Second World War, followed by the civil war on the Korean Peninsula in 1950-1953, affected the life of the Ecclesiastical Mission in Korea in one way or another and eventually led to the fact that its work was discontinued.

The book also includes an article by Bishop Innokenty of Ussuri about the history of the spread of Orthodoxy among Koreans of the Ussuri region, where Russian borders North Korea, since the mid-19th century.

“Both parts of the book testify that Orthodoxy is not a religion alien to the Korean consciousness, but a faith with which Koreans have been familiar for a very long time.”

The diocese did a print run of 350 copies, which are available from online bookstores in South Korea.

In 2020, the Korean Metropolis of the Patriarchate of Constantinople published St. Silouan the Athonite by St. Sophrony of Essex in Korean braille.

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