CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 April 2019

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High level Orthodox visit to China and North and South Korea

MOSCOW (AsiaNews):  Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, the second most important cleric in the Russian Orthodox Church after Patriarch Kirill, visited Beijing, China, from November 23 to 24 before travelling to North and South Korea. 
 
He celebrated a Divine Liturgy (Eucharistic service) in the Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God, in the Russian embassy, together with church rector, Hieromonk Innokenty Kolesnikov and Archbishop Sergey Chashin of Solnechnogorsk, administrative secretary of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.
 
In his homily, the metropolitan mentioned that China is “sacred for us, where the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission used to be, and where 222 Chinese martyrs had suffered… We pray to the martyrs and confessors of this land so that the Lord may enlighten it with the light of Christ’s faith. We pray that the Orthodox faith may be preserved in this land.”
 
He also noted the concerns and efforts of the patriarchate in helping the autonomous Chinese Orthodox Church in its journey in the atheist state.
 
The Russian delegation then left for Seoul, where it visited the local Orthodox community before heading to Pyongyang, where it delivered a gift from Patriarch Kirill to North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un. Russia and North Korea are marking 70 years of diplomatic relations this year, and the visit is part of the celebrations.
 
Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated a Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Life-giving Trinity together with Father Feodor Kim, dean of the church, and other priests serving Russian Orthodox Churches in the Far East which send missions to China, Korea and Japan.
 
Prayers were offered for servant of God, Andrei Karlov, ambassador and “hero of Russia,” who killed by an Islamic terrorist in 2016 in Ankara, Turkey.
 
Karlov worked in North Korea from 2001 to 2006, and had made a special effort to build a Russian Orthodox church in Pyongyang, which was later consecrated in 2006 by Patriarch Kirill, then head of the Patriarchate’s Foreign Relations Department, a post now held by Hilarion.
 
The parish of Pyongyang was officially registered with the North Korean government following negotiations that lasted a few years in which Russian diplomats supported the patriarchate.
 
Metropolitan Hilarion noted that “The Lord has called everyone to his Church to share the treasures of the spirit with our neighbours. It is therefore no coincidence that this magnificent church is located in the centre of Pyongyang… Its doors are always open to those who want to receive the Holy Communion and be together with the Lord. This church is a true miracle, which blesses those who are present and those who are outside.”
 
After his visit to North Korea, the metropolitan made another stopover in Beijing where he met Russian ambassador, Andrey Denisov, to look at joint efforts being made with the Russian government in support of the autonomous Chinese Orthodox Church.

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