By Thanos Chrysanthopoulos
In the context of a campaign, Romfea.news met the delegation of National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK), consisting of people of different denominations, whose principal aim is to promote peace in the Korean peninsula. The delegation has already visited Moscow and Constantinople in order to highlight their objectives and sought further collaboration and promotion. Athens is the last place they visit before returning to Seoul.
The Director of NCCK, Reverend Shin Seung Min, and Rev. Fr. Lim Jong Hun (Antonios), outlined their itinerary from Moscow to Constantinople. More specifically, the delegation held a meeting with representatives from the Russian Reformed Church Association and the two sides discussed issues of common interest. Moreover, the delegation held a meeting with members of the State Duma. There they discussed financial cooperation between North and South Korea, such as Trans-Siberian Railway, because it is a way of enhancing a peaceful coexistence and promoting the oneness in Korean peninsula.
Afterwards, the delegation travelled to Constantinople where they held an audience with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The members of the delegation affirmed that the Ecumenical patriarch was well informed on the current situation in Korea.
In an announcement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, “It takes solidarity and love. Germany used to be divided, but fortunately reunited. Today, Korea, Cyprus and perhaps other parts of the world remain divided. Our prayer is to unite peoples, nations, so that creative cooperation, unity and peace prevail.”
Father Antonios, the representative of the Orthodox Church in Korea, reaffirmed the statement of the Ecumenical Patriarch regarding the interventions of the Orthodox Church of Russia attempting a division of the Orthodox flock in Korea. More specifically, in a multi-ethnic and multicultural Orthodox community, the Orthodox Church of Russia has established one Orthodox parish and tries to attract the Russia Orthodox.
In his announcement, the Ecumenical Patriarch said, “Unfortunately, the sister Orthodox Church of Russia is also causing problems in Korea and is trying to divide the Orthodox flock. It created a separate Orthodox parish, the one of the Resurrection of the Lord, and its representatives in Seoul call and try to bring over Orthodox brothers or catechumens (indoctrinated) in Orthodoxy, dividing the flock of the Metropolis of Korea. This is very sad, it is a great temptation.”
Father Antonios said that it was a sad incident for the Korean Orthodox Community. Bartholomew wished the NCCK Korean delegation’s trip to promote the message of peaceful coexistence in the Korean peninsula to be successful.
Then the delegation visited the Halki seminary in order to learn more about the ecumenical spirituality of reconciliation and peace in the Orthodox Church. The members of the delegation also held a meeting with Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, Vice-moderator of the WCC Central Committee.
In Greece, the delegation visited two monasteries in Meteora and met Metropolitan Theoklitos of Meteora who prayed for the peace in the Korean peninsula. Then the delegation paid a visit to “Apostoli” NGO. Father Antonios said that they were deeply moved for their devotion and efforts to promote peace and solidarity.
At the seat of the Archdiocese of Athens, Bishop Symeon of Thespies warmly welcomed the members of the delegation. Bishop Symeon promised that he would be the one who will inform the other Churches in Athens and all over Greece about the situation in Korea. The Special Secretary for Religious and Cultural Diplomacy of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Efstathios C. Liantis, received the delegation order that the representatives could brief him on their purpose and aims. The two sides discussed the potential support of Greek government and cooperation in the EU.
Finally, the delegation informed Romfea.news about the history of the NCCK, the progress made so far, and their future aims and hopes. The Director of NCCK, Reverend Shin Seung Min stressed that the peace-building process is based on national unity, cooperation, communication, national independence and peace.