Open main menu

Church of the Life-Giving Trinity (Pyongyang)

The Church of the Life-Giving Trinity (Korean평양정백사원; Hanja平壤貞栢寺院) is an Eastern Orthodox church in Jongbaek-dong, Rangrang District in Pyongyang, North Korea.[1] It is the first and only Orthodox church in the country, and one of only a handful of Christian churches there overall.

Church of the Life-Giving Trinity
Church of the Life-Giving Trinity in Pyongyang.jpg
Exterior of the church
Church of the Life-Giving Trinity is located in Pyongyang
Church of the Life-Giving Trinity
Church of the Life-Giving Trinity
Coordinates: 38°58′55″N 125°44′45″E / 38.981836°N 125.745733°E / 38.981836; 125.745733
LocationJongbaek-dong, Rangrang District, Pyongyang
CountryNorth Korea
DenominationEastern Orthodox
StatusParish church
DedicationHoly Trinity
Dedicated13 August 2006 (2006-08-13)
Relics heldSergius of Rakvere [ru]
Functional statusActive
Groundbreaking24 June 2003 (2003-06-24)
ParishTrinity Parish
DivisionPatriarchate of Moscow and All Russia
RectorFeodor Kim (Kim Hoe-il)
Deacon(s)John Ra (Ra Gwan-chol)



Kim Jong-il reportedly wanted to construct an Eastern Orthodox church in North Korea after a trip to the Russian Far East in 2002.[2] Kim had visited the St. Innocent of Irkutsk Church [ru] in Khabarovsk on 22 August and admired its architecture and Russian Orthodox rites.[3] A Russian diplomat asked Kim Jong-il whether there were any Orthodox believers in Pyongyang, and Kim replied that believers would be found.[4]

There were no Eastern Orthodox priests in the country, so the Korean Orthodox Committee [nl] established in 2002[5] contacted the Russian Orthodox Church.[6] The committee sent four students to the Moscow Ecclesiastical Seminary in April 2003.[3][1] All four were freshly baptized Christians who had formerly worked for the North Korean intelligence service. One of them, Feodor Kim (Kim Hoe-il),[7][3] said it was difficult for them to adopt the Orthodox faith. After the seminary, they were dispatched to Vladivostok to gain practical experience.[7]

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on 24 June 2003.[3] The church was dedicated on 13 August 2006 in the presence of Russian religious and political leaders.[8]


The church is presided over by rector Feodor Kim (Kim Hoe-il) and deacon John Ra (Ra Gwan-chol), graduates of the theological seminary in Moscow.[3]

The church has a parish of its own and is under the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia.[3] However, Korean Orthodox Church claims Eastern Orthodox Church in North Korea are part of Korean Orthodox Church.[9]

The shrine is consecrated with a relic of Sergius of Rakvere [ru]. The church also has a Holy Trinity Icon.[10]

Very few locals attend.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Do Kyung-ok; Kim Soo-Am; Han Dong-ho; Lee Keum-Soon; Hong Min (24 September 2015). White Paper on Human Rights in North Korea 2015. Korea Institute for National Unification(South Korea). p. 221. ISBN 978-89-8479-802-1.
  2. ^ Institute for Unification Education, Ministry of Unification (South Korea) (30 January 2015). Understanding North Korea: Totalitarian dictatorship, Highly centralized economies, Grand Socialist Family. 길잡이미디어. pp. 389–. GGKEY:Q35FXTAE44S.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Orthodox Church of the Live-Giving Trinity in Pyongyang". Embassy of Russia to the DPRK. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  4. ^ Lankov, Andrei (9 September 2013). "North Korea's irreconcilable relationship with Christianity". NK News.
  5. ^ "Pyongyang: Orthodox community subject to authority of Alexei II". Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  6. ^ Burdick, Eddie (26 May 2010). Three Days in the Hermit Kingdom: An American Visits North Korea. Jefferson: McFarland. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-7864-5653-6.
  7. ^ a b "Kim Jong-Il and Religion: North Korea Builds an Orthodox Church". Spiegel Online. 11 August 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  8. ^ Hoare 2012, p. xlix.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "The church of the Life-Giving Trinity consecrated in Pyongyang. The Russian Orthodox Church delegation on a visit to the KPDR". 14 August 2006. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  11. ^ Hoare 2012, p. 323.

Works citedEdit

External linksEdit