Korea: How a Nation Becomes Orthodox



Korea: How a Nation Becomes Orthodox

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church gathered yesterday under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia at Moscow’s Danilov Monastery. Among the Synod’s work was the appointment of hierarchs for several vacant dioceses, according to the report published on the official site of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The hierarchs resolved to appoint His Eminence Archbishop Theophan of Kyzyl and Tuva as the ruling hierarch of the newly-established Korean Diocese of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast Asia. He is the first bishop of the Orthodox Church worldwide of Korean ancestry.

The Exarchate was established on December 28, with four dioceses created within it on February 27: the Dioceses of Singapore, Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines-Vietnam.

Abp. Theophan is still overseeing the Kyzyl Diocese as its temporary administrator.


Alexei Ilarionovich Kim was born on January 19, 1976 on Sakhalin Island in the Sea of Okhotsk. He was baptized in May 1995 and began singing in church choirs.

On August 14, 1997 he was tonsured into monasticism as Theophan, in honor of St. Theophan the Confessor, the Bishop of Nicea. He was ordained as a hierodeacon three days later and as a hieromonk another two days later, serving in the Resurrection Cathedral in Yuzhno-Sakhalink. In 1998, he entered the Smolensk Seminary and was assigned as a priest of the Diocese of Abakan and Kyzyl in central Siberia.

He graduated from the seminary in 2000 and was assigned to serve a Russian-speaking community in the Republic of Korea. He was named as an honorary citizen of Seoul in May 2006. He was elevated to the rank of igumen in June 2006.

In 2010 and 2011 he continued his studies at the Moscow Theological Academy.

On October 6, 2011, he was elected by the Russian Holy Synod to rule the newly-established Diocese of Kyzyl and Tuva and was consecrated on October 30. He was consecrated by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and seven other bishops of the Russian Church and His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrose of Korea of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

He was elevated to the rank of archbishop on December 4, 2017.



How a Nation Becomes Orthodox


Korea: The touching conversion story of an elderly Korean woman from Buddhism to Orthodoxy




Korea: The touching conversion story of

an elderly Korean woman from Buddhism to Orthodoxy

“This grandma case was very touching. She lives in Seoul, close to her other children. One of her sons and his family who live in the village Polang-Ree converted to Orthodoxy a long time ago. He had announced this to his mother, trying to motivate her to convert to Christianity as well. But as she was an elderly woman, she couldn’t understand much of what they were telling her. Until, one day, one of her son’s daughters, who worked in some private business doing very hard work all week, moved to Seoul. Every Saturday she would say:

-Granny, I’m going to Church after work for my singing rehearsal and the Vespers.

And on Sundays, very early in the morning:

-Granny, I have to go. I’m teaching the morning group of Sunday School. Then, there’s Holy Liturgy. Then, our youth congregation. We’re going to have lunch all together. Don’t worry that I’ll be back in the afternoon.

-Don’t you get too tired my child?

-No, granny. This relieves me from all tiredness and troubles of the week. It gives me strength, joy… It revives me. Because I find Christ in Church , granny, the real God. I receive Him in my soul.

And her granddaughter shone all over. She was so much different from all other girls her age grandma knew.

“So these were my sons words I could not understand”, she was thinking…

Months went by. Every Sunday her granddaughter looked just as happy on the outside as well as in her heart each time she returned from the Church. The same thoughts were on granny’s mind.

In the end she made her decision:

-You said that you teach children about Christ. Can you teach me as well , who is He who gives you so much happiness?

The granddaughter jumped for joy! She’d been praying all this time in secret for this blessed moment to come for her beloved granny. Little by little with patience and love she started catechizing her. What helped her most was her own life’s good example.

Granny started coming to Church. Sunday after Sunday , her adaptation to this new experience was remarkable:

-I want to be baptized before I die…

This was her desire.

She even attended some special classes.

-I believe and I love Christ.

And when the preparation for her Holy Baptism started, she timidly asked:

-Can I be given my granddaughter’s name, who led me to this Paradise?

“Come and see” is addressed to the souls of the Korean people who never got to know Christ, our Saviour, in such ways of life testimony. In the tension of their life struggles, material needs or goals of their lives, beaten by insecurities, by despair, the most convincing invitation to His Kingdom is a silent testimony of a genuinely Christian life”.