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Ecumenical Patriarch: Pray to unite divided peoples and make peace in the world

It is the desire of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to unite divided peoples and nations, to engage in creative cooperation and to make peace in the world, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew pointed out today, Saturday, June 29, at the Phanar, to a large delegation of the National Council of Churches of Korea (NCCK), headed by Pastor Dr. Lee Hong-Jung. His All-Holiness appealed to all the Orthodox in the world to intensify their prayers for peace in the Korean peninsula and the reunification of North and South Korea. “Particularly,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew emphasized, “I ask this from the young people all over the world, so that the world in which they and their children live will be peaceful and human, much more than it is today.”

“It was very moving when we went to the border separating North and South Korea,” said His All-Holiness, referring to the visit he made to South Korea last December. “There, gazing at the North Korean lands, I prayed with all my heart for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula. That’s where we prayed the Trisagion for the victims of the Korean War. For all the victims of the war without exception. And I keep as a memento a piece of the wire that separates the two countries, which was given to me. As you will know, an attempt was made to visit North Korea when I was in Seoul. This was not possible that time. If I were going, I would tell President Kim Jong-un how much all the world wants peace and the reunification of the Korean Peninsula, and I would encourage him to continue the efforts currently being made with the President of the United States for an agreement and reconciliation, and the reunification of your country, which I know how much you want. The world does not need either North Korea’s nuclear power or America’s sanctions.

“It takes solidarity and love. We had divided Germany, which fortunately reunited. Today, Korea, Cyprus and perhaps other parts of the world remain divided. Our prayer is to unite peoples and nations, so that there is creative cooperation, unity and peace.”

His All-Holiness, in his speech, also referred to the multidimensional spiritual and social work of the Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Korea and its head, Metropolitan Ambrose, “who,” he said, “surrounds all with much love, trust and appreciation.

“We know he is doing a great spiritual work, continuing the work done by Metropolitan Sotirios for thirty years,” he said characteristically, adding:

“Unfortunately, as you probably know, our sister Orthodox Church of Russia is also causing problems in Korea and trying to divide the Orthodox flock. It created a separate Orthodox parish of the Resurrection of the Lord, and its representatives in Seoul reach out to and try to attract and pull Orthodox brothers or clergy into Russian Orthodoxy, dividing the flock of the Metropolis of Korea. This is very sad, it is a great temptation. From Archbishop Theophanes, who had been ministering to Seoul as a priest under Metropolitan Ambrosios, we were expecting otherwise and more grateful support for our work. Metropolitan Ambrose issued detailed circulars condemning what the Russians are doing, and placing things on their right and true basis. We, as the Ecumenical Patriarchate, thank our Korean brothers for showing understanding and respect to the Orthodox order and to the original position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate within the entire Orthodox Church. In the presence of the dear General Secretary, we thank all members of the NCCK for their cooperation with our Orthodox diocese in Korea.”

Concluding his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed the hope the NCCK Korean delegation’s trip to promote the message of peaceful coexistence on the Korean peninsula would be successful. “The desire I expressed for peace on the Korean peninsula is certainly the desire and the prayer of the three hundred million Orthodox Christians around the world.”

Afterward, Fr. Antonios from the Korean delegation, a cleric of the Metropolis of Korea, spoke, as well as the General Secretary of the NCCK, Dr. Lee Hong-Jung.

Earlier, the Korean Delegation attended the Divine Liturgy, which took place at the all-holy Patriarchal church, to commemorate the sacred memory of the holy apostles Peter and Paul. His All-Holiness was the celebrant.

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