Anglican Church of Korea
||This article is incomplete. (October 2014)|
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|The Anglican Church of Korea|
|Primate||Most Reverend Paul Geun Sang Kim, Bishop of Seoul, Archbishop of Korea|
|Territory||Korea (North Korea and South Korea)|
|Anglican Church of Korea|
|Revised Romanization||Daehan Seonggonghoe|
The Anglican Church of Korea is the province of the Anglican Communion in North and South Korea. Founded in 1889, it has over 120 parish and mission churches with a total membership of roughly 65,000 people.
Birth of the Anglican Church of Korea
The birth of the Anglican Church of Korea can be traced back to November 1, 1889, when Bishop Charles John Corfe was ordained at Westminster Abbey and inaugurated as the first diocesan bishop of Chosun (Korea). With his colleagues who had been invited to join the mission, he arrived in Incheon Port on 29 September 1890. He initiated his work in the Seoul area, including Gyeonggi and Chungcheong provinces. He first opened a number of educational institutions, medical facilities and social work centers across the country, such as the Sinmyeong (Faith and Enlightenment) schools and the hospitals in the vicinities of Incheon, Yeoju and Jincheon as well as the orphanages in Suwon and Anjung. The Anglican missionaries also sought possible ways for the church to be integrated into Korean culture. As a result of that effort, there are several Anglican Church buildings which were constructed in the traditional Korean architecture and which survive today such as those on Ganghwa Island. In addition, the early missionaries made pioneering contributions to Korean studies.
Early missionary work
Beginning in 1923 mission work was actively carried out in the northern part of the peninsula such as Pyongan and Hwanghae Provinces. To train the local clergy St. Michael's Theological Institute, the former institution of the present Sungkonghoe (Anglican) University, was established in 1923, followed by the Society of the Holy Cross (convent) in 1925. Also, the cathedral Church of St. Mary the Virgin and St. Nicholas in downtown Seoul was initially constructed in 1924 and is now well known for its unique Romanesque architecture as it is the only one in this fashion in the orient, together with its mosaic murals.
Japanese colonial rule
Due to considerable difficulties with the language barrier, personal health problems, and other incidents, the mission work had little success throughout the later years, especially during the 36-year period of the Japanese colonial rule. This colonial rule caused significant obstacles to Church development in Korea, primarily because those missionaries appeared to have an indifferent attitude to the Korean independence movement at that time.
First native bishop
Despite such an unfavorable situation as illustrated, the first native Korean bishop, Lee Cheon Hwan, was ordained in 1965 after 20 years had lapsed since liberation from Japanese rule. Thus the original Korean mission diocese was formed into the two dioceses of Seoul and Taejon, followed by the separate additional forming of the Diocese of Pusan in 1974. In 1974, he received an honorary CBE from Queen Elizabeth II. He died on 26 March 2010.
Since the 1970s the Anglican Church has increasingly expanded through opening a number of new churches across country. St Peter's School was founded in 1975 to provide retarded children with effective special education as needed. St. Michael's Theological Seminary was also upgraded to be accredited by the government in 1982 and 10 years later it was again formally upgraded and expanded as a university to satisfies the peoples' great needs in the coming new era.
The three dioceses continued steady growth in numbers of churches and social evangelization under the auspices of the second and third generations of Korean bishops. The Church has thus been active in constructing new church buildings, along with its continued efforts in opening the new additional churches since the mid-1980s. In this context the Board of Mission and Education has played a timely role in offering education and training programs.
On occasion of its centennial anniversary on September 29, 1990, the Anglican Church of Korea reaffirmed its intent under the theme. "Jesus Christ, Life of the Nation", to continue proclaiming the message of life to the people and expediting the peaceful reunification of Korea as desired.
The Provincial Constitution of the Anglican Church of Korea was declared on September 29, 1992 and the first Korean primate was inaugurated on April 16, 1993. Thus, the Church finally has become an independent national church.
Structure and leadership
The church was previously under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury. To mark independence in 1993, the Archbishop of Canterbury handed his authority as Metropolitan and Primate to the first Archbishop of Korea. The church now forms a single metropolitical province, consisting of three dioceses: Seoul, Busan, and Daejeon. The Bishop of Seoul is also the Archbishop of Korea and Primate of the Church; the current holder of this office is the Most Rev'd Paul Kim.
The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Korea:
- Archbishop of Korea and Bishop of Seoul
- Bishop of Busan
- Bishop of Daejeon
- List of religious groups in Korea
- Calendar of saints (Anglican Church of Korea)
- Seoul Anglican Cathedral
- "World Council of Churches - Anglican Church of Korea". Retrieved 2009-12-18.
- Official church website, in English and Korean
- Official church website, for English Mission
- Historical documents related to Korean Anglicanism
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