Anglican Church of Korea

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Anglican Church of Korea
The Official Emblem of the Anglican Church of Korea
ClassificationProtestant with historically Anglo-Catholic origin
ScriptureHoly Bible
TheologyAnglican doctrine
PrimatePeter Lee Kyeong-ho, Bishop of Seoul, Presiding Bishop of Korea
TerritoryKorea (North Korea and South Korea)
Official website
Anglican Church of Korea
Revised RomanizationDaehan Seonggonghoe
McCune–ReischauerTaehan Sŏnggonghoe

The Anglican Church of Korea (or Episcopal 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[1] with a total membership of roughly 65,000 people.[1]


Birth of the Anglican Church of Korea[edit]

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 Joseon (Korea). With his colleagues who had been invited to join the mission, he arrived in Incheon Port on 29 September 1890. Nae-dong Anglican Church (성공회 내동성당) which is the first Anglican Church in Korea was established by him and Eli Barr Landis (1865-1898) on Sep. 30, 1891 at Nae-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon. 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[edit]

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 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[edit]

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[edit]

Anglican Cathedral in Seoul

Despite such an unfavorable situation as illustrated, the first native Korean bishop, Cheon-hwan Lee, 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 Daejeon, followed by the separate additional forming of the Diocese of Busan in 1974. In 1974, he received an honorary CBE from Queen Elizabeth II. He died on 26 March 2010.

Recent expansion[edit]

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 special needs 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.


The Anglican Church of Korea has clergy and members reflecting diverse views. The church ordains women as priests and has been doing so since 2001.[2] Regarding issues of human sexuality, some clergy, congregations, and members of the denomination have been affirming and supportive of LGBT rights including by participating in Pride events.[3][4] The Anglican Church in Korea is considered to be more open toward homosexuality and is openly discussing the matter.[5] One cleric, representing the Anglican Church in a Korean Christian dialogue, presented a "let's see" approach regarding homosexuality.[6]

Structure and leadership[edit]

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 primacy rotates between the three; thus the current bishop of Seoul is also the Archbishop of Korea and Primate of the Church.

Archbishops of Korea[edit]

  • 1993 – 1995: Simon Kim Seong-su, Bishop of Seoul
  • 1995: Paul Yun Hwan, Bishop of Daejeon(acting archbishop)
  • 1995 – 1997: Benedict Kim Jae-heon, Bishop of Busan
  • 1997 – 2000: Matthew Chung Chul-beom, Bishop of Seoul

Primate of Korea[edit]

  • 2000 – 2003: Paul Yun Hwan, Bishop of Daejeon
  • 2003 – 2005: Matthew Chung Chul-beom, Bishop of Seoul
  • 2005: Joseph Lee Dae-yong, Bishop of Busan
  • 2005 – 2006: Andrew Shin Hyeon-sam, Bishop of Daejeon
  • 2006 – 2009: Francis Park Kyeong-jo, Bishop of Seoul
  • 2009: Solomon Yun Jong-mo, Bishop of Busan(acting Primate)
  • 2009 – 2010: Solomon Yun Jong-mo, Bishop of Busan
  • 2010 – 2017: Paul Kim Keun-sang, Bishop of Seoul
  • 2017 – 2018: Onesimus Park Dong-shin, Bishop of Busan
  • 2018 – 2020: Moses Yoo Nak-jun, Bishop of Daejeon[7]
  • 2020 – present: Peter Lee Kyeong-ho, Bishop of Seoul[8]

Diocese of Seoul[edit]

The current Diocese of Seoul was founded as the Joseon (Korea) diocese, covering all the Korean peninsula, in 1889. It was split in 1965, to create Taejon diocese, at which point it became Seoul diocese. The current bishop is Peter Kyongho Lee, who has also been Primate since 2020.

Bishops in Korea[edit]

The Bishop in Korea was an Anglican missionary appointment[9] from 1889[10] to 1965 when the diocese was divided.[11]

Tenure Incumbent Notes
1889 to 1905 Charles Corfe (1843–1921)
1905 to 1910 Arthur Turner (1862–1910)
1911 to 1930 Mark Trollope (1862–1930)
1931 to 1954 Cecil Cooper (1882–1964)
1955 to 1965 John Daly (1901–1985) Became first bishop of Daejeon

Bishops of Seoul[edit]

Assistant bishops[edit]

External links[edit]

Diocese of Daejeon[edit]

The Diocese of Daejeon is the Anglican Church in that part of South Korea that includes North and South Chungcheong Provinces; North and South Cholla Provinces and South Kangwon.[22] It was erected from the Joseon diocese in 1965 and split in 1974 to erect Busan diocese.

Bishops of Daejeon[edit]

External links[edit]

Diocese of Busan[edit]

Busan diocese was erected from the Diocese of Daejeon in 1974.

Bishops of Busan[edit]

External links[edit]


Archive materials of the Anglican Church's Korean Mission are held at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham. These include records from 1889 to 1987.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "World Council of Churches - Anglican Church of Korea". Archived from the original on 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
  2. ^ "Korean Catholic priests become Anglican and marry". National Catholic Reporter. 2 December 2009. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  3. ^ "동성애 축제, 미국 교단은 지지, 한인 교회는 걱정 - 뉴스앤조이" (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  4. ^ Hazzan, Dave. "Why Korea's Christian churches are leading the anti-gay charge: And how a handful of LGBT-affirming churches are fighting back". Xtra Magazine. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  5. ^ "교회에 번지는 '동성애' 논란…동성애자가 목사 안수를 받을 수 있는가 - 목장드림뉴스" (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  6. ^ "동성애 문제 놓고 목사 신부 갈렸다 - 뉴스앤조이" (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  7. ^ "Bishop Moses Nag Jun Yoo elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Korea".
  8. ^ "New Primates for Japan and Korea". 13 November 2020.
  9. ^ Details of mission
  10. ^ The Times, Saturday, Nov 02, 1889; pg. 9; Issue 32846; col C CONSECRATION OF THREE NEW BISHOPS:Reading, Derby and Corea (Sic)
  11. ^ Division details
  12. ^ "Korean bishop in the Chair". Church Times. No. 5348. 13 August 1965. p. 8. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 March 2021 – via UK Press Online archives.
  13. ^ "Bishop Embling dies in Canada". Church Times. No. 5340. 18 June 1965. p. 16. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 March 2021 – via UK Press Online archives.
  14. ^ "No. 43934". The London Gazette. 25 March 1966. p. 3507.
  15. ^ "The Advent Ordinations. On Sunday Last". Church Times. No. 2448. 23 December 1909. p. 861. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 March 2021 – via UK Press Online archives.
  16. ^ "Ordinations on Sunday last". Church Times. No. 2500. 23 December 1910. p. 874. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 March 2021 – via UK Press Online archives.
  17. ^ "Consecration of three bishops". Church Times. No. 3323. 1 October 1926. p. 363. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 March 2021 – via UK Press Online archives.
  18. ^ "Chadwell, Arthur Ernest". Who's Who. A & C Black. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  19. ^ "Ordinations on Trinity Sunday". Church Times. No. 3099. 16 June 1922. p. 638. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 November 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  20. ^ "Ordinations on Trinity Sunday". Church Times. No. 3149. 1 June 1923. p. 638. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 November 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  21. ^ "Double consecration at Westminster Abbey". Church Times. No. 4635. 7 December 1951. p. 837. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 November 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  22. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory 1975-76 London: Oxford University Press, 1976 ISBN 0-19-200008-X
  23. ^ "Episcopal News Service: Press Release # 87116".
  24. ^ "Primate off to Korea". Church Times. No. 6504. 9 October 1987. p. 3. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 March 2021 – via UK Press Online archives.
  25. ^ "Morning Calm" (PDF). Korean Mission Fellowship. 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 29, 2023.
  26. ^ "Consecration of two new Korean bishops". Church Times. No. 5809. 14 June 1974. p. 3. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 6 March 2021 – via UK Press Online archives.
  27. ^ "UoB Calmview5: Search results". Retrieved 2021-01-08.

External links[edit]