Athanasia D. Kontogiannakopoulou – Jan- April 2015
The ordination of the new presbyter of our Church in Korea, Fr. Antony Lim. Liturgy was celebrated at St. Nicholas Cathedral Church in Seoul during the Divine Liturgy of Christmas 2014. During the distribution of the blessed bread from the newly ordained priest, the flock had the opportunity to receive his blessing and express their joy for the great and happy event of our Church.
Then followed a ceremony for the Christmas celebration at the Mission Hall, which was presented by the children of the catechetical school, the youth and the Cathedral choir.
From the next day of his ordination, Fr. Anthony started the sarantaleitourgo (40 days of Divine Liturgy). This extensive joy of daily Eucharist congregations attracted several believers from Seoul, who received Holy Communion and after the dismissal of the Divine Liturgy, at the welcoming hall of our bookcafé “Philokalia”, they approached the newly ordained priest and discussed spiritual matters with him, “eating their food full of joy and simplicity of heart.” (Acts 2:46)
With God’s help and the assistance of various donors from Greece and America, the publishing house of the Holy Metropolis of Korea “Korean Orthodox Editions”, recently published the following new books:
- Life and Words, by Saint Porphyrios,
- Spiritual Counsels IV, Family Life, by St. Paisios,
- Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life, by Archimandrite George Kapsanis,
- St. Nektarios (in Japanese), by Sophocles Dimitrakopoulos, and
- My Life in Christ, by St. John of Kronstadt.
It should be noted that the Orthodox books are in the biggest bookstores in the country and are also sold through the internet. The laborious and costly process of translation, release and circulation of books has already delivered spiritual fruit. When a new convert says that he met Orthodoxy in the first or second book released by our publishing house, this is the greatest moral satisfaction for those working in the publishing sector.
In the group baptisms celebrated in almost all the parishes of the Metropolis of Korea before the Christmas of 2014, sixty three of our brothers received the Holy Baptism after a long catechesis. This great event of naturalization of new members into the kingdom of God is the most hopeful and happy event for further expansion of the orthodox testimony in the country of “Morning Serenity.” It should be clarified that among the neophytes, besides Koreans, there were people of Slavic origin, who, as is known, have their liturgical as well as pastoral needs served by the Holy Metropolis of Korea.
The first Orthodox cultural monument in Korea
A very large and pleasant surprise awaited the members of the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea at the beginning of the new year 2015.
An official document was sent by mail to the Metropolis, according to which the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Seoul was designated by the City Council of Seoul as a cultural monument of the capital. For this reason, our Orthodox sacred church has been included in the local attractions and group visits of pupils, students and other citizens of Seoul have already been organized by local municipal entities.
Beginning of the Triodion Period – Forgiveness Vespers
In order that the faithful have a visual reminder of the beginning of the Triodion period, in the Vespers of the Saturday of the Publican and the Pharisee, before the start of the hymn “Lord, I have cried”, the chanter went to the icon screen, made three prostrations and received the Triodion from Christ’s icon.
Also, in the Forgiveness Vespers, after the dismissal and the sermon on forgiveness, first the Bishop, bowing down prostrate to the earth, asked for forgiveness from the dense congregation. Then one by one clergy and laity reverently kissing the Blessing Cross and the Bishop’s hand, received and gave forgiveness. Believers and catechumens were standing next to each other, forming a huge chain of love, which embraced the whole church of St. Nicholas. The reverence was so intense that many of them could not hold back their tears.