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    Religion in Pyongyang

    North Korea is an atheist state where public religion is discouraged. Based on estimates from the late 1990s and the 2000s, North Korea is mostly atheist and agnostic with the religious life dominated by the traditions of Korean shamanism and Chondoism.

    As of 2007 in North Korea there are approximately 800 Chondoist churches throughout the country and a large central building in Pyongyang, 60 Buddhist temples (maintained more as cultural relics than places of worship), and 5 Christian churches—three Protestant churches, one Catholic church, and one Russian Orthodox church, all of which located in Pyongyang

    Before the division of Korea, Pyongyang was the city with the highest number of Christian believers in Korea, and was known as the center of Christianity in Korea. By 1945, nearly 1/6 of its citizens were Christians. Therefor, Pyongyang was made into the only diocese in northern Korea.

    A limited revival of Buddhism is apparently taking place. Recently there was open a three-year college for training Buddhist clergy and established an academy for Buddhist studies and the publication of a twenty-five-volume translation of the Korean Tripitaka, or Buddhist scriptures, which had been carved on 80,000 wooden blocks and kept at the temple at Myohyangsan in central North Korea.

    There are three Protestant churches in Pyongyang. Bongsu Church, and the Chilgol Church both have ministers and were opened in 1988 before the International Youth Festival held in 1989.  Following in the footsteps of his father Billy Graham (who twice preached at Bongsu 1992 and 1994), Franklin Graham preached at Bongsu 3rd August 2008. The Unification Protestant Moon Church was built in 2007.

    In Pyongyang there is the Changchung Roman Catholic Church, which was open in March 1988 by devout Catholic believers. It covers an area of 2000 square metres and has a seating capacity of about 200. The Church is frequently visited by many Catholic clergies and other believers from across the world. It is the nominal cathedral of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Pyongyang. The original cathedral, built of red brick in the late 19th century, was destroyed in the Korean War by American forces. In 1988 a new cathedral was opened in East Pyongyang.

    The Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church consecrated in 2006.  After a visit to the St Innocent of Irkutsk church in Khabarovsk in course of a trip to the Russian Far East in 2002, President of DPRK Kim Jong-Il personally gave permission for the construction of an Orthodox church in North Korea, and construction began in 2003. The foundation stone laying ceremony was held by Archbishop Clement of Kaluga, DECR Deputy Chairman, on June 24 2003. The church was consecrated in 2006 by Metr. Cyrill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad. During the consecration of the church, the first North Korean priest was ordained.

     
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