North Korea (International Christian Concern) Archbishop Victorinus Yoon Kong-hi, one of South Korea’s most senior clergymen, says he believes the church, specifically the Catholic Church, is growing in North Korea. The growth continues even though Christians in North Korea live in hiding and endure heavy persecution.
The archbishop shared these encouraging remarks in a recently published book called The Story of the North Korean Church by writer Kwon Eun-jung. The book is is a Korean-language, comprehensive book on the history of the Catholic Church in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula based on eight interviews of the 98-year-old archbishop taken last year.
In the book, the elderly clergyman, who was born in an area now covered by North Korea, gave vivid testimonies of how the church thrived in the territory before the Korean Peninsula was divided between the democratic South and communist North, and the eruption of the deadly Korean War. He recounted how the spread of communism gripped Christians with fear and strangled the Catholic Church in North Korea.
Archbishop Kong-hi sees the publication of this book both as an important reminder of the faith history present in North Korea and a vision of what could be again.
With regards to the present-day Church in North Korea, he says he can do nothing for the North Korean Church other than pray for peace and trust in God.
“There is nothing I can do other than rely on the providence of God,” the archbishop said. He believes the “Church is growing in hiding, just like the trees.”
“The trees sprout new shoots in each branch each year. Like that the Catholics who are hiding somewhere in the North are also growing.”
This article originally appeared here.