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Moscow Patriarch praises North Korea for Orthodox Church in Pyongyang


MOSCOW, September 6 (RIA Novosti) - Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexiy II believes construction of a new orthodox church in Pyongyang would make ties between Russia and North Korea closer.

"The Orthodox church in Pyongyang is a bridge between Russians and Koreans," the patriarch said Tuesday at a meeting with a delegation, headed by the North Korean ambassador to Moscow Pak Ui Chun.

The delegation attended a patriarchal mass in the Kremlin Cathedral of the Assumption, with Fyodor Kim, an orthodox deacon from North Korea, taking part in the service.

The patriarch praised North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and North Korea's Orthodox Committee for construction of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Pyongyang. Construction begun in 2003 and is expected to be completed next year.

The patriarch said Russia's Orthodox Church was prepared to teach Korean seminary students in Russia.

Two deacons, who graduated from the Moscow Seminary, run the first and only Orthodox parish in North Korea, holding masses at the Russian embassy, and at a Russian cemetery.

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