Orthodox Metropolis of Korea

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Orthodox Metropolis of Korea
Jurisdiction Constantinople
Diocese type Metropolis
Founded 2004
Current bishop Metr. Ambrose
See(s) Seoul
Headquarters Seoul, South Korea
Territory South Korea
Liturgical language(s) Korean
Musical tradition Byzantine Chant, Russian Chant
Calendar Revised Julian
Population estimate unknown
Official website Metropolis of Korea

The Orthodox Metropolis of Korea, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, is an eparchy of the Church of Constantinople. Its current primate is His Eminence Ambrose (Zographos), Metropolitan of Korea (both North and South).


In July 1897 the Russian Orthodox Church resolved to send missionaries to Korea by decision of the Holy Synod. Archimandrite Ambrose Gountko led the three person team, but was refused permission to enter the country.

In 1900, a more hospitable atmosphere between Russia and Korea allowed for a second missionary team led by Archimandrite Chrysanthos Shehtkofsky to begin an outreach in Seoul. He was joined in Korea by Hierodeacon Nicholas Alexeiev of the original team, and chanter Jonah Leftsenko. On February 17, 1900 in a make-shift chapel the first known Orthodox Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Korean peninsula.

The first Orthodox church was constructed in Jung Dong, Jung-gu, the central area of Seoul in 1903 and was named in honor of Saint Nicholas. However, with the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945 came an intense period of persecution against Orthodox Christian believers. In spite of persecution, in 1912, Fr. Ioannis Kang, the first native Korean Orthodox priest, was ordained.

In November 1921, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow ended its support of the Church of Korea, and the Japanese Orthodox Church gave up its jurisdictional authority. Thus, in 1946, the Orthodox Church of Korea was placed into the position of having to organize itself as a parish.

The year 1947 saw the ordination of a third Korean priest, Fr. Alexei Kim, just as the last Russian priest departed the country. Father Alexei was the only priest of the Orthodox Church left to serve the people of Korea. Just three years later, on July 9, 1950, he was captured and disappeared without record. As the Korean War descended upon the land the Orthodox Christian community in the region was dispersed and the formal practice of the faith disrupted.

However, in 1953, Army Chaplain Archimandrite Andrew Halkiopoulos of the Military Forces of Greece became aware of the Korean Orthodox faithful and arranged for the parish in Seoul to be reestablished.

The following year the Korean Orthodox Christian Boris Moon was ordained by Archbishop Ireneus of Japan in Tokyo. Then, on Christmas Eve of 1955, by unanimous decision, the Korean Orthodox community chose formally to come under the jurisdictional authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

In 1975, Archimandrite Sotirios Trambas volunteered to serve in the Korean mission of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. During the ensuing years, he founded a monastery, several parishes both in Korea and in other places in Asia, and a seminary.

In 1993, the Holy Synod of Constantinople elected Archimandrite Sotirios Trambas Bishop of Zelon and Auxiliary Bishop to the Metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand. In this role, Bp. Sotirios served as Exarch of Korea. On April 20, 2004, the Exarchate of Korea was raised to the rank of a Metropolis, and Bishop Sotirios became the first Metropolitan of Korea.

On May 28, 2008, Metropolitan Sotirios retired and was given the title of Metropolitan of Pisidia. On the same day, Bishop Ambrosios of Zelon and Auxiliary Bishop of the Metropolis was elected to succeed Metropolitan Sotirios as the Metropolitan of Korea.


Today the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea is treated as one single metropolis with ten parishes and eight priests and two deacons in South Korea, which has healthy relations with the single North Korean parish under the Moscow Patriarchate which was established in 2006. The Metropolis also has a female monastery dedicated to the Holy Transfiguration. The Metropolis also has a Theological Seminary dedicated to St. Nicholas which trains the clergy of Korea and Southeast Asia.

The Episcopacy

  • Metropolitan Ambrose (Zographos) of Korea
  • Metropolitan Sotirios (Trambas) of Pisidia, who was the first Metropolitan of Korea from 2004 to 2008, is staying in the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration (Gapyeong.
    • Protopresbyter Daniel Na is priest of the church in Incheon, and was involved in the talks with the North Korean parish.
    • Hieromonk Theophan (Kim), a Korean priestmonk, is priest for the St. Maxim the Greek chapel (which does services in foreign languages).

External links