KOREA NEWS Holy See celebrates 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations with...

Holy See celebrates 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea

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Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin greets Yu In-Chon, the current minister of culture, sports, and tourism for South Korea at a Dec. 11, 2023, event to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two states. Credit: Vatican Media

“Naturally we think of the northern part of North Korea, which unfortunately, as you know, is of a completely different nature. But let’s hope that the wish they made here [today] is for peace between the two Koreas,” Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, former apostolic nuncio to the Republic of Korea, told CNA. 

Representing the South Korean government was Yu In-Chon, the current minister of culture, sports, and tourism. In a brief speech at the end of the Mass, he reflected on the enduring links between the Holy See and the Republic of Korea, noting over the course of the past five years that both parties have “conducted research and delved into the history of our relationship, rediscovering the history of mutual cooperation and opening new horizons in bilateral relations.”

Yu added that “the ministry of culture, sports, and tourism of the Republic of Korea will continue to cooperate with the Holy See, devoting our utmost efforts to achieving peace and harmony between the peoples of our two countries and the global community through culture.” 

Viewers walk through a photo exhibit chronicling definitive moments both for the local Church in Korea and in its bilateral relationship with the Holy See at a reception following a Mass on the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two states. Credit: Elizabeth Alva/EWTN
Viewers walk through a photo exhibit chronicling definitive moments both for the local Church in Korea and in its bilateral relationship with the Holy See at a reception following a Mass on the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two states. Credit: Elizabeth Alva/EWTN

Following the end of the Mass a reception was held in the adjacent Lateran Palace where the Korean Embassy to the Holy See staged a photo exhibit chronicling definitive moments both for the local Church in Korea and in bilateral relationship between the two states.

Among those moments included the creation of the first native Korean cardinal Stephan Kim Soo-hwan by Pope Paul VI in 1969, Pope John Paul II’s first visit to Korea in 1984 and his second in 1989 to celebrate the 44th Eucharistic Congress, and various receptions by Korean presidents by the pontiffs over the course of the last six decades. 

Oh Hyunjoo, the Korean ambassador to the Holy See — the first woman to hold the position — speaks at a Dec. 11, 2023, reception at the Vatican to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Credit: Vatican Media
Oh Hyunjoo, the Korean ambassador to the Holy See — the first woman to hold the position — speaks at a Dec. 11, 2023, reception at the Vatican to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Credit: Vatican Media

Oh Hyunjoo, the Korean ambassador to the Holy See — the first woman to hold the position —  spoke at the reception on the importance of this relationship by noting that “in the Korean tradition, 60 years constitutes the end of a cycle, of a life, and at the same time it symbolizes longevity.”

“The next 60 years of relations between Korea and the Holy See will be a path of mutual trust and strengthening mutually beneficial relations, jointly addressing together the peace of the Korean Peninsula, world peace, and sustainable development for humanity,” she said.

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