The laying of the foundation stone of North Korea's first Orthodox Church took place in the North Korean capital Pyongyang on Wednesday.
The North Korean authorities promise that the Holy Trinity Cathedral, a building with an area of 300 square meters, will be finished in less than 12 months.
The construction is fully financed by the North Korean side, with Russia's obligations coming down to the molding of the bells and technological support during construction.
Orthodox belief initially began spreading between Koreans, who sought a better life in Russia's Far Eastern regions. The inflow of Koreans reached its peak during the 1869 hunger in Korea. In early 1900, Russia founded its own Spiritual Mission in Korea, soon followed by a Russian school, an orphanage, and a boarding school for orphans.
Historically, Orthodoxy in Korea was linked to the Vladivostok eparchy, which ran the mission between 1908 and 1922.
Political events that led to the splitting of Korea into two states resulted in the closing down of the Russian Spiritual Mission in Korea. The country, however, retained a number of Koreans, who cherish and remember Orthodox beliefs to this day.