Places of worship – Seoul
Of the Seoulites who practice religion, Protestants account for 49.8%, Buddhists 28.4%, Catholics 14.8% and others 8%. There are 5,959 Protestant churches, 1,107 Buddhist temples, and 176 Catholic churches. The following are religious facilities that provide services in English.
Buddhism was officially recognized in the years 372 and 384 by Goguryeo and Baekje, respectively. Since its introduction, Buddhism exerted powerful influence over the culture, arts and social conventions of South Korean people. It proliferated through to the Goryeo Kingdom and produced a myriad of Buddhist art works including the Tripitaka Koreana (Buddhist bible) and Seoguram Grotto. Today, many Buddhist temples are scattered all across the nation. Buddhism in South Korea comprises of 39 orders including two major ones of “Jogye-jong” (order) and “Taego-jong.” Minor ones include, “Bomun-jong,” “Jingak-jong,” “Wonhyo-jong,” etc. Jogyesa (Temple) in Gyeonji-dong, Seoul, is the headquarters of “Jogye-jong,” and Bongwonsa (Temple) in the vicinity of Yonsei University is the headquarters of “Taego-jong.” Buddhists exert great efforts to propagate the religion and promote social welfare for the underprivileged through the Buddhist Council for Social Welfare. About 30 welfare centers and nurseries are in operation. The council also provides telephone counseling and has launched “Clean-up Korea” campaigns.
Internet Buddhist Information Center
Tel (02) 768-8523 /URL: http://www.jogyesa.kr/user/english/
Lotus Lantern Int’l Meditation Center
Tel (032) 937-7033 / URL: www.lotuslantern.net
Protestantism: The first official missionaries to Korea were Underwood and Appenzeller from the United States who arrived here at Easter 1885. They concentrated on medical services and education, opening the first Western hospital Gwanghyewon and founding Baejae and Ewha schools. Despite all the hardships from Japanese persecution, protestant’s gradually began to gain public acceptance as a religious group. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, the churches devoted themselves to social work, providing clothes and food and operating orphanages. In the 1960s, churches achieved rapid growth and many Christian democratic leaders participated in a wide range of political and social affairs for the restoration of democracy and the promotion of human rights. Major denominations of Protestantism in South Korea include Presbyterian, Methodist, Holiness, Baptist and Pentecost.
Jeong-dong Church, Korea’s first protestant church, offers visitors a historical look at Protestantism in Korea. Located behind Deoksugung Palace and designated historic treasure No. 256, this church was built in 1896 in an American-style of architecture.
Chungdong First Methodist Church
Tel. (02) 753-0001 / URL: http://chungdong.onmam.com (Korean)
SaRang Community Church
Tel. (02) 3495-1000~4 / URL: http://english.sarang.org
Seoul Union Church
Tel. (02) 333-7393 / URL: www.seoulunionchurch.org
Youngnak Presbyterian Church
Tel. (02) 2280-0114 / URL: www.youngnak.net
Choonghyun Presbyterian Church
Tel. (02)552-8200 / Location: Yeoksam Subway Stn. (Line2)
English Service at 11 am, Sunday.
Yongsan Baptist Church
Tel. (02) 796-0284
Location: Noksapyeong Subway Stn. (Line 6), Next to Crown Hotel.
English service and Bible studies: 9:45, 11:00 and 18:00 on Sunday.
Tel. (02) 793-9686 / URL : http://en.onnuri.org/
Location: 5-7minute walk from Seobinggo Subway Stn.(Line1)
Yongsan Chapel Community
Tel. (02)7918-6054 / Sunday mass 09:00, 11:00, 12:00
Yoido Full Gospel Church
Tel. (02) 782-4851 / (02) 783-7485 / URL : http://english.fgtv.com
Catholicism: Catholicism first came to Korea as the result of Koreans’ interest in Western academic studies. Korean diplomatic missions to the imperial court of China came across Jesuit missionary books and brought them back to Korea. In 1784, during a trip to China, a young Korean named Lee Seung-hoon met a French priest, Father Grammont, who taught him about Catholicism. Lee Seung-hoon was baptized and upon returning to Korea, he set up a small church. He was the first person to preach the Catholic doctrine in Korea. At the time of its establishment in Korea, during the latter part of the 18th century, the Catholic Church faced prosecution because its teachings violated beliefs revered by Confucian society. This conflict continued until the end of the 19th century. Some of the most well-known cases of mass persecution from that time are the Sinyu Persecution of 1801, the Gihae Persecution of 1839, the Byeongo Persecution of 1846, and the Byeongin Persecution of 1866. In 1876, as Korea was opening its doors to the west, Catholicism gained acceptance, but was later forbidden under Japanese Colonial rule from 1940-1945. During this time, the Catholic Church continued its work in education, medical care, and other missionary work. From this period on, the number of Catholics in Korea increased drastically, as did the number of churches. In 1969, Cardinal Su-hwan Kim was appointed the archbishop of the Seoul Archdiocese, and in 1989, Pope John Paul II visited Seoul to attend the 44th International Eucharistic Congress.
Tel. (02)774-1784 / URL: http://www.mdsd.or.kr/english/parish.asp
Catholic International Parish of Seoul
Tel.(02) 727-2114 / URL : http://www.catholic.or.kr (Korean)
Catholic Church Yeoksam
Tel. (02) 553-0801 / URL : www.yscatholic.com
International Parish Seoul Catholic
Tel. (02) 793-2070 / URL: http://church.catholic.or.kr/international/
Catholic Church Seongbukdong
Tel. (02) 3673-4251 / URL : www.sbsd.or.kr (Korean)
Anglican Church: Seoul Anglican Cathedral
Tel. (02) 730-6611
URL : www.cathedral.or.kr/front/
3, Jeong-dong(or #15, Sejongdaero 21 gil), Junggu, Seoul,
English Service at 9:30 on Sunday.
The first Koreans who were exposed to the Islam religion were poor farmers who moved to Manchuria in the late 19th century. The first Korean Imam (chaplain) was elected and a mosque was built upon the establishment of the Korean Federation of Muslims in 1955. Later in 1967, the Federation was officially registered with the Korean government as the Korean Society of Islam. The Central Mosque was built in 1976 in Itaewon, Seoul, with the assistance of several Islamic countries including Saudi Arabia. Currently, there are seven mosques and about 30,000 Muslims in Korea.
Seoul Central Mosque
Arabic and English service at 13:00 Friday, Regular services are held 5 times a day during weekdays : for 80 minutes before sunrise, at 1 and 4 o’clock, at dusk Behind Itaewon Fire Station near Itaewon Subway Stn.(Line6)
Tel. (02) 793-6908