Queen Elizabeth II's Visit (8); Finished Anglican Church Opens Doors to Queen

Article excerpt

Unlike other places anticipating the British queen's visit, the Anglican Church just beyond the British Embassy, residence and the British Council, has remained humbly going about as usual with its schedule. No extravagant preparations or cultural spectacles, because it is almost as if the church in itself has been preparing for 73 years for British monarchs' visits.

Queen Elizabeth's Grandfather George V never saw it completed, although it was begun under his support in 1923, but the queen, the supreme governor of the Church of England as well as the Church of Scotland, entered that church in Korea that has been handed down through her family line for three generations.

The queen visited the Anglican Church in Seoul at 11:35 a.m. yesterday. She paid respects to the memorial plaque and the book of remembrance dedicated to British soldiers who died in the Korean War (1950-53).

The plaque was unveiled during her son Prince Charles's and Princess Diana's visit in 1992. She received a silver plate as a gift of gratitude from the Diocese of the Seoul Anglican Church in Korea, as well as a copperplate imprinted with a frontal image of the completed Church.

The Anglican Church is considered an outstanding architectural structure in Seoul. Originally built in 1891 in Romanesque style, grand construction was begun in 1923, but not completed until 1996 due to complications. It took close to a century to finish the crucifix-form structure covered with red roof tiles -- through three generations in a family of priests heading the Seoul Anglican Church here, as well as three generations of the British monarchy.

With the onset of the worldwide Great Depression, the flow of funds started trickling until they dried up all together only three years into the construction.

The priest at the time was Father Lee Won-chang, the maternal grandfather of Father Kim, the present priest of the Seoul Anglican Church. Father Lee persistently demanded funds from the district of Canterbury, which had control over the Seoul Anglican Church, but unsuccessfully.

In 1959, his son, Father Kim Tae-soon became the head priest. …