Religious Observations

Being in a new country and experiencing a drastic shift in every aspect in your life can be quite unsettling for some people. A good way to cope with the changes in your day to day life is to seek out something that is a part of your regular routine when you are home and incorporate it into your life here in Seoul. For some this may mean seeking out familiar foods, sticking to a familiar exercise routine, or joining a class or club similar to one at home. For many people, their religion is an integral part of their lives and is a source of comfort, support, and strength. For those of you who are devout followers of a religion not native to South Korea, it may be somewhat daunting to go out into the city to seek out a place of worship where you will be able to experience services in a language you understand and be able to integrate into the community. Following is a short list of potential places of worship for foreigners of diverse faiths.

1) Myeongdong Cathedral (명동성당)

Located in downtown Seoul, Myeongdong Cathedral is built in a gothic style evocative of many Roman Catholic churches found in Europe and therefore may provide an atmosphere of familiarity to practitioners of this religion. As the seat of the Archbishop of Seoul and the starting point of the religion within Seoul, Myeongdong Cathedral (properly known as Cathedral Church of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception) is the centre of the Catholic faith within Seoul. Services such as Sunday Mass and Confessional are offered in English for those practitioners who do not speak Korean. The nearest subway exit is Myeongdong Station Exit 8 (명동역 8번출구).

2) Seoul Central Mosque (서울중앙성원)

As the only mosque within Seoul, Seoul Central Mosque is the centre of the Islamic faith in Seoul. Regular services such as Friday prayer services (offered in English, Arabic, and Korean) attract quite a large crowd each week with devotees of various ethnic and national backgrounds coming together. Within the mosque can be found the separate male and female prayer halls, as well as the office of the Korea Muslim Federation; adjacent to the mosque is the Islamic Centre which offers educational services as well as other services to the Islamic community. South Central Mosque is located in Hannam-dong in the Yongsan District and the nearest subway exit is at Itaewon Station Exit 3 (이태원역 3번출구).

3) Chabbad of Korea

Though the Jewish community is quite small in South Korea, most practitioners are located in Seoul and there is a place of worship within the city. Until very recently, religious services were only available on American military bases; a majority of practitioners of the faith within Seoul are expats or the decedents of American immigrants. Only 3 years old, Chabbad of Korea offers services in both Hebrew and English and is located in Hannamdong, Yongsan-Gu (한남동, 용산구); the nearest subway exit is Hangangjin Station Exit 1 (한강진역 1번출구).

seoul-central-masjid

Source: Seoul Central Masjid

Article by Kavi from Canada

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