Korea (Republic of Korea)


About country profiles

The country profiles are intended to provide some background and context for the descriptions of the churches. These profiles should be read in conjunction with those of the churches in the country.

Click here for the sources of the statistical data

Surface area:99260 km2
GNI per capita:12030 US$
Classification:Developing economy



Christian: 41.00%

Buddhist: 20.00%

Confucianist: 11.00%

Other: 28.00%


Protestants: 8841570

Catholics: 4400000

Anglicans: 80000

Orthodox: 5700

Independent: 8149460

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Korea has a history and culture of over 4,000 years. Ruled since the 7th century by three successive dynasties, it was colonized by Japan from 1910 to 1945. After World War II, Korea was liberated but divided, occupied by the Soviet Union in the north and the US in the south. The 1950-1953 Korean war deepened the division, and a bitter opposition between communist North and capitalist South Korea lasted through the cold war period. South Korea was under military dictatorship and martial law. In 1987 democratic elections were held and a new constitution was ratified. In 1991, North and South Korea joined the United Nations and signed a non-aggression pact. Since 2000, political dialogue and economic cooperation are increasing, and visits have become possible. South Korea has transformed itself into a modern industrialized nation. Christian missions entered Korea at the end of the 19th century. The churches have grown enormously, especially after the Korean war. Korea is home to the largest congregation in the world, the Yoido Full Gospel Church (Pentecostal), with 800,000 members. Korean churches have sent thousands of missionaries to all parts of the world. In the 1960-70s, ecumenically committed churches and Christians were in the forefront of the struggle for democracy and human rights. They developed the minjung theology for the church of the poor. Churches in South Korea began in the 1980s a movement of peace and unification and meeting with the Christian Fellowship of North Korea. The Korean Assemblies of God joined the national council of churches in 1997. The Korean Evangelical Fellowship is affiliated with the WEA.

A multimedia portrait of the world's largest congregation, the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, can be viewed on the 'Keeping the Faith' website.


Ecumenical Organizations and Councils

WCC member churches based in Korea (Republic of Korea)

WCC member churches present in Korea (Republic of Korea)

Note: The list of churches present in countries is still in development.

Last updated: 01/01/06