World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Resources / Documents / WCC general secretary / Speeches / Greetings at the Award Ceremony of South Korean Order of Civil Merit

Greetings at the Award Ceremony of South Korean Order of Civil Merit

Greetings and speeches at the Award Ceremony of the Dongbaeg Medal, The Order of Civil Merit, at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Oslo, Norway, 5 May 2020

05 May 2020

Rev. Dr Lee Hong-jung, general secretary of the NCCK

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has prayed and worked in solidarity for the reconciliation and peace of the Korean Peninsula in the name of the Tozanso Process which began in 1984. In particular, with the leadership of Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit’s leadership, the WCC has played a key role in peace-building on the Korean Peninsula, making it one of the central mission tasks of the global ecumenical community. The Republic of Korea government sincerely recognizes such dedication and contribution of the WCC by awarding The Order of Civil Merit to Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.


Dr Agnes Abuom, moderator of the WCC Central Committee

I recall the historic moment when more than 800 participants in the Busan Assembly of the World Council of Churches in 2013 joined in a pilgrimage of justice and peace traveling to Mount Dora and Imjingak, expressing solidarity with the people of Korea and endorsing the worldwide call for the reunification of Korea. As general secretary of the WCC, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit inspired them to see themselves as a sign of the fulfilment of God’s promise. I appreciate, Rev. Tveit, your faithful leadership through which you have demonstrated what it means to transform Christian fellowship. Through your leadership, we have learned that transformation is an essential dimension of the Kingdom of God as the churches around the world seek the transformation of the Korean Demilitarized Zone into a place of peace and reconciliation. I take this opportunity to congratulate you as you receive the order of civil merit from President Moon of the Republic of Korea for your faithful commitment to peace on the Korean Peninsula. I also congratulate all of us, the fellowship of the WCC, for our long-term ecumenical efforts for peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula. I am grateful for the churches in North and South Korea, the WCC member churches, and many ecumenical partners, as witnesses and disciples of Christ, to walk the ecumenical movement of love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and unity. I pray that God will continue to bless you, Rev. Tveit, and all of us as we continue to walk with our sisters and brothers in Korea.


Acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, World Council of Churches

The World Council of Churches has a long history of working together with national, regional and international ecumenical partners for peace on the Korean Peninsula, particularly since the historic Tozanso Consultation of 1984. As general secretary of the WCC, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit did much more than simply carry forward this heritage. He led the Council through a process of renewed and intensified accompaniment of South and North Korean partners for peace in the lead up to, during and after the WCC’s 10th Assembly in Busan in 2013. He made it a hallmark of this period of the WCC’s history, and personally played a prominent leadership role in this area of the WCC’s work through a period that has encompassed both some of the most perilous moments in the modern history of the region, and some of the highest hopes for transformative peaceful change. Though progress has stalled and hopes have once again ebbed, the WCC is committed and determined to pursue the Christian calling to be peacemakers, and the vision that Rev. Dr Tveit articulated – of an end to war and confrontation on the Korean Peninsula, of dialogue and peaceful coexistence between North and South, and ultimately of reunification of the long divided Korean people.


Atle Sommerfeldt, acting presiding bishop, Church of Norway

Greetings to Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit on the occasion of his receiving of The Order of Civil Merit, Dongbaeg Medal, at the embassy of the Republic of Korea, Oslo, 5 May 2020.

Your Eminenses, it is a great honour to participate on behalf of The Church of Norway on this very special occasion when Rev. Dr Tveit is receiving  The Order of Civil Merit, Dongbaeg Medal. The Church of Norway is proud that our elected primate has been given this great honour.

The Church of Norway is deeply committed to peace, justice and reconciliation, especially where war and political differences separate people and families. We pray and hope with the people of Korea for a reconciled future, healing the wounds of the past and present, with justice for all.

God bless Korea.