N. Korea Russian Orthodox Church opens

SEOUL, South Korea (AP)– North Korea’s first ever Russian Orthodox church conducted its inaugural mass Sunday, the North’s official news agency said, although there was no sign the hardline communist regime has eased its tight controls on religion.

Vice Premier Kwak Pom Gi and other government officials attended the service at the Trinity Church in Pyongyang, the Korean Central News Agency reported.

The North Korean government will “successfully manage and operate the church,” said Ho Il Jin, the chairman of the Korean Orthodox Church Committee, KCNA reported. He did not elaborate, but added the inauguration of the church will boost relations between North Korea and Russia.