On the Sunday of Thomas (04/23/17, 2:23 pm) the Priest of St. Dionysios Church in Ulsan, our beloved Brother of blessed memory Rev. Father Paul Kwon, fell asleep in the Lord, ending the pain he suffered during his long battle with cancer.
Father Paul passed away on a Sunday, the day of the Lord, which is the most holy day of the week.
He died during the Paschal season, which is the most brilliant an blessed season of the ecclesiastical year.
He died a saintly death. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints”. (Ps. 115:15) Utterly focused on God, his soul flew to the throne of the Resurrected Lord, without a trace of agony or turmoil, to the point that his presbytera Charis, and his two children Dionysios and Nonna, who were at his bedside, did not even realize that he had departed.
During last year, on which his doctors, based on scientific data, had predicted that the end of his life was drawing near, he was calm and peaceful and took care of things concerning his death. He asked the Bishop to find his replacement. He transferred his car to his parish and consulted his children and his parishioners. He regularly had visions of being in a bright room with a golden gate, and when he would awake, he would feel sad to see that he was in a hospital room. On the previous day before his passing away, he requested that his vestments be brought to the hospital in order to be dressed at the right time…
A vivid indication of his saintly death was that his body, which was being cooled in the hospital morturary for 24 hours, was very flexible so the Clergymen were able to dress him in his vestments and place his body in the coffin without difficulty.
Another indication of the fatherly and loving relationship he had developed with his Flock was the heart-rending wailing and lamentation of his parishioners during the three days that preceded his burial.
The passing away of this humble and simple priest, the late Rev. Fr. Paul, who was always with a smile on his face, has left a great void. His Parish of St. Dionysios in the city of Ulsan, South Korea has been left with no Korean priest to replace him. For the time being, the Bishop is trying to cover the void, which is almost humanly impossible, mostly because of the great distance between Seoul and Ulsan.
Therefore, we wonder if anyone – outside of Korea – with a keen sense of reverence and missionary spirit would come to help. The newly found Parish of St. Dionysios, with its forty newly baptized Christians, and whose average age does not exceed the age of forty, (including all those who work at the shipyards in Ulsan– Greeks, Russians, Ukrainians and Romanians) makes this appeal to every member of the Orthodox Church by repeating the biblical verse: “Come to Korea and help us” (Acts 16:9) Immediately after this vision, St. Paul rushed to Macedonia with his companions to offer his assistance to the newly found church there. Who will rush to Korea immediately? We pray for and expect a miracle to happen.
Athanasia D. Kontogiannakopoulou