Religions prepare for centennial of March 1

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Religions prepare for centennial of March 1

Korean religious circles are busy making preparations to mark the upcoming centennial of the March 1, 1919, independence movement against Japanese colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula in the early 20th century.

Religious people spearheaded the independence movement a century ago.

In fact, all 33 national representatives who jointly announced the March 1 Declaration of Independence, were religious men - 16 Christians, 15 Cheondoists and two Buddhists. The declaration touched off nationwide struggles for independence.

The Korean Conference of Religions for Peace (KCRP), an association of the country’s seven largest religious groups, will host a seminar on past independence movements around the world at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul on Feb. 18.

Participants will visit historic sites related to the nonviolent uprising, including Tapgol Park, where the independence declaration was announced, and Seodaemun Prison, where thousands of Korean independence fighters were imprisoned and tortured during Japanese colonial rule (1910-45).

The following day, the KCRP will hold an international peace prayer to honor the movement at the border station of Dorasan in Paju, north of Seoul, with local religious leaders and 70 foreign religious dignitaries and historians to attend the service.

The NCCK plans to announce a Korean Christian charter titled “Korean Christians’ Confessions and Resolutions on the occasion of the Centennial of the March 1 Movement.”

Buddhist and Cheondoist orders are also planning seminars, exhibitions and services to mark the centennial of the movement.

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