A ceremony of investiture of a metropolitan archbishop with the pallium, a symbol of a special relationship with the pope, took place on Monday for the first time in South Korea.
Peter Chung Soon-taick, the Archbishop of Seoul, received the archiepiscopal pallium from Apostolic Nuncio to South Korea Alfred Xuereb during a mass at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul.
The pallium is a symbol of the metropolitan archbishop’s jurisdiction in his own diocese and in the other dioceses of his ecclesiastical province.
Chung officially assumed the role of the Archbishop of Seoul 11 months ago, following the retirement of Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, the 13th Archbishop of Seoul.
While delivering Pope Francis’ congratulatory messages, Apostolic Nuncio to South Korea Alfred Xuereb explained why the ceremony took place in Seoul.
“Starting from 2015, the Pope decided to confer the pallium on metropolitan archbishops in their own diocese to emphasize the bonds of local churches and the apostle,” he said.
Before 2015, the public ceremonies of the investiture of metropolitan archbishops with the pallium took place in the Vatican.
The pope blesses and awards the pallium on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, which falls on June 29, every year. Chung was among the 44 archbishops from 32 countries who were named over the 12 months leading up to June 29.
"The pallium represents the agreement between the authority of an archbishop of the district and the pope. It is not mine, but it belongs to the Archdiocese of Seoul," Chung said during the mass. "Spiritually, I think it reminds us of 'the order of the church to carry the cross of Christ' and 'the duty of a shepherd who takes care of weak and marginalized ones'," he added.
Chung can only wear the woolen band around his shoulders within the Archdiocese of Seoul and its sub-districts in Chuncheon, Daejeon, Incheon, Suwon and Uijeongbu.
Born in 1961, Chung has been serving as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang since December 2021.