Religion: Old and New

Christian evangelists, PM 2003.17.83
Buddhist monk, PM 2003.17.2943
Man consulting fortune teller, PM 2003.17.3002
Nun arriving in Pusan, PM 2003.17.1808
Poster advertising palm-reading and physiognomy, PM 2003.17.3016
Cardinal Spellman visiting Pusan, PM 2003.17.1792
Christian choir. PM 2003.17.2639
Orphans praying, PM 2003.17.2382

The war brought about major transformations in religious life. Christian refugees fled religious persecution in the communist north, swelling the number of believers in the south. Protestant and Catholic churches and relief agencies rushed to offer assistance. Indeed, pictured speaking here, Catholic Cardinal Francis Joseph Spellman made regular Christmas visits to Pusan, both to rally the troops and promote the gospel.

New religions began to spring up in the war’s aftermath. U.N. Turkish soldiers held Korea’s first Muslim service in a Quonset hut. The Reverend Sun Myung Moon built the first Unification Church in Pusan with discarded army ration boxes. Yet alongside these dramatic changes, traditional beliefs and practices, such as fortunetelling and Buddhist monasticism, continued to provide solace and inspiration.