Pope Takes Korean Gifts to Vatican

Pope Francis returned to Vatican on Monday after ending his five-day visit to Korea. He received a warm welcome here from people from all walks of life. The pontiff reportedly took all the gifts he received with him to Vatican as a reminder of people's good will and affection.

The pontiff was given a wooden lacquerware crucifix by Metropolitan Ambrose-Aristotle Zographos of the Greek Orthodox Church in Korea in a meeting at Coste Hall of Myeongdong Cathedral on Monday morning.

It was a significant offering in the 1,500 year-long history of conflict and reconciliation between the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.

A priest of the Greek Orthodox Church said, "The pope used this crucifix during his mass" in Seoul.

Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-jong, chair of the Committee to Promote Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, presented the pope with two seals engraved with the papal coat of arms and the pope's name "Francisco," and with a calligraphic artwork of the papal apostolic motto "MISERANDO ATQUE ELIGENDO" ("by having mercy and by choosing").

The seals were engraved by Lee Si-kyu, a craftsman who also engraved seals for Queen Elizabeth II of the U.K. and U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife.

Another gift was a portrait of the pope embroidered by a disabled woman, which the pontiff received when he visited a Catholic charity village for the homeless and disabled in Eumseong, North Chungcheong Province.

The woman, who is totally paralyzed below the waist and can only move her upper body slightly, had spent three months on the portrait after she heard about the pope's visit.

The pope also took with him origami cranes made by a woman with her toes, and a framed painting by an elderly woman who was forced into sexual slavery by the imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 20, 2014 13:07 KST