Posted by: rbbadger | February 13, 2009

Korean saints

In 1984, Pope John Paul II visited Korea on the occasion of the Catholic Church in Korea’s bicentennial.  On that occasion, he canonised St. Andrew Kim Taegon, St. Paul Chong Hasang, and their 103 companions, all martyred during the persecutions of Catholics in the 19th century.  Included among the martyrs were some French missionary priests and bishops.  However, most of the martyrs were Korean.

In many Korean Catholic parishes, you will see an image of St. Andrew Kim Taegon, first Korean ever to be ordained a Catholic priest.  He was baptised about age15.  His parents had converted to Catholicism as well.  St. Andrew’s father suffered martyrdom along with his son.  St. Andrew is always depicted in the traditional Korean clothing of a nobleman, but with the stole of a priest.  There is a statue of him in Seoul’s Myeong-dong Cathedral, a massive one outside of the Jeoldusan Martyr’s Shrine, and many reproductions of this image in many Korean Catholic parishes and homes.



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