Gwangju’s Cathedral, unlike those in the Diocese of Jeonju, the Diocese of Incheon, and the Archdioceses of Daegu and Seoul is not an old church. Rather, it is something from the 1960s or 1970s. I thought it might be something designed by famous Korean architect Kim Swoo Geun, but I’m not sure. It looks a bit like the very modern Kyungdong Presbyterian Church in Seoul. You can see photos of that church by clicking here.
Gwangju, like most Korean dioceses, was lead by various foreign bishops for a time. Many of them, bearing French names difficult for the population to pronounce, adopted Korean names. Archbishop Harold Henry, did, I believe, have a hand in building this church. Upon retiring as Archbishop of Gwangju in the 1970s, he went on to found the Catholic Diocese of Jeju on the island of Jeju-do. It is a sign, perhaps, of just how far the Church in Korea has come. Fifty years ago, foreign clergy were very common. Nowadays, they aren’t seen much at all.
While the exterior of the church may look stark and forbidding, the interior is very white.
If you look to the right, you can see the hymn board/scoreboard which disfigures many a Korean Catholic parish. And yes, women cover their heads here.