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Saints of the Day – 20 September – Martyrs of Korea: St Andrew Kim Taegon, St Paul Chong Hasang & Companions – 103 saints and beati

Saints of the Day – 20 September – Martyrs of Korea: St Andrew Kim Taegon, St Paul Chong Hasang & Companions – 103 saints and beati.   The Korean Martyrs were the victims of religious persecution against Catholic Christians during the 19th century in Korea.  At least 8,000 (as many as 10,000) adherents to the faith were killed during this period, 103 of whom were canonised en masse in May 1984 by St Pope John Paul.

St Andrew Kim Taegon was born to the Korean nobility;  his parents were converts to Christianity and his father was martyred.   Andrew was baptised at age 15, then travelled 1,300 miles to the nearest seminary in Macao, China.   He became the first native Korean priest and the first priest to die for the faith in Korea.   He was the leader of the Martyrs of Korea.   (21 August 1821, Solmoi, Chungcheong-do, South Korea – tortured and beheaded on 16 September 1846 at Saenamteo, Seoul, Korea).   He is the Patron of the Korean clergy.

St Paul Chong Hasan was the son of Yak Jong Church who was martyred in 1801 in the persecution of Shin-Yu, an attack on the faith that killed all the clergy in the country.   Son of Saint Yu Cecilia;  brother of Saint Jung Hye.   Paul, though a layman, reunited the scattered Christians and encouraged them to keep their faith and live their faith.   He wrote the Sang-Je-Sang-Su which explained to the Korean government why the Church was no threat to them.   He crossed into China nine times, working as a servant to the Korean diplomatic corps.   There he worked to get the bishop of Beijing to send more priests to Korea.   He pleaded directly to Rome for help and on 9 September 1831, Pope Gregory X proclaimed the validity of the Korean Catholic diocese.   When the clergy began to return, Paul entered the seminary.   However, he died in the Gi Hye persecution of 1839 before he could be ordained.   He is regarded as one of the great founders of the Catholic Church in Korea.   (1795 in Korea – martyred on 22 September 1839).  He is the Patron of the Catholic Laity and various apostolates and movements in Korea.

Saints- Adnrew Kim Taegon_Paul Chong Hasang - HEADER (1)

Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and 101 Companions:
The Christian community first began to take shape when Yi Sung-hun started to study Christian doctrine by himself and was eventually baptised and given the name Peter in 1784.   Because of their belief in the Christian God, the first Korean Christians were persecuted repeatedly, rejected by their families and suffered a loss of their social rank. Despite persecutions, the faith continued to spread.

The Christian community in Korea was given the assistance of two Chinese priests but their ministry was short-lived and another forty years passed before the Paris Foreign Mission Society began its work in Korea with the arrival of Father Mauban in 1836.   A delegation was selected and sent to Beijing on foot, 750 miles, in order to ask the Bishop of Beijing to send them bishops and priests.   The same appeal was made to the Holy Father in Rome.   Serious dangers awaited the missionaries who dared to enter Korea. The bishops and priests who confronted this danger, as well as the lay Christians who aided and sheltered them, were in constant threat of losing their lives.

In fact, until the granting of religious liberty in Korea in 1886, there was a multitude of “disciples who shed their blood, in imitation of Christ Our Lord and who willingly submitted to death, for the salvation of the world” (Lumen Gentium, 42).   Among those who died and later labelled as martyrs, were eleven priests and ninety-two lay people who would be canonised as saints.

Bishop Laurent Imbert and ten other French missionaries were the first Paris Foreign Mission Society priests to enter Korea and to embrace a different culture for the love of God.   During the daytime, they kept in hiding but at night they travelled about on foot attending to the spiritual needs of the faithful and administering the sacraments.

The first Korean priest, Andrew Kim Tae-gon, prompted by his faith in God and his love for the Christian people, found a way to make the difficult task of a missionary entry into Korea.  However, just thirteen months after his ordination he was put to death by the sword when he was just 26 years old and the holy oils of ordination were still fresh on his hands.

Paul Chong Ha-sang, Augustine Yu Chin-gil and Charles Cho Shin-chol had made several visits to Beijing in order to find new ways of introducing missionaries into Korea. Since the persecution of 1801, there had been no priest to care for the Christian community. Finally, they succeeded in opening a new chapter in the history of the extension of the Church in Korea with the arrival of a bishop and ten priests of the Paris Foreign Mission Society.


Among the martyrs honoured were fifteen virgins, including the two sisters Agnes Kim Hyo-ju and Columba Kim Hyo-im who loved Jesus with undivided heart (I Cor.7, 32–34).   These women, in an era when Christian religious life was still unknown in Korea, lived in community and cared for the sick and the poor.   Similarly, John Yi Kwang-hyol died a martyr’s death after having lived a life of celibacy in consecrated service to the Church.


It is also important to recall in a special way some of the other martyrs who were canonised that day:  Damien Nam Myong-hyok and Maria Yi Yon-hui were models of family life;  John Nam Chong-sam, though of high social rank, was a model of justice, chastity and poverty;  John Pak Hu-jae who, after he lost his parents in the persecutions, learnt to survive by making straw sandals;  Peter Kwon Tug-in who devoted himself to meditation;  Anna Pak A-gi who, although she did not have a deep grasp of Christian doctrine, was wholly devoted to Jesus and His Blessed Mother;  and finally, Peter Yu Tae-chol who at the tender age of 13, bravely confessed his faith and died a andrew kim

More than 10,000 martyrs died in persecutions which extended over more than one hundred years.  Of all these martyrs, seventy-nine were beatified in 1925.   They had died in the persecutions of 1839 (Ki-hae persecution), 1846 (Pyong-o persecution) and 1866 (Pyong-in persecution). In addition, twenty-four martyrs were beatified in 1968.   All together, 103 martyrs were canonised on 6 May 1984-on the shores of the Han River and in view of the martyrs’ shrines at Saenamto and Choltusan, where they went to their eternal reward

Here are the names of all 103:
Peter Yi Hoyong
Protasius Chong Kukbo
Magdalena Kim Obi
Anna Pak Agi
Agatha Yi Sosa
Agatha Kim Agi
Augustine Yi Kwanghon
Barbara Han Agi
Lucia Pak Huisun
Damian Nam Myonghyok
Peter Kwon Tugin
Joseph Chang Songjib
Barbara Kim
Barbara Yi
Rosa Kim Nosa
Martha Kim Songim
Teresa Yi Maeim
Anna Kim Changgum
John Baptist Yi Kwangnyol
Magdalena Yi Yonghui
Lucia Kim Nusia
Maria Won Kwiim
Maria Pak Kunagi
Barbara Kwon Hui
Johannes Pak Hujae
Barbara Yi Chonghui
Maria Yi Yonhui
Agnes Kim Hyochu
Francis Choe Kyonghwan
Laurent-Marie-Joseph Imbert
Pierre-Philibert Maubant
Jacques-Honoré Chastan
Paul Chong Hasang
Augustine Yu Chinkil
Magdalena Ho Kyeim
Sebastian Nam Igwan
Kim Iulitta
Agatha Chon Kyonghyob
Charles Cho Shinchol
Ignatius Kim Chejun
Magdalena Pak Pongson
Perpetua Hong Kimju
Columba Kim Hyoim
Lucia Kim Kopchu
Catherine Yi
Magdalena Cho
Peter Yu Taechol
Cecilia Yu Sosa
Barbara Cho Chungi
Magdalena Han Yongi
Peter Choe Changhub
Benedicta Hyong Kyongnyon
Elizabeth Chong Chonghye
Barbara Ko Suni
Magdalena Yi Yongdok
Teresa Kim
Agatha Yi
Stephan Min Kukka
Andrew Chong Hwagyong
Paul Ho Hyob
Augustine Pak Chongwon
Peter Hong Pyongju
Magdalena Son Sobyok
Agatha Yi Kyongi
Maria Yi Indok
Agatha Kwon Chini
Paul Hong Yongju
Johannes Yi Munu
Barbara Choe Yongi
Anthony Kim Songu
Andrew Kim Taegon
Charles Hyon Songmun
Peter Nam Kyongmun
Lawrence Han Ihyong
Susanna U Surim
Joseph Im Chipek
Teresa Kim Imi
Agatha Yi Kannan
Catherina Chong Choryom
Peter Yu Chongnyul
Siméon-François Berneux
Simon-Marie-Just Ranfer de Bretenières
Pierre-Henri Dorie
Louis Beaulieu
John Baptist Nam Chongsam
John Baptist Chon Changun
Peter Choe Hyong
Mark Chong Uibae
Alexis U Seyong
Marie-Nicolas-Antoine Daveluy
Martin-Luc Huin
Pierre Aumaitre
Joseph Chang Chugi
Lucas Hwang Soktu
Thomas Son Chason
Bartholomew Chong Munho
Peter Cho Hwaso
Peter Son Sonji
Peter Yi Myongso
Joseph Han Wonso
Peter Chong Wonji
Joseph Cho Yunho
Johannes Yi Yunil

martyrs of korea





Passionate Catholic. Being a Catholic is a way of life - a love affair "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site, which is now using the Traditional Calendar, will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. This Site is placed under the Patronage of my many favourite Saints and especially, St Paul. "For the Saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings. PLEASE ADVISE ME OF ANY GLARING TYPOS etc - In June 2021 I lost 95% sight in my left eye and sometimes miss errors. Thank you and I pray all those who visit here will be abundantly blessed. Pax et bonum! 🙏

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