St. Andrew Kim Daegeon was a priest and St. Paul Cho˘ng Hasang was a layperson. These two martyrs represent the many Catholics who died for their faith in Korea. They were proclaimed saints by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Korea in 1984.
Christianity was brought to Korea by lay people in the seventeenth century. Believers quietly grew and flourished, nourishing their faith on the Word of God. Missionary priests arrived in Korea from France and introduced the Korean people to the sacramental life of the Church. Off and on throughout the nineteenth century the Christian faith came under attack by the Korean government. A total of 103 Korean Catholics were killed between 1839 and 1867. Ten members of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris were martyred too: three bishops and seven priests. This brought the total number of martyrs to 113.
St. Andrew Kim Daegeon and St. Paul Cho˘ng Hasang represent the courageous Korean Catholics who paid with their lives for their love for Christ. St. Andrew Kim Daegeon, the first Korean priest, was martyred on September 16, 1846, just a year after his ordination. Andrew’s father had been martyred in 1821. St. Paul Cho˘ng Hasang was a heroic lay catechist. He was martyred on September 22, 1846.
The Church continues to grow rapidly in Korea. The gift of faith is received and nurtured because of the sacrifices of the martyrs who paved the way.
-Daughters of St. Paul