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Pope Francis honours 124 Korean martyrs

Posted February. 10, 2014 03:55,   


The Vatican said on Saturday Pope Francis approved the beautification of Paul Yoon Ji-chung and his 123 colleagues, who are martyrs of the Korean Catholic Church. The Korean Catholic has thus a highly auspicious occasion for the first time in 30 years since the canonization ceremony for 103 people including Father Kim Dae-geon in 1984. Beautification is proclamation of martyrs and contributors are respected by the Church, and those beautified are canonized afterwards.

Yoon Ji-chung (1759-1791), who became a Catholic due to influence by his cousin Jeong Yak-yong, was executed due to denial to hold ancestral rituals to follow the religious doctrine, and is recorded as the first Catholic martyr of Korea. The 123 people who will be beautified jointly with Yoon are martyrs who died between 1791 and 1888.

In the wake of the announcement of beautification, chances are high that the Pope will host the beautification ceremony in person by visiting Korea. The canonization ceremony for 103 people in 1984 was hosted by Pope John Paul II, who visited Korea at the time. In this regard, Asia News, the Vatican’s overseas missionary media outlet, said, “The Pope will visit Korea on August 13 and will host the beautification ceremony on August 15.” Some foreign news outlets, including the Associated Press, quoted this media as saying that “the Pope will host a Mass that will pray for unification of the two Koreas during his visit to South Korea.”

Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, the Archbishop of Seoul, said on Sunday, “Many of the beautified martyrs sacrificed their life to improve gender equality and human rights by overcoming the social class system. Let us make a beautiful world where people love and respect each other as the community of these martyrs.”