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Andrew Kim Taegon
St. Andrew Kim Taegon
A statue of Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, the First Korean Catholic priest.
|Patron Saint of Korea|
|Born||(1821-08-21)21 August 1821
Solmou, Dangjin, Korea
|Died||16 September 1846(1846-09-16) (aged 25)
Saenamteo, Hanseong, Joseon
(now Seoul, South Korea)
|Venerated in||Catholic Church
|Canonized||6 May 1984 by Pope John Paul II|
|Feast||16 September (Roman Martyrology)
20 September (together with the other Korean Martyrs)
|Andrew Kim Taegon|
|Revised Romanization||Gim Daegeon Andeurea|
|McCune–Reischauer||Kim Taegŏn Andǔrea|
Saint Andrew Kim Taegon (21 August 1821 – 16 September 1846), generally referred to as Saint Andrew Kim in English, was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is the patron saint of Korea, being canonized and made a saint with over 120 others on 6 May 1984. In the late 18th century, Roman Catholicism began to take root slowly in Korea and was introduced by scholars who visited China and brought back Western books translated into Chinese. In 1836 Korea saw its first consecrated missionaries (members of the Paris Foreign Missions Society) arrive, only to find out that the people there were already practicing Korean Catholics.
Born of yangban, Kim's parents were converts and his father was subsequently martyred for practising Christianity, a prohibited activity in heavily Confucian Korea. After being baptized at age 15, Kim studied at a seminary in the Portuguese colony of Macau. He also spent time in study at Lolomboy, Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines, where today he is also venerated. He was ordained a priest in Shanghai after nine years (1844) by the French bishop Jean-Joseph-Jean-Baptiste Ferréol. He then returned to Korea to preach and evangelize. During the Joseon Dynasty, Christianity was suppressed and many Christians were persecuted and executed. Catholics had to practise their faith covertly. Kim was one of several thousand Christians who were executed during this time. In 1846, at the age of 25, he was tortured and beheaded near Seoul on the Han River. His last words were:
This is my last hour of life, listen to me attentively: if I have held communication with foreigners, it has been for my religion and for my God. It is for Him that I die. My immortal life is on the point of beginning. Become Christians if you wish to be happy after death, because God has eternal chastisements in store for those who have refused to know Him.
Before Ferréol, the first bishop of Korea, died from exhaustion on 3 February 1853, he wanted to be buried beside Kim, stating, "You will never know how sad I was to lose this young native priest. I have loved him as a father loved his son; it is a consolation for me to think of his eternal happiness."
- "Roman Martyrology" (in Italian). The Vatican.
- Michael Walsh, ed. "Butler's Lives of the Saints" (HarperCollins Publishers: New York, 1991), p. 297.
- The Liturgy of the Hours Supplement (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1992, pp. 17–18.
- The Fathers of the London Oratory, tr., The New Glories of the Catholic Church, p.118, Richardson and Son, London, 1859
- "The Lives of the 103 Korean Martyr Saints (2): St. Kim Tae-gon Andrew," Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea Newsletter No. 27 (Summer 1999).
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