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St. Andrew Kim Taegon

St. Andrew Kim Taegon by Julie Lonneman

Artist Narrative:

Andrew Kim Taegon's parents were Korean nobles who converted to Christianity. His father was also a martyr. After his baptism at age the age of 15, he attended the seminary in Macao, 1,300 miles from home. At his ordination, he became Korea's first native priest. Andrew Kim Taegon was the leader of the Martyrs of Korea, and the first priest to die for the faith in that land.

"The Korean Church is unique because it was founded entirely by lay people. This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could boast of 10,000 martyrs. The death of these martyrs became the leaven of the Church and led to today's splendid flowering of the Church in Korea. Even today their undying spirit sustains the Christians in the Church of silence in the north of this tragically divided land."
—Saint John Paul II, speaking at the canonization.

Korea, 1821-1846.

His feast day is September 20.

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Andrew was born of Korean nobility; his parents were converts, his father a martyr. Andrew was baptized at age 15, he then travelled 1,300 miles to the nearest seminary in Macao. He became Korea's first native priest, and the first priest to die for the faith in Korea. Andrew is a leader of the Martyrs of Korea. 

The evangelization of Korea began during the 17th century through a group of lay persons. A strong vital Christian community flourished there under lay leadership until missionaries arrived from the Paris Foreign Mission Society. 

During the terrible persecutions that occurred in the 19th century (in 1839, 1866, and 1867), one hundred and three members of the Christian community gave their lives as martyrs. Outstanding among these witnesses to the faith were the first Korean priest and pastor, Andrew Kim Taegon, and the lay apostle, Paul Chong Hasang. 

Among the other martyrs were a few bishops and priests, but for the most part lay people, men and women, married and unmarried, children, young people, and the elderly. All suffered greatly for the Faith and consecrated the rich beginnings of the Church of Korea with their blood as martyrs. 

Saint John Paul II, during his trip to Korea, canonized these martyrs on May 6, 1984, and inserted their feast into the Calendar of the Universal Church. 

Born: 1821 

Died: Tortured and beheaded in 1846 at Seoul, Korea 

Name Meaning: Strong, manly (Andrew) 

Beatified: 1925 

Canonized: May 6, 1984 by Saint John Paul II