Wednesday, 20 September 2017

# Saints

Saint Andrew Kim Taegon

A statue of Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, the first Korean Catholic priest.

The 20th of September is the feast day of Saint Andrew Kim Taegon. He is the patron saint of Korea and the Korean clergy.

Saint Andrew Kim Taegon lived between 1821 to 1846 and was born in Korea to a noble family. His parents converted to the Catholic faith and he was baptised at the age of 15. His father, great-grandfather, and great-uncle were martyred due to the government's persecution against Christianity. This left the remaining family in poverty. He later travelled to China to be trained for the priesthood and was ordained in Shanghai and became the first native Korean priest. He had to return to Korea in secrecy so that he will avoid detection by the authorities. In his hometown, he started to catechise the faithful until the bishop asked him to come to Seoul to help smuggle French missionaries from China into Korea with the help of Chinese fishermen. However, he was caught and imprisoned by the border patrol and charged as a traitor, was tortured and finally beheaded on September 16, 1846, at the age of 25. On May 6, 1984, Fr Andrew Kim Taegon and 102 Korean martyrs were canonised by Pope Saint John Paul II.

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