The Catholic Church in Korea started when Yi Sŭnghun came back from China after he had been baptized. He met Yi Pyŏk and Chŏng Yakchŏn, and together they built a faith community. The community remained viable even after small and large persecutions (about 10) during the almost 100 year long period starting with the Sinhae persecution (辛亥迫害) of 1791 (King Chŏngjo, reign year 14), followed by the four major persecutions in 1801 (King Sunjo, reign year 1) the Sinyu persecution (辛酉迫害), in 1839 (King Hŏnjong, reign year 5) the Kihae persecution (己亥迫害), in 1846 (King Hŏnjong, reign year 12) the Pyŏngo persecution (丙午迫害), and 1866 (King Kojong reign year 3) the Pyŏngin (丙寅迫害), thus martyring a lot of believers.
The first major persecution started in 1801 in the valley of Kanyang of Kanyang-ni, Yesan-ŭp, Yesan-gun, South Ch’ungch’ŏng Province (Korean: 충청남도, Ch’ungch’ŏng namdo), in which over 300 Catholics were executed. From 1801 to 1834, like sheep without a shepherd, the scattered Catholics were wandering in the wilderness without knowing where to go. They found a nest in the valley to hide and built a village for their fellow believers. The Catholic Church of Korea finally acquired freedom for mission by the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Korea and France of 1886.