Commemorating a Martyred Priest

South Korea

On 20 August, 2021, Korea Post celebrated the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Kim Taegŏn (金大建, 1821-1846), the first Korean Roman Catholic priest, and a martyr. He was a member of a yangban or aristocratic family who had converted secretly to Catholicism, which was banned and persecuted in Korea until the end of the nineteenth century. He was born in what is now Tangjin County (唐津郡) in South Ch’ungch’ŏng Province (忠淸南道) on what would be 21 August, 1821. He was baptised at the age of fifteen and given the baptismal name of Andrea (안드레아) or Andrew.

Fig. 1: Souvenir sheet for KoreaPost issue 3531 (20 August 2021)

He trained for the priesthood for nine years, during which time he studied in Macau and in the Philippines. He was ordained a priest in December 1844 in Shanghai by Bishop Jean-Joseph-Jean-Baptiste Ferréol (1808-1853) who was the Vicar Apostolic of Corea and a member of the Society for Foreign Missions of Paris (SMEP). He returned to Korea, was discovered, and executed on 16 September, 1846.

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