St. Andrew and Martyrs (Korean Chapel)

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St. Andrew and Martyrs (Korean Chapel)

This Chapel is to honour St Andrew Kim Taegon (the first Korean priest) and the 103 Korean Martyrs who witnessed to Christ with their very lives.

Holy Son and Mother in Korean Traditional Costume,
St. Andrew Kim Tae-Geon (1821-1846)
and 103 Saints of Korea

Since its foundation some 5,000 years ago, Korea has preserved its unique history and culture. Geographically Korea is located in a peninsular between China and Japan, and it has developed ties with these countries through cultural exchanges.

Catholicism was first introduced to Korea by Korean intellectuals in the 17th century. Through studying Catholic books published in China by Jesuit Fathers, they came to consider Catholicism as a new interpretation of Early Confucianism and embraced it with faith. They practised it by themselves and believed the new religion complemented what was lacking in Early Confucianism. One of them, Mr Seung-hun Yi, went to Beijing to be baptised, and on his return to Korea, he founded a Christian community. This was in October 1784. With this historical event, we can affirm that the Catholic Church in Korea was established not by European missionaries but by the spontaneous efforts of Korean people.

The Church was developed through the efforts of Korean believers. Those who led in the early stage of the Church belonged to the noble class. However, from the beginning, the Church’s door was opened to everyone regardless of social standing. Soon the majority of the faithful, as well as the leadership of the community, became non-privileged people who were oppressed by the ruling class at that time.

The Catholic Church in Korea was suppressed from its early days because the government considered Catholicism to be opposed to Neo-Confucianism, which was the guiding ideal of the government at that time. The principle of equality of all humanity which Catholics perused, was judged as a dangerous belief that contravened the hierarchical social system. Furthermore, contact by Catholics with foreigners without the government’s permission was regarded as a criminal act. The newly born Church, seeking communion with the universal Church, was in contact with the Vicar Apostolic of Beijing.

About 10,000 of the faithful martyrs died in persecutions that lasted more than one hundred years. Among them, 103 martyrs, including the first Korean priest Father Andrew Kim Tae-Geon, were canonised on Mary 6th, 1984, in Seoul, Korea, by Pope John Paul II.

In 1882, tacit consent was given to the freedom of religion for Catholics, and this freedom was officially recognised in 1895. The Korean Catholic Community of Brisbane and the Gold Coast, led by Fr. Paul Seong-Kil Lee and Fr. Michael In-Rae Cho, raised this Chapel with the full support of Fr. Andrew J. Dambiki, Fr. Anthony David and Fr. Gabriel Taylor of Marian Valley.

The Statue of the Holy Son and Mother in traditional Korean costume, the statue of St. Andrew Kim Tae-Geon (1821-1846), and the relief of 103 Saints of Korea were blessed by the Bishop of Andong Diocese, Korea, on September 12, 2004.

(Artist for the statue of the Holy Son and Mother in Korean traditional costume: Sung-Kwon Park 2004)

한복 입으신 성모자상
김대건 안드레아 성인상
103위 한국 성인 부조

반만년의 유구한 역사와 문화를 이어 온 한국은 중국과 일본 사이에 있는 다리 역할을 하는 반도입니다. 따라서 이들 국가와의 다양한 교류와 역사의 소용돌이 속에서 한민족은 살아왔습니다.

17세기에 한국의 실학자들은 중국의 서적이나 서양의 문물을 통해서 천주교를 알게 되었습니다. 이들은 천주교를 처음부터 하나의 종료로 믿고 받아들인 것이 아니라 하나의 학문으로 생각하였습니다. 그래서 천주학 혹은 서학이라고 하였습니다.

시간이 지나면서 젊은 실학자들은 이것이 학문이 아니라 종교라는 것을 깨닫게 되었고, 이 천주교의 사랑과 평등 사상을 사회 발전을 위한 하나의 희망이라고 믿게 되었습니다. 그런 와중에, 이승훈이라는 사람이 중국 북경에 사신으로 가게 되었는데, 이 때 북경 성당에서 베드로라는 이름으로 세계를 받게 되었습니다. 이 때가 1784년 이었습니다.

한국 천주교는 서양의 선교사에 의해서 들어온 것이 아니라 젊은 학자들이 천주교 서적을 연구하다가 하나의 종교로 받아들였고, 이 천주교 사상이 사회를 개혁시킬 수 있다고 믿게 되었습니다.

이후 유교 사상과 천주교 신앙이 충돌하여 100여 년 동안 박해를 받았고, 1만 여명이 순교하였으며, 그 중 103분을 성인으로 공경하고 있습니다.

이에 브리즈번과 골드코스트의 한국인 천주교 공동체는 선조들의 신앙과 순교자들을 기념하기 위해, 이 마리안 밸리에 103위 성인 부조와 한인 최초의 사제이신 성 김대건 안드레아 상과 한복 입으신 성모자 상을 건립합니다.

년 9월 12일