• Outline of Visit
  • The 6th Asian Youth Day
  • Overview of Beatification
  • Lives of the 124 Korean Martyrs
  • Mass for Peace and Reconciliation
HOME > Pilgrimage > Lives of the 124 Korean Martyrs
Rise up in splendor! (Isaiah 60,1)
Lives of the 124 Korean Martyrs
Kim Won-jung (Stephen)
Date of birth Sex man Place of birth Jincheon Chungcheong-do Position/Status
Age Date or martyrdom Dec. 16, 1866 Place of martyrdom Gongju Chungcheong-do Mode of martyrdom hanging
 Stephen Kim Won-jung who lived in Balaegi, Jincheon, Chungcheong-do (now, Myeongam-ri, Baekgok-myeon, Jincheon-gun, Chungbuk) was kind and gentle by nature and his faith in God was well-known among the Catholics. His cousin Peter Kim Seon-hwa lived next door.
   When the Byeongin Persecution broke out in 1866, the Jincheon government office was informed about the Catholics in Balaegi. The chief official sent them a message and ordered them to; “Surrender all Catholic books to the government office as a sign that you will abandon your religion and surrender yourself to the police." After this notice, many Balaegi Catholics who were surprised and frightened brought their books to the chief official and pledged not to believe in their religion anymore.
   However, Stephen Kim refused to obey saying, "I am a Catholic. How is it possible to renounce the Catholic Church?" He also refused to submit his books and go to the police. Upon hearing such news all the Catholics including non-believers of Balaegi blamed him for the danger that this might cause to them. Stephen Kim accepted all blame and criticism.
   On November 10, 1866 (October 4, by the Lunar calendar), the authorities sent another message and ordered all the Catholics of Balaegi to appear at the government office. Stephen Kim said to the Catholics; "If we go, we will all die. Only those who have faith strong enough to die for God should go."
   The following day, when the police came, ten people among the Catholics of Balaegi including Stephen Kim surrendered themselves and were arrested on the spot. At the government office, the chief official asked them; "To whom do those books belong that you brought here some days ago?" Stephen Kim replied, "They are mine." Though he did not bring any book. Then the police immediately imprisoned him. But all, except Sin Seong-sun the catechist and two others, pledged to abandon their religion.
   The Jincheon government office imprisoned them for 25 days, and on December 6 (October 30, by the Lunar calendar), transferred them to Gongju. Stephen Kim wrote to his younger brother before he was sent to Gongju; "I am prepared to die for the Lord. Try to be a faithful Catholic. Let us meet in Heaven."
   To his wife he wrote:
   "We are all creatures of God. You take good care of the children, and obey the Lord day and night. After death, let us meet in Heaven. I have no merit to die a martyr, but, I trust in the Lord and hope to go to Heaven. Do not expect to meet me again in this world"
   The governor of Gongju imprisoned Stephen Kim and his companions immediately. It is not known what kind of punishment they were given. Nevertheless, it is clear that all of them professed their faith to the end. They were hanged and martyred on December 16, 1866 (November 10, by the Lunar calendar).
   The younger brother of Stephen Kim came to Gongju to find the bodies of the four martyrs and buried them in an appropriate place.