• 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
Pak Sang-geun (Matthias)
Date of birth 1837 Sex man Place of birth Mungyeong Gyeongsang-do Position/Status Petty official M.C.F.
Age 30 Date or martyrdom Jan. 1867 Place of martyrdom Sangju Gyeongsang-do Mode of martyrdom hanging
 Matthias Pak Sang-geun was a petty official of the provincial town of Mungyeong, Gyeongsang-do. He accepted the Catholic faith in middle age and became a Catholic. From then on he observed the Catholic teaching faithfully. He worked at the government office, so he could help Catholics in difficulties.
   Matthias Pak taught the catechism with a passion to his aunt Mary Hong, his relatives and neighbors. Besides, whenever he heard a non-Catholic child was in danger of death, he baptized them. He himself was blessed to be baptized by Father N. Calais.
   When the Byeongin Persecution broke out in 1866, Matthias Pak went to buy hulled millet in Hansil (now, Seongnae-ri, Maseong-myeon, Mungyeong-si, Gyeongbuk), in the middle of March, where Father Calais was hiding, and took the priest to his home in Mungyeong to hide him.
   Three days later Matthias Pak returned to Hansil with Father Calais to find a new place to hide him. When they reached the top of the hill Father Calais, looking down on Hansil, asked Matthias Pak to return home. Father Calais made this request because he did not want to put Matthias Pak in danger. But Matthias Pak said to the priest, weeping:
   “Father, how can I leave you alone? If Hansil were attacked, where would you go? You have no place to hide, do you not? So I cannot leave you alone and go back home. I will go with you. If you have to die here, I will follow you willingly."
   Matthias Pak accepted Father Calais` order and they parted. After he returned home, he was arrested with his aunt Mary and his relative Magdalene Pak, and they were taken to Sangju. As soon as he arrived in Sangju the magistrate interrogated and tortured him to force him to betray God. But he professed his faith with determination, saying, "I believe in God." He did not yield to any threat or punishment.
   There were many Catholics in the Sangju prison who had been arrested in the vicinity of Mungyeong. He encouraged them saying, "Let us follow the teaching of the Lord." Many believers decided to die for God thanks to his encouragement and prayers. In January 1867 (December 1866, by the Lunar calendar), Matthias Pak was hanged in prison on the order of the magistrate and died a martyr. He was 30 years old.
   Matthias Pak made the sign of the cross and called on Jesus and Mary before he was hanged. His family came to take his body and buried it in his hometown.