• 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
Yi Jung-bae (Martin)
Date of birth 1751 Sex man Place of birth Yeoju Gyeonggi-do Position/Status N.C.F.
Age 50 Date or martyrdom Apr. 25, 1801 Place of martyrdom Yeoju Gyeonggi-do Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Martin Yi Jung-bae was born in Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do to a noble family. He was strong and courageous and had a cheerful character, but at the same time, he was quite violent and hot tempered. However, his temperament changed completely after he became a Catholic.
   Martin Yi heard about the Catholic religion in 1797, for the first time, from Josaphat Kim Geon-sun who was a close friend of his cousin John Won Gyeong-do. Martin Yi accepted the Catholic teaching quickly and taught it to his father and wife. He stopped offering the ancestral rites as directed by the teaching of the Church and eagerly professed his faith in God without fear, as he was brave by nature.
   On Easter Sunday in 1800, Martin Yi went to visit a friend with his cousin John. They prayed the Angelus and sang hymns together. At that time, the magistrate of Yeoju, who was determined to root out the Catholic religion from his region, was informed about the prayer meeting. Upon receiving the secret report, the magistrate immediately dispatched police to arrest the Catholics at their prayer meeting.
   As soon as Martin Yi and the other believers were taken to the government office, the police interrogated and tortured them to force them to betray God. Under such harsh treatment they stood firm in their faith and were inspired by the courage and heroism Martin Yi showed to the persecutor.
   Martin Yi was put in prison for six months during which he endured terrible interrogations and torture. Despite that he never lost courage, but remained strong. He encouraged the other Catholics to persevere in their faith in God. When the elderly female servant of his cousin John came to the prison to try to persuade him, he scolded her severely and asked her to return home. Martin Yi tried to persuade his father with the following words:
   “Dear father, I am not forgetting the duty of filial piety. You are a Catholic too. if you consider it from this special perspective, you will not renounce God our Father because of human affection."
   Martin Yi had some knowledge of medicine. But the medical knowledge he showed in prison was something very unusual. It was more like a miracle that could not be explained in human words. The prison was crowded with people who came to see him and everybody was amazed by the results of his treatment.
   In October 1800 Martin Yi and his Catholic companions were transferred to the Gyeonggi governor`s office and went through severe interrogation and torture again. As the Shinyu Persecution broke out on the following year, the governor of Gyeonggi called them out for interrogation and torture and tried to force them to betray God. Martin Yi and his companions did not obey but overcame all temptations by encouraging one another.
   The governor asked them to write their final statement and submitted it to the royal court which ordered that the accused `be sent to their hometown to be executed in order to turn people against the Catholic religion`. Martin Yi and his companions were transferred to Yeoju, their hometown. They were beheaded and died martyrs on April 25, 1801 (March 13, by the Lunar calendar). Martin Yi was about 50 years old.
   The following is an excerpt from the written sentence of death that was submitted to the royal court:
   "He was so deeply imbued with the Catholic religion that he destroyed the ancestral tablet. Therefore he deserves death ten thousand times."