• 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 Hyeon (Anthony)
Date of birth Sex man Place of birth Yeoju Gyeonggi-do Position/Status N.C.F.
Age Date or martyrdom Jul. 2, 1801 Place of martyrdom Small West Gate Seoul Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Anthony Yi Hyeon was born to a noble family in Yeoju. Gyeonggi-do. He obtained religion books soon after the Catholic religion was introduced to Korea and studied them diligently. After that he frequented Josaphat Kim Geon-sun‘s house where his uncle Luke Yi Hui-yeong was living. He began to learn the catechism from Kim Geon-sun in the autumn of 1797.
   Anthony Yi gradually understood that the Catholic doctrine was the truth. He then went up to Seoul and visited Philip Hong Pil-ju. He learned more catechism and was baptized by Father James Zhou Wen-mo. He became acquainted with Barnabas Jeong Gwang-su, Peter Choe Pil-je, and Francis Kim Jong-gyo, and together they practiced the religion and participated in prayer meetings.
   Later on Anthony Yi married the daughter of Anthony Hong Ik-man, so he became the brother-in-law of Philip Hong Pil-ju. In the winter of 1800 his parents died. Shortly after the Shinyu Persecution broke out in 1801 Anthony Yi was arrested with his Catholic friends, and they were taken to the Police Headquarters for interrogation. Prior to this his uncle Luke Yi, was also arrested and executed after being interrogated and tortured.
   Anthony Yi did not say anything harmful to the Church. But as the interrogation and torture continued he became weak, momentarily, and said `he would give up his religion`, But he did not tell where the other believers were.
   After that he was transferred to the Justice Ministry where he repented his mistake at the Police Headquarters. As he had to undergo interrogation and torture again, he was resolved to profess his faith and to give his life for God. The persecutors tried hard to make him betray God by continuous interrogation and torture, but they did not succeed.
   Anthony Yi was taken outside the Small West Gate in Seoul with other Catholics and they were all beheaded and died martyrs. It was on July 2, 1801 (May 22, by the Lunar calendar). The following is an excerpt from his last statement before he was sentenced to death:
   "I have been deeply moved while reading and studying the religion books with my Church companions for four years. …… I have believed in the Catholic religion for many years and I love it. Therefore, I will not renounce my faith in God no matter what punishment I am given."