• 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 I-u (Barnabas)
Date of birth Sex man Place of birth Myeongryebang Seoul Position/Status Lay leader M.C.F.
Age Date or martyrdom May, 1801 (L.C.) Place of martyrdom Police Headquarters Seoul Mode of martyrdom beating
 Barnabas Kim I-u was born out of wedlock to a well known translator in Myeongryebang, Seoul. Thomas Kim Beom-u, who died in exile around 1786, was his eldest half-brother. Matthew Kim Hyeon-u, who was martyred outside the Small West Gate in Seoul in 1801, was his younger brother.
   Soon after the Catholic religion was established in Korea, Barnabas Kim learned about the Catholic doctrine from his half-brother Thomas Kim and became a Catholic. He lived as a faithful Catholic with his younger brother. It was Peter Yi Seung-hun who baptized both brothers. Their eldest brother Thomas Kim was exiled during the ‘Myeongryebang incident` that occurred in 1785, as a result, the two brothers had a hard life. However, they never gave up their religion, and kept practicing it secretly and praying constantly.
   When Father James Zhou Wen-mo entered Korea at the end of 1794, Barnabas Kim committed himself actively to Church activities, with his half-brother Matthew. They went to the house of Philip Hong Pil-ju to meet Father James Zhou. They formed a Catholic community with Thaddeus Jeong In-hyeok and Peter Choe Pil-je. They often prayed and studied Catholic teaching together.
   Later, when Father James Zhou had to escape from the dangers of the persecution, he offered his house as a refuge, and attended Mass. He joined the `Myeongdohoe`, an organization of laity formed by Father James Zhou, and took an active part in it. In 1800, Father James Zhou visited his house again and celebrated Mass. He himself made all the preparations necessary for Mass.
   Barnabas Kim was arrested with his brother Matthew during the Shinyu Persecution in 1801 and taken to the Police Headquarters. There he was interrogated and severely tortured to force him to give up the Catholic religion. The persecutors threatened him and questioned him about his past activities, because the government knew that his house was the meeting place of Catholics, and that he had hidden Father James Zhou Wen-mo.
   Barnabas Kim resisted with heroism and did not reveal anything, thanks to divine grace and his unshakable faith in God. He stood firm until the last moment. However, he could not endure the cruel torture and died a martyr from beating. It was around May 1801.