• 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 Gwang-ok (Andrew)
Date of birth 1741 Sex man Place of birth Yesan Chungcheong-do Position/Status Chief of township M.C.F.
Age 60 Date or martyrdom Aug. 25, 1801 Place of martyrdom Yesan Chungcheong-do Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Andrew Kim Gwang-ok was born in Yeosaul, Yesan, Chungcheong-do to a middle class family. He served as the chief of township for a long time. He was a very talented person, but people were afraid of him because his character was quite violent. Francis Kim Hui-seong, who was martyred in 1816 in Daegu, was his son.
   Andrew Kim learned the catechism from his neighbor, Louis Gonzaga Yi Jon-chang. He was baptized and given the Christian name, Andrew. He was then about 50 years old. People who knew his character were quite amazed to hear that he became a Catholic.
   After that Andrew Kim practiced the teaching of the Catholic religion faithfully and proclaimed the Gospel with great zeal. Everyday he said morning and evening prayers with other believers. Every year, during Lent, he abstained from food and practiced various kinds of sacrifices and virtues. In this way, he gradually overcame his violent character and became meek and gentle as a lamb.
   When the Shinyu Persecution broke out in 1801, Andrew Kim escaped to Museong Mountain with his relative Peter Kim Jeong-deuk, whom he converted to Catholicism, taking Catholic books and religious articles with him. There, he and Peter Kim devoted their lives solely to practicing the Catholic teaching and praying. The police found them easily, because their names were widely known to many people. Andrew was sent to Yesan and Peter Kim to Hongju.
   When Andrew Kim Gwang-ok arrived in Yesan, the magistrate of Yesan immediately ordered him to reveal the names of accomplices and to bring all the Catholic books, but he refused. During the second interrogation, he demonstrated his dauntless courage by professing his faith in God as follows:
   “All your promises and threats are useless to me. Do not ask me again to renounce my religion. A loyal subject will not serve two masters, nor a faithful wife follow two husbands. Can my lord disobey the order of your king? Neither do i wish to disobey the Commandment of my Lord. I cannot betray God, our Great King and Father. I repeat ten thousand times that it is not proper. My Lord Jesus Christ knows my secret thoughts, emotions and intention, so, I cannot sin even in the secrecy of my heart."
   Hearing this statement the magistrate ordered him to be beaten until he collapsed and fainted, but it was no use. Under the third and fourth interrogation and torture he was just the same.
   Later on Andrew Kim and Peter Kim were transferred to Cheongju under the order of the governor. The two brave Catholics encouraged each other with pious words and endured suffering for the love of God. From there they were sent to Seoul, and sentenced to death on August 21, 1801 (July 13, by the Lunar calendar). The following was added to the written sentence; "The sinners should be sent to Yesan and Daeheung, their hometowns, to be beheaded." The written death sentence on Andrew Kim Gwang-ok reads as follows:
   "Kim Gwang-ok was so deeply imbued with the Catholic religion that he gave up even his occupation and left his hometown. He lived in hiding, studying and memorizing the Catholic doctrine himself. He hid religious objects of the Catholic religion. He did not fear the national law, and said he could not abandon the Ten Commandments of God. He made clear his intention to die for God, willingly, saying, `Death comes only once in my life.` Considering his heavy sins he deserves death ten thousand times."
   On their way to Yesan, Andrew Kim and Peter Kim were so completely exhausted, due to the severe torture, that they could not even walk. But, their faces looked happy and peaceful, thanks to the courage and strength God gave them. When it was time to part, they grasped each other`s hands, as if they had promised to do so. They said good bye to each other, saying, "Let us meet again in Heaven tomorrow, at noon."
   The following day Andrew Kim was taken on a stretcher to the execution ground in Yesan. He prayed the Rosary in a loud voice all along the way. When he reached the destination, he said to the executioner: "Please wait a moment." He knelt on the ground and prayed to God in a loud voice. When he finished praying he laid his head on the wooden pillow, and offered up his life at the second slaying. It was on August 25, 1801 (July 17, by the Lunar calendar). Andrew Kim was around 60 years of age.