• 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
Son Gyeong-yun (Gervase)
Date of birth 1760 Sex man Place of birth Seoul Position/Status Catechist Pharmacist C.C.F.
Age 42 Date or martyrdom Jan. 29, 1802 Place of martyrdom Small West Gate Seoul or Saenamteo Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Gervase Son Gyeong-yun, also called ‘Baek-won`, was born in 1760 to a common class family in Seoul. He ran a drug store in Anguk-dong, Seoul. In 1790 he learned the catechism from Thomas Choe Pil-gong and became a Catholic. During the Sinhae Persecution of the following year, he was arrested along with Thomas Choe and Matthias Choe In-gil. He was imprisoned at the Justice Ministry, and set free.
   Upon being released, he continued to faithfully perform his religious duties and taught the catechism to his younger brother Protase Son Gyeong-uk.
   He was arrested again in 1786, but was set free after being tortured many times. As before, he continued to do his Christian duties and helped with the Church work. Father James Zhou Wen-mo appointed him as the catechist and he did his best to perform his duties well. He participated in community activities with John Choe Chang-hyeon, Thomas Choe, Anthony Hong Ik-man, and Barnabas Kim I-u. He also helped Barnabas Jeong Gwang-su to arrange the house for the priest to reside in. He often attended Mass celebrated by Father James Zhou.
   Later Gervase Son purchased a big house where Catholics could come to pray and learn the catechism. He used the outer part of the house as a public eating place and bar, while the inner part of the house was used for a place to instruct the believers, thereby protecting the Catholic community from harm. Whenever he had time, he transcribed catechism books and distributed them to the faithful.
   When the Shinyu Persecution broke out in 1801 Gervase Son was secretly reported as `the head of the Christian community` due to his great enthusiasm. When he came to know this, he escaped with his brother to Yanggeun, Gyoha and Yangji. While he was hiding he heard that his wife and children were arrested instead of him. Even at the risk of death he surrendered to the police.
   At the Police Headquarters Gervase Son went through interrogation and torture many times. Failing to endure it, he became weak at heart. But when he was transferred to the Justice Ministry, he repented his previous mistakes and endured all the trials with renewed faith in God. He was then sentenced to death with other Catholics. He was taken outside the Small West Gate or Saenamteo in Seoul and beheaded and died a martyr on January 29, 1802 (December 26, 1801 by the Lunar calendar). Gervase Son was 42 years old. Before he was sentenced to death, he made the following final statement:
   "I was deeply imbued with the Catholic religion since I was young. It is impossible to change my mind in a day. The faith has become very much part of my life … … I was arrested many times because of my religion, but I did not change my mind. I ignored the law of the nation that forbids the Catholic religion. I studied the doctrine in depth with other Catholics and preached it widely."