• 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
Jeong Gwang-su (Barnabas)
Date of birth Sex man Place of birth Yeoju Gyeonggi-do Position/Status Lay leader N.C.F.
Age Date or martyrdom Jan. 29, 1802 Place of martyrdom Yeoju Gyeonggi-do Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Barnabas Jeong Gwang-su was born in Bugok, Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do (now, Dogok-ri, Geumsa-myeon, Yeoju-gun) to a noble family. He heard about the Catholic religion in his early years and was interested in it. He learned the catechism from Francis Xavier Kwon Il-sin and became a Catholic. Lucy Yun Un-hye who was martyred in 1801 was his wife and Barbara Jeong Sun-mae was his younger sister.
   Barnabas Jeong, who was a very devout Catholic, married Lucy Yun who lived in Yanggeun. They could not exchange their marriage certificate because his parents, who were not believers, opposed their marriage. Futhermore, they were not allowed to practice their religion in the family.
   When Father James Zhou Wen-mo came to Korea Barnabas Jeong went to Seoul to meet him and learned the catechism and received the Sacraments from him. At the request of Father James Zhou he took a letter to Josaphat Kim Geon-sun. He devoted himself to spreading the Catholic teaching to neighboring people and led them to the Church.
   His parents tried to persuade him to abandon the Church and to perform the ancestral rites. In 1799, he moved to Seoul with his wife and his sister Barbara Jeong. He built a meeting place for the Catholics in a corner of his yard and invited Father James Zhou to celebrate Mass.
   Barnabas Jeong, who was a man of learning, was in charge of transcribing the religion books and distributing them to the faithful. He and his wife made religious objects such as rosaries, and images of Jesus and Mary and the Saints and distributed them to the faithful or sold them. He also organized prayer meetings and catechism classes. He and his wife taught the catechism to their children and led them in the path of the faith.
   When Agatha Yun Jeom-hye, elder sister of his wife, was arrested during the Shinyu Persecution in 1801, Barnabas Jeong expected that himself and his wife would be arrested very soon. In fact, from the beginning of the Persecution he was recognized as a Catholic leader. In February, his wife was arrested by the police who made a sudden raid on their house.
   At that time Barnabas Jeong was hiding, traveling between Seoul and the countryside. When he knew that the police net was tightening he came out from hiding and gave himself up to the police and confessed to being a Catholic. It was September, 1801.
   He was taken to the Police Headquarters and was severely punished. The police tried to persuade him many times to renounce the Catholic faith, but he did not yield to their pressure. He refused to reveal the whereabouts of the faithful. He was transferred to the Justice Ministry where he was sentenced to death, and transferred to Yeoju. He was beheaded and died a martyr on January 29, 1802 (December 26, 1801 by the Lunar calendar).
   The following is an excerpt from the last statement that Barnabas Jeong made at the Justice Ministry:
   “I, a descendant of a noble family, was deeply imbued with the Catholic faith and disobeyed the prohibition law of the state. In close relationship with my Catholic companions I considered Father James Zhou as my own father. I made religious objects and distributed them widely to the faithful, and I, together with the faithful, tried to spread the Catholic religion to many people. Thus, I deserve to die ten thousand times."