• 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 Jong-han (Andrew)
Date of birth Sex man Place of birth Myeoncheon Chungcheong-do Position/Status Lay leader N.C.F.
Age Date or martyrdom Dec. 19, 1816 Place of martyrdom Daegu Gyeongsang-do Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Andrew Kim Jong-han, better known as ‘Gye-won` among Catholics, was born in Solmoe, Myeoncheon, Chungcheong-do (now, Songsan-ri, Ugang-myeon, Dangjin-gun, Chungnam). In his family register his name was recorded as `Hanhyeon.` He was the son of Pius Kim Jin-hu who was martyred in 1814, the father of St. Teresa Kim, and the granduncle of St. Andrew Kim Dae-geon, the first Korean priest who died a martyr in 1846.
   A few years after the Catholic Church was introduced into Korea, Andrew Kim Jong-han learned the catechism from his elder brother and became a Catholic. Prior to that his elder brother had become a Catholic with the help of Louis Gonzaga Yi Jon-chang, whom people called the `Apostle of Naepo` and proclaimed the Good News to his family. His father Pius Kim refused to become Catholic. But thanks to the repeated persuasion of his sons, he accepted the Catholic faith and became a very devoted Catholic and died a martyr.
   The Kim family of Solmoe suffered every time a persecution broke out. Andrew`s father, Pius Kim, had to repeatedly undergo arrest and release, punishment and exile. He was martyred in the Haemi prison in 1814. Andrew Kim`s faith became stronger and deeper, preparing him to endure suffering for God and to die for Him at any time. While their father was imprisoned, Andrew and his brothers had to live apart, for safety reasons.
   Andrew Kim moved with his family to Uryeonbat in Yeongyang, Gyeongsang-do (now, Galsan-ri, Jaesan-myeon, Bonghwa-gun, Gyeongbuk), via Hongju, and lived there for a long time in hiding.
   Andrew Kim was devoted to his faith life and practiced the Catholic teaching zealously. His everyday life consisted of prayers, charity to his neighbors, and self-denial to nourish his virtue and devotion. In the daytime he transcribed Catholic books and distributed them to the believers. At night he invited people to his home to teach them the catechism. He also endeavored to proclaim the Gospel to non believers, and led many people to the Church.
   When the Eulhae Persecution broke out in 1815, Andrew Kim was arrested in Yeongyang and taken to Andong. He was interrogated and tortured and transferred to Daegu. When he arrived at the Daegu governor`s office, he happened to see Agatha Magdalene Kim Yun-deok who was about to be released. She had become so weak from the cruel torture and ill-treatment that she betrayed her religion. Andrew Kim earnestly encouraged her, even though it was a short conversation. Deeply moved, she repented and returned to the chief official and confessed her faith in God.
   Now it was Andrew`s turn to profess his faith in God. The chief official tried to change his mind and to force him to apostatize. His faith was not shaken, despite repeated punishments. Andrew Kim explained to the interrogator, calmly and firmly, that the teaching of the Catholic religion is the truth. Then the governor, on realizing that he would not change his mind, reported to the royal court as follows:
   "Kim Jong-han loved the Catholic religion so much that, even while he was traveling from place to place, he took Catholic books with him and studied the teaching of the Church."
   While waiting for the decision of the royal court, Andrew Kim wrote two letters to his elder brother, and one letter to the believers. The following is an excerpt from one of the letters to his brother:
   "I marching toward martyrdom, and I dare to seek this last grace. Without this great grace, how can I fight against three enemies? …… If I miss this opportunity, I will never get it again. first of all, I seek this grace from God and, secondly, I count on the prayers of my dear fellow believers."
   About one and a half years after Andrew Kim was imprisoned, the king ordered the death penalty. Without delay, the governor of Daegu ordered that all Catholic prisoners be taken from their prison cells and executed. Andrew Kim who was recognized as a leader, was the first to be beheaded. It was on December 19, 1816 (November 1, by the Lunar calendar) that he was beheaded and died a martyr.
   After martyrdom, his body was buried near the execution ground. On March 2 of the following year, some relatives and believers buried it in an appropriate place.