• 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
Yi Jae-haeng (Andrew)
Date of birth 1776 Sex man Place of birth Hongju Chungcheong-do Position/Status
Age 63 Date or martyrdom May 26, 1839 Place of martyrdom Daegu Gyeongsang-do Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Andrew Yi Jae-haeng, also called ‘Jong-il`, was born in Hongju, Chungcheong-do. He learned the catechism when he was over 20 years old and became a Catholic. He was always good and generous and respected by the people. As a believer he committed himself to practicing faithfully the Catholic teaching. He realized that he could not practice his religion freely in his hometown, so he settled in a remote mountainous area and led a hidden life.
   Andrew Yi moved frequently from one place to another. He became very poor. His love for God inspired him to show a spirit of endurance and great charity. He led his family to an authentic faith life and conducted a distinguished life of prayer, reading, virtue and diligence.
   When the Jeonghae Persecution broke out in 1827, Andrew Yi gathered all his family members and prepared them for martyrdom according to God`s will. When they lived in Gomjigi in Sunheung, Gyeongsang-do (now, Ojeon-ri, Mulya-myeon, Bonghwa-gun, Gyeongbuk) the police rushed into their house to arrest him. He willingly followed them to Andong.
   The magistrate of Andong, who confirmed that Andrew Yi was a Catholic, ordered severe punishment and asked him to renounce his religion. But, Andrew Yi, refused this with determination, and professed his faith in God saying:
   "The Lord is Creator of the universe. He is the Most High Father who raises all human beings. It is He who rewards virtues and punishes vices. Each of us has a duty to serve Him and to adore Him. So I too serve and adore Him."
   After repeated interrogation and torture Andrew Yi was transferred to Daegu. In Deagu, he was again asked to betray the Lord. But his strength never weakened. The governor enticed him again and again with sweet words, but he never changed his mind.
   Andrew Yi was then sentenced to death with other Catholics. He was imprisoned for twelve years in terrible conditions and suffered greatly. When the Gihae Persecution broke out in 1839, the chief official interrogated him again to force him to betray God. The following is an excerpt from the written sentence of death that the Justice Ministry submitted to the king:
   "Yi Jae-haeng studied and practiced the Catholic teaching for many years. He never repented this, though his life was in danger. Therefore, we have decided to execute him according to the national law."
   The Catholics who were imprisoned in Daegu at that time were Andrew Yi Jae-haeng, Andrew Kim Sa-geon and Andrew Pak Sa-ui. When they heard the news that the king allowed the execution, they exulted. They distributed their clothes and belongings to the other prisoners.
   Andrew Yi was taken to the execution ground on May 26, 1839 (April 14, by the Lunar calendar). he was beheaded and died a martyr with his companions. The inmates and prison guards who watched their martyrdom had great sympathy for them because they were such good people. Andrew Yi was 63 years old.
   The police took care of their bodies and buried them with reverence. Catholics remembered these martyrs with great respect and affection for a long time.