• 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 Dae-gwon (Peter)
Date of birth Sex man Place of birth Cheongyang Chungcheong-do Position/Status
Age Date or martyrdom May 29, 1839 Place of martyrdom Jeonju Jeolla-do Mode of martyrdom beheading
 Peter Kim Dae-gwon was born in Sudani, Cheongyang, Chungcheong-do (now, Sinwang-ri, Sayang-myeon, Cheongyang-gun, Chungnam) and lived in Cheongra-dong, Boryeong (now, Cheongra-ri, Cheongra-myeon, Boryeong-gun, Chungnam). James Kim Hwa-chun, who was martyred in Daegu in 1816, was his younger brother.
   Peter Kim learned the catechism from his father at an early age. But it was only after his parents died that he became a devout Catholic.
   Once Peter Kim earned his living by working at a pottery shop in Gongju, Chungcheong-do. At that time, he did not have a good relationship with his wife. One night he dreamt that he had got a call from God to save his wife from a tiger. On the following day he told his wife about his dream. They talked about their previous mistakes and admitted them, and were reconciled with each other. They made a strong resolution before God to build a happy family together.
   Peter Kim was always eager to practice the teaching of the Catholic Church. Every Sunday he preached the Gospel to his neighbors and on Christmas day he went up to the mountain and prayed all night. One day while he was praying a tiger came to him, but he continued to pray with calm. During Lent he never omitted prayer and meditation. He ate only one meal a day. When he heard the news that his brother James Kim had been executed for his faith in God, he immediately expressed his intention to die a martyr and follow his brother.
   After that Peter Kim moved to Gosan, Jeolla-do with fellow Catholics. They heard about the Jeonghae Persecution that broke out in 1827. He persuaded other Catholics to escape, but he himself was determined to wait silently for the call of God, praying that God‘s will be done. Before long, the police invaded the village. Peter Kim walked to them with a peaceful smile, and surrendered himself and was taken to Gosan without resistance.
   In Gosan, Peter Kim witnessed to his faith in God bravely, before the persecutors. He was immediately transferred to Jeonju where he was severely tortured. But he was never afraid of suffering for God and firmly declared; "I cannot give you any Catholic books, nor can I reveal to you the names of my fellow believers." The chief official of Jeonju brought Peter Kim`s son to him and put a sword to his neck. Despite such a threat, he refused to renounce God, saying, "If my son is beheaded for God, this will be a great honor for him." Thereafter, his son was exiled.
   Peter Kim`s faith in God was not shaken, even in front of the governor. He was severely tortured once again, but he said, "What should I do to pay back the grace I received from the Passion of Jesus Christ?" This indicated his hidden desire for martyrdom. His unshakable resolution is shown clearly in the following statement:
   "Even though I am beaten to death, I cannot betray my God. This thought is deeply engraved in my bones and flesh. So even though my arms and legs are cut, my mind will remain firm."
   He was imprisoned, with his fellow believers, for twelve years. While in prison, he signed his name on the judicial decision three times. He never relented and consistently refused any betrayal that would save his life. During the Gihae Persecution in 1839, on the order of the king, he was taken to the market place in Jeonju. There he was beheaded and died a martyr. It was on May 29, 1839 (April 17, by the Lunar calendar).