Danggogae Martyrs’ Shrine

Danggogae Catholic Martyrs’ Shrine is located on the small hill just five minutes away from Yongsan Electronics Market. 10 Catholics were martyred on this hill during the Gihae Persecution in 1839 including Choi Gyeong-hwan (Francis)’s wife Lee Seong-rye (Maria).

Nine of the 10 martyrs are now recognized as saints. Lee Seong-rye, the mother of Father Thomas Choi Yang-eop (Korea’s second ordained priest), has not yet been canonized although she did suffer martyrdom. The reason was that the mother briefly put aside her faith because of the pressures of raising five children after she had her oldest son Thomas. However, the difficulty of combining these two interests was eventually overcome and she died a martyr.

Aside from serving as a memorial site, Danggogae Catholic Martyrs’ Shrine also offers a commanding view of Seoul. Nearby tourist attractions include Saenamteo Catholic Holy Place of the Martyrs, which is a Catholic church with Korean architecture, and Yongsan Family Park.

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Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Seminary, Seoul, South Korea

Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Seminary

Old Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Seminary at Yongsan (now, Wonhyoro Chapel)

In 1887, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Seminary at Bueonggol was relocated and reopened in Yongsan, and its chapel (now, the Wonhyoro Chapel, Historic Site No. 521) was consecrated in 1902.

The remains of St. Andrew Kim Dae-geon (1821-1846) were here from the time of consecration until 1958, and the remains of Bishop Bruguiere (1792-1835), the first vicar apostolic of Korea, and Bishop Mutel (1854-1933), the 8th vicar apostolic of Korea, were also laid in state here.

Today, the old chapel of the seminary, which overlooks Saenamteo Shrine and Danggogae Martyrs’ Shrine, is located no the campus of the Songsim (Sacred Heart) Girls’ High School, and the old seminary (Historic Site No. 520) is currently being used as the provincial office of the Society of the Sacred Heart.Visit Korea

Ichon-dong Christian Church

Saenamteo Shrine

Saenamteo Shrine

Saenamteo Shrine is also one of the representative Catholic martyrs’ shrines in Korea. Among the 14 priests who were martyred in Korea, 11 died here at Saenamteo, including the first Korean priest, St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, as well as the first foreign missionary and Chinese Catholic priest, Zhou Munmo.

Saenamteo is a short for Saenamuteo which means “grass and trees.” As the name indicates, the area used to be a large and thick forest. In the early Joseon Dynasty, it was used as a military training site and an execution ground for felons.

Saenamteo Catholic Church is a 3-story, tile-roofed building with a Korean-style belfry. The inside of the church is also decorated in a traditional Korean style. Behind the cross, is the “Taeguk” symbol. The altar is shaped like a Korean royal table. Other furnishings were also shaped after traditional Korean items, such as the holy water fonts in the form of Korean pottery, a podium shaped after janggu, which is a traditional Korean musical instrument. St. Mary and Jesus in the holy paintings on the wall are dressed in traditional Korean royal dress. A guided tour around the church is available upon request. In the Catholic Martyrs´ Memorial of Saenamteo, nine martyrs, including St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon were laid to rest here. The Korea Herald

Namdaemoon Presbyterian Church

Namdaemoon Presbyterian Church

Situated on high ground facing Seoul Station, Namdaemoon Presbyterian Church was completed in 1969, although it looks considerably older to my untrained eye. Then again, the church’s heritage is indeed more ancient, since the original building was completed in 1885 as a hospital, before it was converted to a house of worship in the early 1900s, before falling victim to the Korean War. The existing church was designed by Park Dong-jin in his favored Gothic style complete with Tudor arches and a liberal use of granite. Visitors can enjoy the church’s attractive courtyard, which it shares with the big black behemoth better known as the Millennium Seoul Hilton hotel. Discovering Korea