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