Updated: October 25, 2021 04:33 PM GMT
A view of the World Peace Hall in Wansan-gu district of Jeonju city in South Korea. (Photo: Jeonju Diocese)
Jeonju Diocese in South Korea has opened a cultural complex that aims to promote the spirit of faith and brotherhood of Catholic martyrs among the faithful and the civil society.
The World Peace Hall is a tribute to Christians who sacrificed their lives during massive persecution from rulers during early days of Christianity in Korea when thousands were martyred for refusing to denounce their faith.
Bishop John Kim Son-tae of Jeonju celebrated a special Mass and blessed the hall in Wansan-gu district of Jeonju city on Oct. 16, reported Catholic Times of Korea.
“Through the Hall of Peace, the diocese will share the brotherhood shown by the martyrs, deepen the spirit of the martyrs, and share it with civil society,” Bishop Kim said
The complex is open to all people regardless of faith and ethnicity who can visit to know about martyrs and their values.
Political, social and church dignitaries including Deputy Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sports Oh Young-woo, Jeonbuk governor Song Ha-jin, Jeonju city mayor Kim Seung-soo and parliamentarian Kim Seong-ju attended the event.
Christianity came to Korea during the Japanese invasion in 1592 when some Koreans were baptized, probably by Christian Japanese soldiers
The three-story building is spread across 39,053 square meters of land. It features a gallery for cultural events and exhibitions, and a convention hall that can accommodate about 500 people. The facility also provides a retreat and training hall with accommodation for up to 76 residents including double and family rooms and lecture and seminar rooms for small groups for education, training and retreats purposes.
The project drew subsidies from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports when the Church approved the basic plan in 2015. Construction took three years and was completed in May.
The World Peace Hall opened in Jeonju Diocese more than a month after Bishop Kim announced on Sept. 1 that mortal remains of the first three Korean Catholic martyrs had been recovered more than two centuries after their deaths.
Following historical research and DNA tests, it has been confirmed that the remains are of Paul Yun Ji-chung and James Kwon Sang-yeon, both beheaded in 1791, and Yun’s brother Francis Yun Ji-heon, who was martyred in 1801.
The revelations drew renewed national and international attention about Christianity in Korea that was borne out of persecution centuries ago.
Bishop Kim described the recovery as a significant event for the Church, which “has grown on the foundation of the bloodshed by martyrs."
Christianity came to Korea during the Japanese invasion in 1592 when some Koreans were baptized, probably by Christian Japanese soldiers, according to church sources. It started as an indigenous lay movement. Korean Yi Seung-hun, who was baptized in China in 1784, began to baptize others that year.
As the faith began to spread, Catholics faced persecution and hardship from rulers who viewed the religion as a subversive influence. Korean rulers began to see Catholicism as a false religion that denied Confucian ethics and invited Western imperialism to the country.
The persecution in the late 18th and 19th centuries saw thousands of Catholics murdered for refusing to renounce their faith. The largest persecution in 1866 produced some 8,000 martyrs.
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