On May 6, 1984, Pope John Paul II canonized the Koreans who were martyred for their faith in the 19th century.
Christianity entered Korea via a Korean. In 1603, Yi Gwang-jeong, a Korean diplomat, returned to Korea from China with books of theology written by Matteo Ricci, SJ, the renowned missionary to China. He began to spread the information until Catholicism was outlawed in 1758. Later in 1785 Yi Seung-hun began evangelizing in Korea following his return from a visit to China. Yi Seung-hun is the first Korean known to be baptized (while in China) and, taking the name “Peter”, is therefore also known as Peter Yi, or Peter Li.
Peter Li was martyred, along with more than 300 others, in 1801. Persecution continued until it culminated in the Catholic Persecution of 1866, when 8,000 were killed across Korea. Continue reading