Thursday, February 3, 2011
Jeondong Cathedral in Jeonju city
In 1971, it was here on the site of Jeondong Cathedral, outside of Pungnammun gate, that the earliest Catholic martyrs of Korea, Paul Yoon Ji Choon and James Kweon Sang Yun, were persectued and faced execution, as were Yu Hang geom (Augustine), Yun Ji-heon (Francis), and many others during the Shinyu Persecution of 1801. In 1908, to honor the spirit of these martyrs, a French priest named Father Xavier Baudounet initiated the building of Jeondong Cathedral, and construction was completed in 1914. It is said that a rock from Pungnamun gate fortress wall, which was demolished by the Japanese Residency-General, was used as a cornerstone for the cathedral. Stones that had been used to behead the martyrs were also used in the church's foundation. Jeondong Cathedral is believed to stand on 'land flowing with the blood of martyrs,' and as such is a crucial pilgrimage site that all Korean Catholics strive to visit at least once.