Pope to pay tribute to South Korea's first Catholics at Seoul mass
Published on Aug 12, 2014 1:21 PM
SEOUL (AFP) - Pope Francis will pay tribute to the courage and sacrifice of South Korea's first Catholics when he beatifies 124 tortured and executed martyrs at a special mass in Seoul on Saturday.
Up to one million people are expected to converge on the capital's central Gwanghwamun Square for the mass, which will mark the religious centrepiece of the pope's five-day visit to South Korea.
The most prominent among those to be beatified is an 18th century nobleman, Paul Yun Ji Chung, who became Korea's first Catholic martyr when he was executed in 1791 after clashing with Confucian officials.
According to the Church, around 10,000 Koreans were martyred in the first 100 years after Catholicism was introduced to the peninsula in 1784. Uniquely, the religion was not brought in and spread by foreign missionaries, but by Korean scholars who had come across Catholic teachings in China and shared them on their return with family and friends.
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