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03/09/2021 South Korea (International Christian Concern) – The Vatican has named the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground in South Korea’s central Chungcheong provincial city of Seosan an international pilgrimage site.

According to the Seosan government, the Vatican made the proclamation on March 1. Haemi becomes South Korea’s second site to be recognized by the Vatican following the Seoul Catholic Pilgrimage Routes in September 2018.

The Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground is the site where about more than 2,000 martyrs in the central region were buried alive during a mass persecution of Korean Catholics by the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) between 1866 and 1882, although only 132 martyred Korean Catholics had their names or baptismal names recorded. A 16-meter memorial tower was built to pay tribute to the nameless martyrs.

During the Joseon Dynasty, the nation adhered to Confucianism, and there was an emphasis on loyalty to the king. Christians who put God first before the king were seen as committing acts of treason. Practicing Catholicism was announced as heresy. Tens of thousands Catholics and missionaries were persecuted for their faith.

According to Yonhap News, a Catholic priest in charge of the shrine said, “The proclamation of the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground as an official international pilgrimage site is a glorious event that recognizes the faith of nameless martyrs as an example and makes it known to the entire world.”

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