Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - On 23 February 1866 the greatest persecution of the history of the Korean Church began: about 9,000 people, almost half of the total Catholic population at that time, were killed for their faith. As reported to Fides by the communications office for the Archdiocese of Seoul, 150 years since that tragic event, the Church of Seoul has proclaimed 2016 as the "Year of the Commemoration of the anniversary of the persecution of Byeong-in". A Jubilee celebration in the name of mercy. On this occasion the holy gates were opened on February 23 in three sanctuaries where the martyrs were killed: the Jeoldusan mausoleum; the sanctuary in Saenamteo; the Catholic church in Yakhyeon. About two thousand faithful were present in each of the three places to experience the event and pray during the celebration.
On the same day, in the Cathedral in Myeongdong, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung celebrated Mass to commemorate the opening of the Year. "If we think about the Catholics 150 years ago, our faith today seems weaker, despite the religious freedom we enjoy. This is why we must remember our predecessors, who kept the faith and even believed in the worst and the most painful situations", Cardinal Yeom said in his homily. "We cannot go ahead without thinking about our past. May the Lord help us follow the example of the martyrs, and to live a life of service to others", he concluded. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 26/02/2016)