South Korea: Murals at Catholic Cemetery Reminiscent of Christian Persecution


For the cemetery’s director, Father Andrew Heo Woo-Yeong, the installation of these murals will help the faithful learn about the history of persecution of Christians in the early Church.

Newsroom (November 18, 2021, 8:30 PM, Gaudium Press) In order to help the Catholic faithful pray and meditate, as well as learn about the early days of the Church and the persecution of Christians, the Archdiocese of Gwangju in South Korea has installed 14 murals in a Catholic cemetery.

The tiled murals are based on scenes from the Bible: the Old Testament scenes include Noah’s ark, the Exodus, and the story of Jonah; the New Testament scenes include the parable of the lost sheep, the miracle of the five fish, and the resurrection of Lazarus.

The idea dawned after a visit to the Roman catacombs

The initiative for the murals in the catacombs came from the Archbishop of Gwangju, Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-Joong, who presided over the blessing ceremony on November 2, the day of the dead.

When he was in Rome, while studying for a doctorate in church history at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the prelate took pictures of the Roman catacombs. His images were enhanced and transferred to the tiles.

The initiative will help the faithful to know the history of the early Church

The cemetery’s director, Father Andrew Heo Woo-Yeong, believes that the murals will help the faithful to know and deepen their understanding of the early Church Christians and how they gathered secretly to avoid persecution from the rulers.

The installation of these murals in Korea has great significance, as in the late 18th and 19th centuries Catholicism faced persecution from Buddhist rulers. The story ended with the martyrdom of thousands of Catholics who refused to renounce their Faith. The largest persecution in 1866 produced about 8,000 martyrs. (EPC)

Compiled by Sarah Gangl

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