Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Visit to KDF and Myeongdong Church

Korea Democracy Foundation (KDF)

The Korea Democracy Foundation, which was established to pay tribute to democratization movement in the Republic of Korea, inherit the holy democratic spirit from our pioneering activists and thereby to foster and contribute to the development of democracy in our society, has celebrated its third anniversary of its founding. I think that as it is important and difficult to begin any significant project or business well in everything, there has been the time when the Korea Democracy Foundation might have not collected public opinion from all walks of life in carrying out its activities with the state and citizens for the past. From now on, we, all the personnel of the Foundation, are determined to seek values such as solidarity and common enjoyment or sharing by expanding and developing our
activities or functions for which we had laid the groundwork for the last three years.

I assume that it is of vital importance for us to learn lessons from the memory of history and establish proper values for the future. The Foundation will not linger on the past memory any longer. Rather it will do its level best, by passing down a spiritual heritage of the democratization movement to the future generations and setting the goals aimed at by the Korean people, to lay the foundation that the coming generations can achieve Things That the present generation has failed to do.

The Democratization movement in itself is a history of civil and grassroots struggle fought by a large number of people.
The Foundation will explore ways for disseminating freedom, peace and democratic values which can be shared and enjoyed by countless comrades who had strived for democracy. This will lead to a landmark process for sublimating the great history of Korea's democratization movement into our pride and joy and solidifying all people still suffering from oppression and discrimination

The activities which the Korea Democracy Foundation performs shall be a national mission which can be accomplished only by the attention and participation of all the people. I would appreciate any participation and advice from those who have cherished and shared aspirations for democracy at every turn of trial and tribulation.

Fr. Ham Sei-Ung
President of the Korea Democracy Foundation
November 2004

Myeongdong Cathedral

Myeongdong Cathedral of Seoul Archdiocese is the symbol and heart of the Korean Catholic church. The Korean Church Community was born here and many martyrs’ remains lie here as well. It is known that Catholic churches in Korea date back to the time when Seung-Hun Lee returned from Beijing in 1784 after being baptized.

However, four years before that, in January, 1780, Cheol Sin Kwon held research meetings in Cheonjinam, enabling that time's famous young scholars to come in contact with the Catholic Studies.

An official interpreter, Bom Woo Kim, was influenced by them and entered the Catholic Church. He practiced church rites and taught Catholic doctrines at his home, which is where the Myeongdong Cathedral is located now.

It is said that the cathedral was founded in 1882, but the first Catholic group was formed in 1784. The construction of Myeongdong Cathedral, the first Gothic brick church building in Korea, was initiated in 1894 and completed in 1898.

Although it has been strongly considered as a place struggling for democratization since he military regime, it is a holy place where the remains of martyrs such as Bishop Imbert, Father Maubant and Father Chastan lie.

text source:

Korea Democracy Foundation (KDF):

Myeongdong Cathedral Fighting Image of Protest Haven
By Lee Dong-min, Yonhap New Agency, Korea Herald
March 22, 2002

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