SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Korea Bizwire) — A sculpture of Korea’s first Catholic priest, St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon (1821-1846), will be erected on the exterior wall of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea said Friday.
Preparations have been under way since Archbishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik‘s proposal for Kim’s statue was accepted by Pope Francis, the Korean conference said.
Korean sculptor Han Jin-seop will build the statue and all dioceses of the South Korean Catholic church will fund the project, the conference said, without elaborating on its schedule and budget.
Born in 1821, St. Kim was ordained as the first Korean priest in 1845. But he was persecuted and executed for practicing Christianity the following year. He was canonized as a saint by Pope John Paul II during his visit to South Korea in 1984.
The South Korean Catholic church celebrated the martyr’s 200th birth anniversary last year with various commemorative events and pilgrimage programs.