CBCK News


Symposium on Faith and Spirituality of Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong"



The Special Episcopal Commission of the CBCK to Promote Beatification and Canonization held a symposium on “Faith and Spirituality of Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong” at the auditorium of the Catholic Conference of Korea in Seoul on June 1, 2013.


Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong (1775-1801), an early Korean Catholic leader and a martyr wrote his Silk Letter (Baek-seo) to the Most Rev. Alexandre de Gouvea, Bishop of Beijing at that time, right after the great persecution of 1801. In this letter, Mr. Hwang reported the serious situation of the Catholics in Korea to Bishop de Gouvea and asked him for help from the West. But it was never delivered because of the betrayal of Mr. Ok Cheon-hi, the messenger. As the result of this incident, Mr. Hwang and his fellow faithful were arrested, tortured and executed.

This symposium was a part of an ecclesiastical movement to promote the beatification and canonization of Korean martyrs and confessors. It was a place to shed light on Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong from a theological, religious, canonical, and social perspective. He has been selected as a candidate for the cause for the beatification of ‘John Baptist Yi Byeok and 132 Companions’ in March, 2013.


The symposium was opened with a congratulatory address by the Most Rev. Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok, Chairman of the Special Episcopal Commission of the CBCK to Promote Beatification and Canonization. Then the symposium continued with the keynote address by the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju, and with the following presentations: ‘Faith and sanctity of Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong in light of spiritual theology’ by Fr. Lawrence Choi Hyeon-sik, Clerical Congregation of the Blessed Korean Martyrs; ‘Moral-theological considerations on the activities and death of Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong’ by Fr. Timothy Yoo Gyeong-chon, Director of the Integral Pastoral Institute of the Archdiocese of Seoul; ‘Review of the life and death of Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong’ by Dr. Andrew Kim Su-tae, Professor of Korean History at Chungnam National University; ‘Religious nature and social criticism of Hwang Sa-yeong Baek-seo’ by Dr. Park Gwang-yong, Professor of Korean History at the Catholic University of Korea; ‘Martyrdom of Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong and canonical norms for the causes for beatification and canonization’ by Fr. Donatus Park Dong-kyoon, Pastor of Banpo-4-dong Catholic Church of Seoul.


In his keynote address, Archbishop Hyginus Kim said, “Many people within the Church have respected Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong as a great martyr. However it is true that there were also other observations about selecting him as a candidate for the cause of beatification. Today’s symposium will not look at the promotion of the beatification of Alexius Hwang from a biased point of view, but will take a step forward to examine his faith and death from a spiritual aspect and to objectively interpret his intention to write the Baek-seo.” Thus, Archbishop Kim recognized that evaluations of Mr. Hwang and his Baek-seo have been controversial in national sentiment. Then he asked the faithful to recall the faith and spirituality of Alexisus Hwang Sa-yeong without any prejudice.

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