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A Different History: Through Korean Eyes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 25 February 2010 06:22

Here's another moving glimpse of Catholic life and faith outside the west via the blog: Catholic American Eyes in Korea. The magnificent bronze doors of the Cathedral in Seoul depict the sufferings of early Catholics:

Cathedral doors were to express in bronze relief the beginning history of the Catholic Church of Korea. For one year Prof. Choi traveled around Korea to the different pilgrimage sites, and spent time reading Catholicism's history in Korea so the representation would be true to history.

Depictions on the doors are the first Chinese priest saying Mass, the representation of his first catechist receiving communion, a Paris foreign missioner taking care of orphans, persecution of the Catholics, and the clay pots that the Catholics sold to make a living during the years of persecution. It does give one a feel for the years of persecution and what it must have meant to the first Christians.

The artist is a convert to Catholicism himself who took the name John Vianney. The 1950's in Korea was a time of war (think MASH) and the experience fueled Choi's conversion.

In 1953 Prof. Choi entered Seoul School of art and sculpture after experiencing the cruelty and shock of war. His dean said he would make a good religious and recommended he enter the Catholic Church. He started to receive instructions was baptized and continued to relate his art to his religion. He hopes all those who come to the Cathedral and see the doors will want to imitate the faith of these early Catholics.

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