Sunday, October 18, 2015

An Afternoon At Myeongdong Cathedral...

Today, we visited a landmark in Seoul - the Myeongdong Cathedral. 
Contrary to popular perception in our part of the world, India, that Korea is a predominantly Buddhist country, the reality is something different. Christianiy, which came to Korea in the 1800s, during the Joseon Dynasty, is actually the single largest religion, even though nearly half of South Koreans claim to follow no religion.
And the Cathedral Church of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception or the Myeongdong Cathedral, that stands on a hillock in Myeongdong, stands testimony to the Christian heritage of Korea


Despite persecution under the Joseon Dynasty, the religion gained ground in the 19th century through the work of French missionaries, in the country. After the Joseon Dynasty concluded a commercial treaty with United States in 1882, Christians sought land to build a mission. Plans to build a church were brought to implementation by a French priest Eugene Coste when Korea and France signed a commercial treaty in 1887.
Emperor Gojong laid the foundation stone on August 5, 1892. On May 29, 1898, it was finally dedicated and consecrated - at that time, it was the largest building in Seoul. The church was constructed with twenty types of fired red and gray bricks. The main building rises to a height of 23 metres, while the steeple rises to 45 metres. 


High-rises of Myeongdong all around...


Despite the dominance of Christianity, Confucian and traditional Korean values reign supreme. Local Christians unashamedly celebrate festivals like Chuseok, which is indeed appreciable. That is definitely not the case back home in India, where converts sever all links to their original religion...


Colours of autumn in full bloom in Myeongdong Cathedral...


A couple posing for their wedding photographs at the cathedral...


The cathedral has been inextricably linked to the modern history of South Korea. During military rule in the 1970s and 1980s, and Myeongdong Cathedral became a center and sanctuary for pro-democracy protesters. In 2014, the Pope prayed here for the seven surviving comfort women who had suffered sexual slavery during the Japanese occupation of Korea.


A view of the Seoul Tower...


Lovely architecture...


It was quite peaceful walking around the cathedral...


But we had to head back to Songdo!

2 comments:

Shrikant L. said...

Good pictures!

My Unfinished Life said...

wow!!!!! this is an interesting cathedral!!! so much history !!! and it was revelation to me that korea has christians and so many of them!!!


www.myunfinishedlife.com

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