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Birth: ~1785

Death: 1839


A Korean pharmacist, Joseph Chang Song-jib was about fifty-three when he converted to the Catholic faith in April of 1838. Little more than a year later, he was arrested as the Korean government re-intensified its continuing persecution of Christians. Joseph’s friends as well as those who had arrested him urged him to save his life by apostatizing. He answered them, “There is one sovereign Master who created heaven and earth and everything contained in them. Mankind is therefore under an obligation to honor him…how could I, for the sake of this life which is so short, risk the loss of that greater prize which is eternal?” The next day, a government commissioner interrogating Joseph demanded that he deny his religion, to which the prisoner responded by giving a succinct description of the Catholic faith. For his impromptu catechesis, Joseph received a harsh beating of twenty blows with a wooden board. A day after this torture, he died in prison. Two years later, Joseph’s brother, (Saint) Anthony Kim Song-u, was also to die a martyr’s death.


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