Join our Lenten Campaign 2024.
A new exhibition at South Korea’s Seosomun Shrine History Museum is honoring 60 years of diplomatic bonds between South Korea and the Holy See. A November 17 ceremony to formally open the display was attended by South Korean delegates and representatives of the Catholic Church, both local and from the Vatican.
According to a press release, the event was attended by various notable figures, including Cardinal Yeom, Archbishop Peña Parra, Archbishop Peter Soon-taick Chung OCD of Seoul, Monsignors Mario Codamo and Fernando Duarte Barros Reis. North Korea was represented by In-chon Yu, Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, which was pivotal in the funding of the exhibition.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope’s Secretary of State, provided a letter that expressed the warm wishes of Pope Francis. In his comments he related the pope’s trust that “the celebration of the bilateral relations’ contribution to the common good of the Korean people over the past 60 years will endure.”
The exhibition, titled “Love and Peace For All,” put on display a variety of historical artifacts that show the significance to both South Korea and the Holy See. These include the first diplomatic passport of the Republic of Korea, “Fertile Evangelii semen” – Pope John XXIII’s Apostolic Letter proclaiming the establishment of the hierarchy of the Korean Catholic Church; and a Papal Bull issued by Pope Paul VI.
In his address, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, Sostituto of the Secretariat of State, gave insight into the historical and diplomatic significance of the exhibition, stating:
“This exhibition serves as a testament to the enduring ties between South Korea and the Holy See. It emphasizes the importance of cultural exchanges and mutual understanding, fostering a deeper connection between our nations.”
Archbishop Peter Soon-taick Chung OCD, spoke on the profound impact that the Vatican has had on South Korea’s development into its modern state. He said:
“Although this association is not widely known,” he stated, “the Vatican has significantly contributed to our country’s international recognition and engagement.” The archbishop added his hopes that the exhibition will provide South Korea with the opportunity to join the Holy See as a leading nation in practicing the common good, “This is because we are the descendants of our martyred ancestors who maintained their faith through academic research and even sacrificed their lives to protect that faith.”