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South Korean museum honors 60 years of harmony with Holy See

South Korea’s Seosomun Shrine History Museum

Archdiocese of Seoul | Provided

Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra at the exhibition.

J-P Mauro - published on 11/26/23

The Seosomun Shrine History Museum inaugurated its “Love and Peace For All” exhibition in a ceremony that drew Catholic leaders both near and far.
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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.

South Korea’s Seosomun Shrine History Museum
(Left to Right) Monsignor Fernando Duarte Barros Reis, Archbishop Peter Soon-taick Chung, Archbishop
Edgar Peña Parra, Cardinal Andrew Soo-jung Yeom, Bishop Matthias Ri Yong-hoon, Monsignor Mario Codamo
at the entrance 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. 

South Korea’s Seosomun Shrine History Museum
Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra during his congratulatory speech.

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.”

South Korea’s Seosomun Shrine History Museum
Archbishop Peter Soon-taick Chung holding the special greeting from Pope Francis
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