Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Visit Daegu Through Its Churches: Virgin Mary’s Cave(Seongmodang), Jeil Protestant Church, Gyesan Catholic Church

Visit Daegu Through Its Churches

Christianity was introduced to South Korea in the 18th century with the baptism of Lee Seung-hoon while he was travelling through China. When returning to Korea, he started his quest to convert and baptize fellow Koreans.

A decade later missionaries from China and France arrived, but had trouble converting people as they preached against the worshiping of ancestors which was rooted deep into the Korean traditions.

Mass circulation of Christianity started in 1887 when the bible was translated into Korean.

Nowadays Christianity (Protestants & Roman Catholics) is the biggest religion in South Korea. Which is clearly noticeable when walking around cities in Korea. Churches can be seen everywhere peeking out above the houses. In Daegu this is not different.

Daegu’s Modern Alley has two churches that are worth paying a visit to. These churches are located within a five-ten minute walking distance from each other. Another site that needs to be mentioned is Seongmodang, the cave of Virgin Mary.

Seongmodang (Virgin Mary’s Cave)

French Bishop Damage built Seongmodang cave (1918) to be similar with the pilgrimage cave of Lourdes. The cave is made out of red brick and has a large slogan on top “ 1911 EX VOTO IMMACULATAE CONCEPTIONI 1918” which stands for the year Daegu became an archdiocese and the year the cave was completed.

If you go behind the cave you can see the house Bishop Damage lived and died in. The house is built in a traditional Korean way.

Seongmodang has the only cemetery in the whole of Daegu. French and Chinese priests together with Korean priests can be found lying here.

On the grounds of the church lies a school which you can visit during holiday breaks. There is a small museum which explains the history of the church (in Korean) and shows some important artifacts.

10-min walk from Exit 1 of Banwoldang Stn., Daegu Subway Line 1, or 10-min walk from Exit 4 of Myeongdeok Stn., Daegu Subway Line 1

Jeil Protestant Church

This was Daegu’s first Protestant Church, built in 1898, which started out as a small house turned into a bigger church over the years. Inside you can find a small museum that explains the history of Christianity.

5-min walk from Exit 18 of Banwoldang Station, Daegu Subway Line 1 or 2.
50, Gukchaebosang-ro 102-gil, Jung-gu, Daegu

Jeil Protestant Church - Cheongna Hill

You can see this church from far away as it is located on top of Cheongna hill. The Presbyterian Church in Gothic style dates back from 1994. The church has two spine towers and 18 stained glass windows.

5-min walk from Exit 5 Sinnan Station, Daegu Subway Line 2.
Dalgubeol-daero 2029, Dongsan-dong, Jung-gu, Daegu.

Gyesan Catholic Church (계산성당)

Built by Priest Robert A.P. in 1899. The construction was made out of wood, but destroyed only a couple of months later. Priest Robert started building a new design using stained glass imported from Hong Kong and France. The building was completed 3 years later. The church looks very similar to Jeondong Cathedral in Jeonju.

This is the only Catholic Church left in Daegu from the 19th Century.

15-min walk from Exit 18 of Banwoldang Station, Daegu Subway Line 1 or 2.

10, Seoseong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu

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