16.02.

2009: The First Korean who Became a Cardinal of the Catholic Church

2009: The First Korean who Became a Cardinal of the Catholic Church
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As cardinal, he participated at the conclave which elected Pope John Paul II. The number of Catholics in South Korea grew sharply while he was the Archbishop of Seoul.

 

This day in 2009 marked the death of South Korean cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan. He was the first man of Korean origin to be declared a cardinal of the Catholic Church. He was born back in 1922, in the south of Korea, when the region was still under Japanese rule. Namely, Japan had declared the annexation of Korea in 1910 and held the country up until the end of World War II. It is interesting that young Kim studied at the Catholic Sophia University in Tokyo (it had been founded by the Jesuits in Japan). Kim was ordained a priest in 1951, at the age of 1951. For a time he was a vicar in South Korea. He later became the Bishop of Masan, and then the Archbishop of Seoul.

 

In 1969 Kim was appointed the first cardinal in the history of Korea. As a cardinal, he participated at the conclave which elected Pope John Paul II. Kim was greatly respected in South Korea, and not only among Catholics. The number of Catholics in South Korea grew sharply while he was the Archbishop of Seoul.

 

After the cardinal’s death in hospital, his eyes were allegedly donated for two successful cornea transplants. It was also said that the number of organ donations rose significantly after this.

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