Saint Franciscus Ch’oe Kyong-Hwan

Martyrs of Korea, date and artist unknown; swiped from Santi e BeatiAlso known as

  • Choe Gyeong-Hwan
  • Peuranchiseuko



Raised in a prosperous Christian family; his grandfather was an early convert, and brought his family into the faith. When the priests were all executed or kicked out of the country, the family began to be harassed by locals who were returning to paganism, and they moved to the capital city of Seoul, Korea. There they became involved in some legal entanglements, lost most of their wealth, moved to a village on Mount Suri, and became tobacco farmers. Other Christian families, seeking support in numbers, moved near them, and a faithful Catholic community developed. Franciscus, by this time married and a father, served as catechist, teaching the faith to people in his home at night; he did not have a theological education, but had access to several spiritual texts, and was a man who loved God. In 1836, his son, Thomas Yang-eop was chosen by Saint Pierre Maubant of the Society of Foreign Missions of Paris to study for the priesthood in Macao. Francicus and Maria were overjoyed, and considered the entire family to be blessed.

In 1839, state-sponsored persecution of Christians began again in earnest. Franciscus collected money to support those in prison, who were left by the state to fend for themselves, and gave Christian burial to those who died for their faith. Back home, he gathered all the religious objects in the village and buried them so that they would not be defiled, and could possibly be used later; he kept his catechism texts, and continued studying and teaching. Franciscus, his family and about 40 of his fellow villagers were arrested on the night of 31 July 1839 for the crime of being Christian, and forced to march to Seoul. There he was ordered to renounce Christianity; when he refused, he was imprisoned; he was in the same prison as Saint Lawrence Mary Joseph Imbert. Between torture and beating sessions over the next several weeks, he spent his time in prayer and catechesis to other prisoners. Martyr.

His wife Maria, who watched him die, renounced Christianity; she later reverted to the faith, and was eventually beheaded herself. Their son Thomas was ordained in 1849 and returned to Korea to serve as missionary in remote villages.






Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Franciscus Ch’oe Kyong-Hwan“. CatholicSaints.Info. 13 September 2016. Web. 21 October 2016. <>