Blessed Iacobus Chu Mun-mo

Martyrs of KoreaAlso known as

  • Jacob Chu Mun-mo
  • James Zhou Wen-mo
  • Zhou Wenmo



Orphaned as a child, he was raised by his grandmother. Convert to Catholicism. Studied at the diocesan seminary in Beijing, China, and was one of the first priest ordained there.

Christianity had taken root in Korea through the work of lay people who learned of the faith from books and letters written by missionaries to China. Father James was the first priest to enter the country, crossing the border on 24 December 1794. He studied Korean, and conducted his first Mass on Easter Sunday 1795. When the authorities learned of his presence, they began to hunt for him; he had been assisted in hiding out by Blessed Paulus Yun Yu-il, Blessed Matthaeus Choe In-gil, and Blessed Sabas Ji Hwang, all of whom were martyred for having helped him. Father James stayed on the move, ministering to covert Christians, compiling a catechism in Korea, organizing classes in Scripture and doctrine. Thousands were brought to the faith.

In 1801 the government began arresting and torturing lay people to learn where Father James was hiding. To stop this abuse, Father James surrendered to the authorities on 11 March 1801. Over the next 10 weeks he was repeatedly interrogated and tortured, the authorities believing he was a spy, that Christianity was subversive, that he came with some evil intent. He talked of nothing but Christ. Martyr.



  • beheaded on 31 May 1801 by the Han River in Saenamteo, Seoul, South Korea
  • legend says that at the moment of his execution the skies clouded over and a violent hail storm descended on his executioners



Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Iacobus Chu Mun-mo“. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 November 2016. Web. 26 October 2021. <>