from Unfabling the East Chapter 4
In 1603, Yi Su-gwang, a Korean politician, returned from Beijing carrying several theological books written by Matteo Ricci, an Italian Jesuit missionary to China. He began disseminating the information in the books, introducing Christianity to Korea.
When and how was Christianity first introduced to Korea? Christianity was first introduced to Korea in the late 18th century. The initial contact with Christianity came through Western missionaries. The first known encounter was in 1784 when Yi Seung-hun, a Korean diplomat, returned from Beijing with religious books, including Catholic texts.
When and how was Christianity first introduced to Korea? Christianity was first introduced to Korea in the 17th and 18th centuries. The initial variety of Christianity in the peninsula, Nestorianism, spread to Korea in the Middle Ages by way of China via Middle Eastern adherents. In the 1700s, a group of young local scholars who had studied Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci’s work introduced Catholicism to Korea. The first Western missionaries to enter Korea officially were Horace Grant Underwood and Henry Gerhard Appenzeller, both from the United States. The spread of Christianity in Korea was also influenced by the decline of Confucianism and the impact of Christian ideas on the Korean elite5.
When and how was Christianity first introduced to Korea? The first introduction of Christianity to Korea can be traced back to the early 17th century. In 1603, Yi Gwang-jeong, a Korean diplomat, returned from Beijing carrying several theological books written by Matteo Ricci, an Italian Jesuit missionary to China. Yi Gwang-jeong began disseminating the information in these books, thus introducing Christianity to Korea
Christianity was first introduced to Korea in the late 18th century. Some key events and figures:
In 1784, a Korean diplomat named Suh Jun-gan came across Catholic writings in Beijing and took them back to Korea. He began propagating Catholic teachings, making him the first Korean Catholic.
In 1794, the first Catholic priest arrived - a Chinese priest named Zhou Wen-mo who ministered to Catholics in Korea in secret. Catholicism was seen as dangerous and was persecuted by Korean authorities.
In 1836, the first Western Catholic priest, Fr. Maubant from France, arrived in Korea to further facilitate the spread of Catholicism.
By the 1860s, there were about 23,000 Korean Catholics. However, persecution intensified, culminating in the deadly 1866 Byeong-in Persecution, where thousands of Korean Catholics were killed.
In 1884, the first Protestant missionary, Horace Underwood from the U.S., arrived in Korea under the banner of the Presbyterian Church. Other denominations soon followed.
So in summary, Catholicism arrived first in the late 1800s, but it initially spread slowly and clandestinely due to persecution. Protestantism arrived slightly later in the 1880s, but began more public evangelization efforts. Together, they laid the groundwork for Christianity to gradually take root and grow in Korea over the next century.