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Monday, 27 January 2014

Hallelujah Korea, Part V: Dapdong Cathedral, Incheon Jung-gu - Home of Diocese of Incheon

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Incheon (Hangul/Hanja/Latin: 천주교 인천교구/天主敎仁川敎區/Dioecesis Inchonensis) is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church in South Korea. Erected as an Apostolic Vicariate in 1961 the diocese became a diocese the next year. 

The seat of the diocese is Dapdong Cathedral of Saint Paul (답동성당/沓洞聖堂); which is located at 2 Woohyeon Avenue 50th Street/Woohyeonno 50beon-gil, Dapdong 3-1 beonji, Incheon Jung-gu. The diocese is suffragan to the Archdiocese of Seoul and covers mainland Incheon Metropole and its archipelago (Ganghwa and Ongjin Counties). The current Bishop for this diocese is Boniface Choi Ki-san.

The missionary activity of Roman Catholicism was started from 1889 in Jemulpo (old name for Incheon Metropole), when The Father William first arrived here from Paris Foreign Missionary of France. Dapdong Catholic Church built on the Dapdong hill is one of the oldest western modern building among the Korean catholic churches built in 1890. The cornerstone was first laid in July of 1890, and the first construction started from 1894 then completed in 1897. The church is in gothic style with flat floor. The external was redecorated in 1933 with a Romanesque style. The main steeple and other two steeples are making up beautiful and again exquisite look.

After the Korea-France treaty was ratified in 1887 (the 24th year of Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu), Father William, who belonged to the Societe des Missions Etrangeres de Paris. was appointed to the first father of Incheon parish on July 1, 1889. He devoted himself to constructing the building since he arranged a land on the hillside at Dapdong, Incheon and placed foundation stones in July, 1890. In 1895, Father Le veil, the successor of father William, completed the cathedral.

The Dapdong Cathedral has been on the place since Eugene Deneux, the 4th father of the cathedral, reconstructed the outside of the building by laying bricks. It has the style that placed a large tower in the middle of the building connecting slanting roofs at each side, and finally decorated small tower on the edge of roofs.