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Andrew Yeom Soo-jung

His Eminence
Andrew Yeom Soo-Jung
Cardinal Archbishop of Seoul
Native name 염수정
Archdiocese Seoul
See Seoul
Appointed 10 May 2012
Installed 25 June 2012
Predecessor Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of San Crisogono
Ordination 8 December 1973
by Stephen Kim Sou-hwan
Consecration 1 December 2001
by Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk
Created Cardinal 22 February 2014
by Pope Francis
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Birth name
  • 염수정
  • Yeom Soo-Jung
Born (1943-12-05) 5 December 1943
Anjō, Anjō County, Keiki Province, Korea under Japanese rule (now Ansong, South Korea)
Nationality South Korean
Denomination Roman Catholic
Residence Seoul
Previous post
  • Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul (2001-2012)
  • Titular Bishop of Thibiuca (2001-2012)
  • Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Seoul (2002–2012)
  • Amen. Veni, Domine Jesu!
  • (Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!)[1]
Coat of arms }
Andrew Yeom Soo-jung
Hangul 염수정
Hanja 廉洙政
Revised Romanization Yeom Soo-Jung
McCune–Reischauer Yŏm Soo-Chŏng

Andrew Yeom Soo-Jung (Hangul: 염수정; Hanja: 廉洙政; born 5 December 1943) is the Korean Roman Catholic Archbishop of Seoul, Cardinal and de facto Primate of Korea since his appointment was announced on 10 May 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.[2] Yeom succeeded the Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk and the fifth native Korean Archbishop of Seoul. In January 2014 it was announced that he will be elevated to the cardinalate at the next consistory on 22 February 2014.[3] The Metropolitan Archbishop of Seoul also serves as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Pyongyang in North Korea. Aside from Archbishop, he was also the Chairman of Peace Broadcasting Corporation (Korean: 평화방송 or PBC) a Catholic Television Channel and Radio in South Korea, founded in 1990.

Yeom was made a Cardinal by Pope Francis in a papal consistory on February 22, 2014 at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.


  • Biography 1
    • Further Studies 1.1
  • Priesthood 2
  • Archbishop of Seoul 3
    • A Growing Church in Korea 3.1
  • Coat of Arms 4
  • Cardinal-Priest 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Yeom Soo-jung was born in Ansong, Gyeonggi Province, to a devout Catholic family, descendants of Peter Yeom Seok-tae and his wife Kim Maria who were arrested and executed in 1850 for their Catholic faith. His ancestors were among the lay people who brought Christianity to the Korean peninsula in the 19th century, and his great-great grandfather and his wife were executed as part of the Joseon Dynasty's persecution of Christians.[4] The Yeom family has kept their religious belief for generations through persecution, leading Archbishop Yeom, the fifth generation Catholic, to enter the priesthood. His two younger brothers Yeom Soo-wan and Yeom Soo-eui have also followed him, currently leading two dioceses in Seoul.

Further Studies

At the age of 15, Yeom decided to become a priest and entered the seminary. He graduated from the Catholic University of Korea in 1970[5] before being ordained a priest by Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan on 8 December 1973 for the diocese of Seoul. Yeom Soo-jung went on to obtain a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from Korea University. He has also studied at the East Asian Pastoral Institute in the Philippines.[6]


After his ordaination, he served as a Pastoral Vicar from 1971–1973, then as President of the Minor Seminary, Songshin High School, from 1973–1977, and then served as Pastor from 1977 until 1978. From 1987 until 1992, he was the Rector of the Major Seminary, thereafter he was appointed Chancellor of the diocesan curia serving in that role until 1998.

After the future Archbishop left his post as Chancellor, he was appointed as one of the Seoul Archdiocese's Vicar Foranes, and at the same time, as a Pastor, serving in these two roles until 2001. He also served as a member of the Presbyteral Council.

Styles of
Andrew Yeom Soo-jung
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Seoul

On 1 December 2001 it was announced that Pope John Paul II had appointed him, at the age of 58, as an Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul and at the same time Titular Bishop of Thibiuca. He was ordained a Bishop on 25 January 2002. After his episcopal ordination, he became the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Seoul. He retained these roles until 10 May 2012, when Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as the next Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul. He succeeded his former superior, Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, 80, who had surpassed the canonical retirement age after offering his resignation back in 2006. Because the Archdiocese of Seoul is the most important diocese in the Koreas and has been headed by a Cardinal in the past, it is likely that, since his predecessor is over the voting age for a Papal Conclave, he will be named a Cardinal himself in a Consistory in the near future.[5]

Archbishop of Seoul

The Holy See appointed Yeom as the 5th Archbishop of Seoul on May 10, 2012, succeeding Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk and thus making him de facto Primate of Korea. At the installation ceremony he said “We need to keep the dignity of human life in a society that takes life lightly. The church will fight for that,” said Archbishop Yeom during the inaugural mass. The Seoul Archdiocese held the inaugural ceremony for the new archbishop on the 62nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War ― to pray for the unification of the two Koreas. The inaugural Mass was attended by Cardinal Cheong, Culture Minister Choe Kwang-shik, Vatican Nuncio Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, political leaders including former opposition leader Sohn Hak-kyu, Rep. Kang Ki-gap and Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo.[7] As Archbishop of Seoul, he is head of the largest local Church in the Koreas, and the officeholder is traditionally also apostolic administrator of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. The Pyongyang diocese has been vacant since the death of its last ordinary, Bishop Francis Hong Yong-ho, who was imprisoned by the North Korean government in 1949, and was later disappeared.

A Growing Church in Korea

According to statistics, as of 31 December 2011, of the 15 dioceses and 1 military ordinariate in Korea, the Archdiocese of Seoul is the most populous with 27% of the total Catholics in Korea. The number of Catholics in Korea is 5,309,964, an increase of 2% (104,375) from 2011. Catholics account for 10.3% of the total population. The total number of Catholics in Korea has slightly and consistently increased at a yearly average of 2–3% during the past 10 years. It has passed the 10% mark of the total population since 2009. According to the Statistics, the number of newly baptised in 2011 was 134,562, a decrease of 4.3% from the previous year. By gender, newly baptised men represented 73,228 and women 61,334. The number of infants baptised amounted to 25,717, an increase of 7.5% over the previous year.

In 2012, the Church grew by 1.6%, as nearly 85,000 Koreans became Catholic. There has also been an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life in recent years. Earlier this month, two auxiliary bishops and 38 new priests were ordained for Seoul. Government surveys have shown that more than 45% of South Koreans practice no religion and that about 22% are Buddhists. Yet when Catholics (11%) and Protestants (18%) are combined, Christianity as a whole claims the largest number of religious adherents. By contrast, Christianity is officially suppressed in North Korea under the communist regime, and unofficial estimates by South Korean Church officials place the number of Catholics there at only 5,000.[8]

Archbishop Yeom received the Pallium from Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, 2012 (the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul), along with several archbishops from various countries. Yeom was one of several Asian archbishops whom the Pontiff granted the pallium, one of whom being the Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle.

Coat of Arms

Arms of Archbishop Yeom Soo Jung as Archbishop of Seoul. The motto below is Amen. Veni, Domine Jesu! ("Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!")

The Coat of Arms of Archbishop Yeom features the Traditional Red Hat, or the galero, replaces the Green one with its 10 tassels dangling in two four-tiered formations from either side. Below the Red Hat is the Crucifix symbolizes the Holy Martyrs of Korea who were the victims of religious persecution against the Catholic Church during the Joseon Dynasty in the 19th Century.

The shield is a symbol of God's salvation, and the three Rainbow colors: Purple (Love), Blue (Hope) and Green (Faith). The Herald of a new life, Dove, symbol of peace as a messenger came in the past, and will come in the present and future, and the spirit of the Lord brings into the presence among us even today and revealed that symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The Big Star in the center represents the Virgin Mary as she protects the two shining stars below symbolizing the peaceful reunification between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea. An anchor cross and the two Greek letters "A" (Alpha) and "Ω" (Omega) that all the hopes and aspirations of the Korean People will be in the God's plan. The background's color Blue, Yellow, and Red symbolize Peace, Sharing, and Sacrifice.

Archbishop Yeom's Latin motto is taken from the Book of Revelation 22:20, Amen. Veni, Domine Jesu! meaning "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"


The Pope named Archbishop Yeom to the College of Cardinals on Saturday, February 22, 2014. As Cardinal-Priest, he was assigned the titular church of San Crisogono. Yeom is the Third Korean national to be made Cardinal in the Catholic Church, following the two preceding Cardinal Emeritus Nicholas Cheong Jin-Suk, and the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan. On 23 February, the day after the announcement was made, a celebratory ceremony was held at Seoul’s Myeongdong Cathedral, where he said, “I will make efforts to realize Pope Francis' vision of a Church toiling for the poor and those on the margins of society and to make it a Church serving the community. ... I respect efforts made by late Cardinal Kim and Cardinal Cheong, and will add mine to them.” His appointment as cardinal was welcomed by many Koreans, though only 11 percent of the country is Catholic.[9]

See also


  1. ^
  3. ^ "Annuncio di Concistoro per la Creazione di Nuovi Cardinali" (in Italian).  
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Appointments
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links

  • (Korean) Official website
  • "For new Korean cardinal, red of martyrdom is part of family history", National Catholic Reporter, February 4, 2014

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk
Archbishop of Seoul
2012 – present
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