Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Work of Love Delayed for 20 Years.

After 20 years the doors of bronze a sculptor made for the Myong Dong Cathedral in Seoul finally found their designated place, and this year in recognition of his work the artist received a prize at the 15th art award ceremony of the Catholic Church.

Choi Eui-Soon (John Vianney) received the commission to make the doors back in 1985, he finished in 1987 and for the last 20 years the doors remained in the storehouse of the Cathedral. Because of the door's weight and the condition of the building, they postponed putting the doors in place until repair work on the building was finished last year.

Cathedral doors were to express in bronze relief the beginning history of the Catholic Church of Korea. For one year Prof.
Choi traveled around Korea to the different pilgrimage sites, and spent time reading Catholicism's history in Korea so the representation would be true to history.

Depictions on the doors are the first Chinese priest saying Mass, the representation of his first catechist receiving communion, a Paris foreign missioner taking care of orphans, persecution of the Catholics, and the clay pots that the Catholics sold to make a living during the years of persecution. It does give one a feel for the years of persecution and what it must have meant to the first Christians.

In 1953 Prof. Choi entered Seoul School of art and sculpture after experiencing the cruelty and shock of war. His dean said he would make a good religious and recommended he enter the Catholic Church. He started to receive instructions was baptized and continued to relate his art to his religion. He hopes all those who come to the Cathedral and see the doors will want to imitate the faith of these early Catholics.

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