Bureau and Corporate Funded Body
Myeongdong Cathedral, which has completed the first stage of a comprehensive reconstruction project, was built over a period of six years, beginning in 1898. In 1894, a year already heavily plagued by funding and material shortages, the start of the Sino-Japanese War resulted in the withdrawal of Chinese laborers. As such, the construction of the cathedral suffered multiple starts and stops. The design of the cathedral was created by French priest E.G. Coste, who also designed Yakhyeon Cathedral and the Yongsan Theological Seminary. Coste used a Neo-Gothic format that emphasizes practicality, which is evident in the single spire at the cathedral’s center and the smaller octagonal spires on either side of it. Made up of mostly baked bricks, the cathedral features 20 types of irregular red and grey brick shapes, exuding a finely detailed Gothic style rather than the majestic solemnity suggested by stone. Myeongdong Cathedral is a symbol of Korean Catholicism, which is characterized by persecution and frequent martyrdom, as well as its part in the struggle for democratization. From its position at the center of Seoul, Myeongdong Cathedral will continue to stand for peace and reconciliation.