Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Korean Presbyterian Pilgrimage to Ohio

A report on Horace Newton Allen, pictured above, and news that "[n]ineteen South Koreans consider him important enough to travel to Ohio to honor his memory and the 200th anniversary of First Presbyterian Church in Delaware, where he worshipped"— South Koreans celebrate central Ohio missionary.

He arrived after the great persecutions that crowned 10,000 Catholic martyrs, but at a time when "being a missionary was illegal and punishable by death, so Allen entered the country in his role as a physician. He saved the life of a member of the royal family and was allowed to establish the country's first modern hospital."

Perhaps to his discredit, he "was appointed U.S. ambassador to Korea by a fellow Ohioan, President William McKinley," our first imperial president, but certainly to the missionary's credit is the fact that "he was fired in 1905 because he disagreed with President Theodore Roosevelt about which country should control Korea." We learn, "Allen supported an independent Korea or, failing that, Chinese control; Roosevelt favored the Japanese."

One of the pilgrims said that "[s]he traveled to Ohio to honor Allen because he 'came to Korea, and we can have the religion and know the God.'" My mother, a native Ohioan, always calls her home state "God's country." The story tells us that among Protestants, Catholic impulses like going on pilgrimages and venerating saints has not been extinguished.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.