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Thousands in Seoul Mourn Cardinal Kim’s Death

Posted February. 18, 2009 09:00,   


Tens of thousands of mourners yesterday streamed into Myongdong Cathedral in central Seoul to pay their respects to the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, who passed away Monday evening.

President Lee Myung-bak visited the cathedral around 3 p.m. and said, “(Kim) taught the people to love each other and share each other when the economy gets worse.”

Mourners included former President Kim Dae-jung; National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o; ruling Grand National Party Chairman Park Hee-tae; main opposition Democratic Party leader Chung Sye-kyun; Kumho Asiana Group Chairman Park Sam-koo; Korea Electric Power Corp. President Kim Ssang-su; the head of Korea’s biggest Buddhist order Jigwan; Christian Council of Korea Chairman Eom Shin-hyeong; National Christian Council Chairman Kim Sam-hwan; and the leader of the Won Buddhist sect Lee Seong-taek.

Catholics and people visited the cathedral to pray for Kim. As soon as the cathedral opened at 6 a.m., mourners streamed into the cathedral. The area linking the cathedral and Myeongdong subway station was crowded with mourners. The cathedral, which can accommodate up to 1,500 visitors at once, was packed all day.

A cathedral source said tens of thousands of mourners visited the cathedral yesterday.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul formed the committee to handle Kim’s funeral to be led by Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk. Bishops Yeom Su-jeong, Kim Un-hwoi and Jo Gyu-mahn will take part.

Kim’s body is in a glass case and will be placed in a coffin at 5 p.m. tomorrow. Cardinal Cheong will lead Mass at 10 a.m. Friday.

After the ceremony, Kim will be laid to rest at the Catholic Priests` Cemetery in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province.

surono@donga.com alwaysj@donga.com