Martin Yang Jae-hyeon (1827-1868)
Martin Yang Jae-hyeon was born in 1827. He lived for some time outside the North Gate of Dongnae, Gyeongsang-do. In Dongnae he held the position of a low ranking official. He met John Yi Jeong-sik and heard about the Catholic religion. He learned the catechism from John Yi and became a Catholic.
During the Persecution of 1868 the police were informed that Martin Yang was a Catholic. When the police rushed into his house, he received them calmly and was taken to the government office.
When he was interrogated by the chief official he admitted that he was a Catholic and accepted all punishments willingly. When the chief official tried to persuade him to renounce his faith, he replied with determination; “I will never give up the Catholic religion."
Martin Yang was kept in prison for a long period of time and was interrogated many times before being transferred to the naval base. He underwent interrogation and torture again, but he resolutely refused to betray God. He was put in prison again. He was tempted by a prison guard. Martin Yang promised him money and secretly left the prison and returned home.
The prison guard made a false report to the chief official saying, the prisoner had escaped. The police rushed to Martin Yang`s house again and re-arrested him. From that moment Martin Yang`s faith became stronger. He professed his faith in God despite severe punishment saying, "I cannot betray the Lord, our Great Father of heaven and earth."
Martin Yang was transferred to the naval base in Tongyeong. He had to go through interrogation and torture many times. He was taken to Dongnae again and imprisoned. In prison he met his godfather John Yi, the catechist and other Catholics. They consoled and encouraged one another, and promised to be faithful to their faith in God under any circumstances.
The Dongnae chief official decided to pronounce the death sentence on Martin Yang and the other Catholics in the prison. He summoned them and transferred them to `Jangdae` where the Military Command Headquarters was located. Martin Yang professed his faith in God up to the last moment of his life. He made the sign of the cross before he was beheaded and died a martyr. It was the summer of 1868. Martin Yang was 41 years old. His family took his body and buried it near the execution ground.