Florus Hyeon Gye-heum (1763-1801)
Florus Hyeon Gye-heum, called ‘Sa-su` or `Gye-on`, was born to a middle-class family in Seoul. His family had produced many interpreters for generations. Florus Hyeon did not follow that career but instead ran a drug store. St. Charles Hyeon Seok-mun who was martyred in 1846 was his son, and St. Benedicta Hyeon Gyeong-ryeon who was martyred in 1839 was his daughter.
Florus Hyeon accepted the Catholic faith at an early age and practiced it faithfully. He was arrested in 1791 during the Sinhae Persecution but was released later on. However, very soon, he returned to the Church and devoted himself to practicing his religion more zealously than ever.
When Father James Zhou Wen-mo entered Korea in 1794, Florus Hyeon participated in the Church activities with other Catholics. He often held meetings of the faithful with Gervase Son Gyeong-yun, Barnabas Kim I-u, and Thaddeus Jeong In-hyeok, and endeavored to lead catechumens and to proclaim the Good News. When Father James Zhou was avoiding persecution Florus Hyeon offered him his house as a shelter. At that time his house was selected as a meeting place of the `Six Associations`, a sub-organization of the Myeongdohoe, a lay people`s organization that father james Zhou had established.
In September 1797, Florus Hyeon went to visit Dongnae, in the southern part of Gyeongsang-do, where his brother lived. While there he happened to see a British ship. Returning to Seoul, he met Alexius Hwang Sa-yeong and told him the story.
When the Shinyu Persecution broke out in 1801 many Catholics were arrested. Florus Hyeon escaped, but upon hearing that his family and relatives were suffering because of him, he surrendered himself to the Police Headquarters around April. He had to go through severe interrogation and torture many times, but did not reveal the whereabouts of the other faithful, and said nothing that would be harmful to the Church.
Florus Hyeon was imprisoned at the Police Headquarters until early October 1801. He was then transferred to the Supreme Court because his name was revealed during the interrogation of Alexius Hwang. He had to go through terrible punishment, but he never gave up his religion. On December 10, 1801 (November 5, by the Lunar calendar) he was taken outside the Small West Gate in Seoul, beheaded and died a martyr. Paul Hyeon was 38 years old.