In 1866, after the proclamation of the Catholic repression, nine of the twelve French missionaries in the land were killed in the months leading up to the eventual death of more than 8,000 Catholics. Meanwhile, the government was looking for the three outstanding French priests who were still unaccounted for. This circumstance led women and children to flee to the mountains where many succumbed to disease and famine.
Priest Félix-Clair Ridel, who succeeded in his escape, got word of the repression to Pierre-Gustave Roze, a French admiral. French warships then entered the Yanghwajin and Sogang areas of the Han River to oppose the repression.
Daewongun, who was furious about the situation, beheaded a number of Catholics at Jamdubong, giving the mountain the name Jeoldusan, which is a Korean term meaning, ‘to cut the head.’
The Catholic Church of Korea opened a Martyr's Memorial Hall in October 1967 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Byungin year, 1866.
At present, there are archives related to the Catholic Church in Korea, an exhibit hall housing 28 bodies of saints, a pilgrimage hall, a martyr education hall, and an outdoor exhibition hall in the shrine. Jeoldusan Martyrs' Shrine is a meaningful sacred place where the spirit of the Korean Catholic martyrs, who proved their faith by giving their lives, is still alive.