The monk who sang Ave Maria at Myeongdong Cathedral


During the Parochial mass on the 27th, the day before Buddha’s Birthday, ‘Ave Maria’ rang across the cathedral. Ave Maria was composed by an Italian composer Giulio Caccini to the words of the annunciation made by Archangel Gabriel to Maria of Nazareth with the words ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, our Lord is with thee’ in Luke 1:30.
Bhiksuni (biguni) Jung-yul Sunim sang the song. When she finished singing her own Buddhist hymn ‘Hyang-sim’ (向心) it was greeted with thunderous applause.
Jung-yul Sunim is the top vocal singer for the Korean Buddhist community, making her debut while she was still a Samaneri in 1988. Having performed over 1,000 times, she helped found the tri-religious women’s musical group ‘Samso (三笑) Music Society’ between Catholics, Buddhists and Won Buddhists. The performance today was made possible by a request from a Catholic nun, herself a member of the Samso group.


Jung-yul sees no point of hiding behind the walls of religious dogma and said ‘other religions should be embraced much as we should embrace other people’s parents as they were our own.’ She added that ‘Cardinal Jung Jin-suk is to give a welcoming message for Buddha’s birthday this year at Jogye Temple and I thought I would make a meaningful contribution by coming here and singing a song. That brought me here.’


The Archdiocese of Seoul has put on a banner welcoming Buddha’s Birthday on the cathedral front gate since the 25th.

“As Chatolic person, i’m so proud with my fellow in South Korean, They communicate not because their beliefs are weak but out of respect for each other. “

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