Making his first trip to Asia, Pope Francis arrived in South Korea on Thursday, where around 10 percent of the population is Catholic.
His five day visit – the first by a pontiff in 25 years – will include celebrations to mark the 6th Asian Youth Day.
Pope Francis was greeted by South Korean President Park Geun-hye as well as several senior local Catholics.
He also met relatives of the victims of a ferry disaster which killed more than 300 people in April.
It is reported that North Korean officials declined an invitation to send a delegation to attend a Mass during the Pope’s visit.
Security is tight around a venue in Seoul where Pope Francis will lead a ceremony to beatify more than 120 Korean martyrs.
Christianity is growing in popularity with an estimated 100,000 Koreans join the Catholic Church each year.