A missionary who found the door opened to take the gospel to China. The spiritual successor to Francis Xavier. In 1567 a small island off the coast of China, Macao became a Portuguese colony. For years, however, the entrance to China seemed impossible. The ruling Ming dynasty had no interest in contacts with the outside world. They considered the Chinese as the givers of culture, not the receivers. Confucianism was dominant. In 1579 Allessandro Valignani, a leader of the Jesuits in the Orient, called Ricci to Macao and placed the burden of China upon his shoulders. He settled in Macao to learn the Chinese language and customs. In 1583 he secured permission to settle in Chaoch’ing, the provincial capital. With their traditional respect for the scholar, the Chinese responded to a man who dressed in the garb of a Mandarin, spoke their language, and was able to open to them new fields of learning. Step by step he moved toward the capital of the empire. In 1600 he gained permission to enter Peking itself. Upon gaining favor with the Chinese emperor with his gifts of clocks and his expertise in keeping them in good condition, he remained in the capital for ten years as an astronomer and mathematician. Under his guidance the Jesuit mission in Peking took root and flourished. At the time of Ricci’s death in 1610, the church numbered 2000.
[tags]Allessandro-Valignani, BlogRodent, church-history, ChurchRodent, Francis-Xavier, history, Jesuits, Matthew-Ricci[/tags]