This week in Christian history: Pantheon converted, Jesuit missionary to China dies; Gregorian calendar pope elected

Jesuit missionary to China dies – May 11, 1610

Matteo Ricci
Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), an Italian Jesuit missionary most known for his scholarly work while living in China. |

This week marks the anniversary of when Italian Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, an academic who was one of the first Jesuits to evangelize in China, died.

A native of Macerata, Ricci traveled to China and was allowed to live in Beijing, engaging in both missional work and extensive scholarly endeavors on a range of issues.

“Ricci … produced sundials, drew maps and translated classical humanist sayings into a book of maxims on friendship, and worked tirelessly as a missionary, producing catechisms and seeking the conversion of scholars as well as simple village folk,” explained the Jesuitana Collection.

“… more writers are studying at depth the inter-personal relationships Ricci experienced as Li Madou, the ‘wise man from the west.’ The legacy of the books written by and about Ricci have also moved from being hagiographical to historiographical in their intent.”

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