Ricci, Matteo

(1552–1610)
   Missionary.
   Ricci was a member of the Jesuit Order. He went to Macao in 1582 where he learnt the Mandarin language. Then, in 1583 he settled in mainland China, living successively in Chao-ching, Shaochow, Nanking and finally, after a period of imprisonment, in Peking. He impressed the Chinese with his Western instruments, such as clocks and a map of the world. He translated the Ten Commandments and a catechism into Chinese and he taught Christianity in such a way that it was compatible with the Chinese world view. He was respected by the Chinese aristocracy and he even made contact with the Emperor. However, after Ricci’s death, his tolerant attitude towards Confucian ancestor worship aroused controversy in the Roman Catholic Church and in the early eighteenth century Pope Clement IX formally condemned the rites. None the less, Ricci’s practice of explaining the Christian religion in his listeners’ own terms was to become common missionary strategy.
   V. Cronin, The Wise Man from the West (1955);
   O. Gentili, L’Apostolo della Cina: Matteo Ricci (1963) [no English translation available].

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

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