John of Montecorvino
John of Montecorvino
A Franciscan and founder of the Catholic mission in China, b. at Montecorvino in Southern Italy, in 1246; d. at Peking, in 1328

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

John of Montecorvino
    John of Montecorvino
     Catholic_Encyclopedia John of Montecorvino
    A Franciscan and founder of the Catholic mission in China, b. at Montecorvino in Southern Italy, in 1246; d. at Peking, in 1328. Being a member of a religious order which at that time was chiefly concerned with the conversion of unbelievers, and was commissioned by the Holy See to preach Christianity especially to the Asiatic hordes then threatening the West, he devoted himself to the Eastern missions, first that of Persia. In 1286 Argun, the khan or ruler of this kingdom, sent a request to the pope through the Nestorian bishop, Bar Sauma, to send Catholic missionaries to the Court of the great Chinese emperor, Kúblaí Khan (1260-94), who was well disposed towards Christianity. About that time John of Montecorvino came to Rome with similar promising news, and Nicholas IV entrusted him with the important mission to Farther China, where about this time Marco Polo, the celebrated traveller, still lingered. He started on his journey in 1289, provided with letters to the Khan Argun, to the great Emperor Kublai Khan, to Kaidu, Prince of the Tatars, to the King of Armenia and to the Patriarch of the Jacobites. His companions were the Dominican Nicholas of Pistoia and the merchant Peter of Lucalongo. From Persia he went by sea to India, in 1291, where he preached for thirteen months and baptized about one hundred persons. Here also his companion, Nicholas, died. Travelling by sea from Meliapur, he reached China in 1294, only to find that Kúblaí Khan had just died, and Timurleng (1294-1307) had succeeded to the throne. Though the latter did not embrace Christianity, he threw no obstacles in the way of the zealous missionary, who, in spite of the opposition of the Nestorians already settled there, soon won the confidence of the ruler. In 1299 he built a church at Peking and in 1305 a second opposite the imperial palace, together with workshops and dwellings for two hundred persons. He gradually bought from heathen parents about one hundred and fifty boys, from seven to eleven years of age, instructed them in Latin and Greek, wrote psalms and hymns for them and then trained them to serve Mass and sing in the choir. At the same time he familiarized himself with the native language, preached in it, and translated into Chinese the New Testament and the Psalms. Among the six thousand converts of John of Montecorvino was a Nestorian king named George, of the race of the priest John, a vassal of the great khan, mentioned by Marco Polo. After he had worked alone for eleven years, a German associate, Arnold of Cologne, was sent to him (1304). In 1307 Clement V, highly pleased with the missionary's success, sent seven Franciscans who were commissioned to consecrate John of Montecorvino Archbishop of Peking and chief archbishop (summus archiepiscopus) of all those countries; they were themselves to be his suffragan bishops. Only three of these envoys arrived safely: Gerardus, Peregrinus, and Andrew of Perugia. They consecrated John in 1308 and succeeded each other in the See of Zaiton, established by Montecorvino. In 1312 three more Franciscans arrived from Rome as suffragans. John of Montecorvino departed this life (1328) honoured as a saint by Christian and heathen.
    Our chief information about him and his work is found in two letters written in 1305 and 1306, printed in WADDING, Annales Minorum, VI (Rome, 1733), 69-72, and MOSHEIM, Historia Tartarorum (Helmstadt, 1741), append. n. 44 and 45. There is an English translation of these letters in YULE, Cathay and the Way Thither, I (London, 1866), 197-209. Biographical notices are to be found, moreover, in REMUSAT, Nouveaux melanges asiatiques, II (Paris, 1829), 193-98: KUNSTMANN, Die Missionen in Indien und China im 14. Jahrhundert in Hist.-polit-Blätter, XXXVII (Munich, 1856), 229-41; HUC, Le Christianisme en Chine, I (Paris, 1857), 383-433; HEYD, Die Kolonien der roemischen Kirche in den Tartarenlaendem im 13. u. 24. Jahrh. in Zeitschrift fuer die histor. Theol., XXVIII (Gotha, 1858), 286-96.
    OTTO HARTIG
    Transcribed by John Fobian In memory of John Crowley, S.J.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • John of Montecorvino — John of Montecorvino. John of Montecorvino or Giovanni da Montecorvino in Italian[1] (1246 1328) was an Italian Franciscan missionary, traveler and statesman, founder of the earliest Roman Catholic missions in India and …   Wikipedia

  • Montecorvino — may refer to: Localities Montecorvino Pugliano, Italian municipality of the province of Salerno Montecorvino Rovella, Italian municipality of the province of Salerno Motta Montecorvino, Italian municipality of the province of Foggia… …   Wikipedia

  • Jean De Montecorvino — Jean de Montecorvino (ou de Montecorvin), né en 1246 à Montecorvino dans le sud de l Italie et mort à Beijing (Pékin) en 1328 est un franciscain fondateur de la mission catholique de Chine. Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean de montecorvino — Jean de Montecorvino (ou de Montecorvin), né en 1246 à Montecorvino dans le sud de l Italie et mort à Beijing (Pékin) en 1328 est un franciscain fondateur de la mission catholique de Chine. Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean de Montecorvino — (ou de Montecorvin), né en 1246 à Montecorvino Rovella dans le sud de l Italie et mort à Beijing (Pékin) en 1328 est un franciscain fondateur de la mission catholique de Chine. Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Motta Montecorvino —   Comune   Comune di Motta Montecorvino …   Wikipedia

  • Prester John — /pres teuhr/ a legendary Christian monk and potentate of the Middle Ages, supposed to have had a kingdom in some remote part of Asia or Africa and associated with fabulous narratives of travel. * * * Legendary Christian ruler of the East. He was… …   Universalium

  • Medieval Roman Catholic Missions in China — Main articles: Christianity in China and Christianity among the Mongols The second major thrust of Christianity into China occurred during the 13th century. The Mongols, under the leadership of Genghis Khan, began reaching outward from Central… …   Wikipedia

  • Roman Catholicism in China — See also: Christianity in China Roman Catholicism in China (called Tiānzhǔ jiào, 天主教, literally, Religion of the Lord of Heaven , after the term for God traditionally used in Chinese by Catholics) has a long and complicated history. Christianity… …   Wikipedia

  • Giovanni di Monte Corvino — Jean de Montecorvino Jean de Montecorvino Jean de Montecorvino (ou de Montecorvin), né en 1246 à Montecorvino dans le sud de l Italie et mort à Beijing (Pékin) en 1328 est un franciscain fondateur de la mission catholique de Chine. Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”