Category:Church of the East in China
Pages in category "Church of the East in China"
The following 13 pages are in this category, out of 13 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
The following 13 pages are in this category, out of 13 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
1. Church of the East in China – Locally, the religion was known as Jingjiao. Two possibly Nestorian monks were preaching Christianity in India in the 6th century before they smuggled silkworm eggs from China to the Eastern Roman Empire, the first recorded Christian mission to China was led by the Syriac monk known in Chinese as Alopen. Alopens mission arrived in the Chinese capital Changan in 635, during the reign of Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty, Taizong extended official tolerance to the mission and invited the Christians to translate their sacred works for the imperial library. This tolerance was followed by many of Taizongs successors, allowing the Church of the East to thrive in China for over 200 years, China became a metropolitan province of the Church of the East, under the name Beth Sinaye, in the first quarter of the 8th century. According to the 14th-century writer ʿAbdishoʿ of Nisibis, the province was established by the patriarch Sliba-zkha, in 781 the Christian community in Changan erected a tablet known as the Nestorian Stele on the grounds of a local monastery. The stele contains an inscription in Chinese with Syriac glosses, composed by the cleric Adam. The inscription describes the progress of the Nestorian mission in China since Alopens arrival. The inscription also mentions the archdeacons Gigoi of Khumdan and Gabriel of Sarag, Yazdbuzid, priest and country-bishop of Khumdan, Sargis, priest and country-bishop, and the bishop Yohannan. Shortly afterwards Thomas of Marga mentions the monk David of Beth ʿAbe, Timothy I is said also to have consecrated a metropolitan for Tibet, a province not again mentioned. The collapse of the Church of the East in China coincided with the fall of the Tang Dynasty, dozens of Jingjiao texts were translated from Syriac into Chinese. These are generally referred to as the Chinese Nestorian manuscripts, but are known as the Jesus Sutras. One of the texts, the Zunjing or Book of Praise. Among these books are some translations of the Scriptures, including the Pentateuch - Genesis is known as 渾元經, Psalms, the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and these translations of the Scriptures have not survived. Two additional Jingjiao manuscripts not listed in the Zunjing have also discovered, Sutra of Hearing the Messiah. The Church of the East had significant evangelical success under the Mongol Empire, the Mongol invasion of China in the 13th century allowed the church to return to China. By the end of the two new metropolitan provinces had been created for China, Tangut and Katai and Ong. The province of Tangut covered northwestern China, and its metropolitan seems to have sat at Almaliq, the metropolitans of Katai and Ong probably sat at the Mongol capital Khanbaliq. The patriarch Yahballaha III grew up in a monastery in northern China in the 1270s, Yahballaha himself was consecrated metropolitan of Katai and Ong by the patriarch Denha I shortly before his death in 1281
2. Guo Ziyi – Guo Ziyi, formally Prince Zhōngwǔ of Fényáng, was the Tang dynasty general who ended the An Lushan Rebellion and participated in expeditions against the Uyghur Khaganate) and Tibetan Empire. He was regarded as one of the most powerful Tang generals before, after his death he was immortalized in Chinese mythology as the God of Wealth and Happiness. Guo Ziyi was a reportedly a Nestorian Christian, Guo Ziyi was born into the family of a middle-class civil servant in Hua Prefecture. Around 735 Guo Ziyi was saved from a court martial by the poet Li Bai, unlike other members of his family, Guo Ziyi entered political life through the official military examinations instead of a literary exam. He passed the examinations in 749 and became an officer in the border regions of the Tang Empire. Limited records exist about Guo Ziyi before the An Lushan Rebellion, when rebellion broke out in 755, Guo Ziyi was assigned to protect the Tong Pass, a strategic location on the Chinese frontier. A large force of ten thousand rebels were marching toward the pass, Guo Ziyi took advantage of the situation by luring the rebels onto the plains in front of the pass where there were only scarce settlements. The rebels saw little to loot and were discouraged, while the Tang troops were prepared to fight, motivated by the desire to protect their families in the Tong Pass and the capital of Changan. Guo engaged the seven thousand troops at the Battle of Qingbi and scattered the rest while suffering few casualties to his own force, by the following year of 756 the capital fell due to the ineptitude and corruption of the chancellor Yang Guozhong and his eunuchs. Emperor Xuanzong of Tang fled the city, accompanied by his guard and members of the Yang family. Members of the entourage, including the troops, resented Yang Guozhong, holding him responsible for the strategy that led to the fall of Changan. Yang Guozhong was denounced and executed, following this, the emperors own troops also forced him to execute his beloved consort Yang Guifei. The emperor then fled with the remainder of the entourage under difficult conditions to Chengdu in Jiannan, meanwhile, Guo Ziyi confronted a great force of a hundred thousand led by rebel commander Shi Siming. Although Guo had only ten thousand men he delayed Shi Simings army until reinforcements could arrive, Shi Siming was tricked into thinking he would be ambushed if he moved against Guo and was delayed forty days. At that point commander Li Guangbi came to Guos relief with ninety thousand men, the opposing forces clashed, resulting in few Tang losses, while the rebels suffered ten thousand casualties. Shi Siming quickly gathered up what was left of his force and retreated back to Fanyang, Li recommended Guo to Emperor Xuanzong, and Guo quickly asked the emperor for permission to launch an immediate counter-attack to destroy the remaining rebels, but Xuanzong refused him. Xuanzongs son, Li Heng, stayed behind in the city of Lingwu, Emperor Suzong of Tang immediately began organizing a counter-attack against the advancing rebels. From this time on, Xuanzong was known as the Retired Emperor, and after the retaking of Changan from the rebels he returned there, the rebel crisis decreased the power of the Imperial Court
3. Rabban Bar Sauma – Rabban Bar Sauma, also known as Rabban Ṣawma or Rabban Çauma, was a Turkic/Chinese monk turned diplomat of the Nestorian Church of the East in China. He is known for embarking on a pilgrimage from Mongol-controlled China to Jerusalem with one of his students, due to military unrest along the way, they never reached their destination, but instead spent many years in Mongol-controlled Baghdad. The younger Markos was eventually chosen as Patriarch of the Church of the East, the elderly monk met with many of the European monarchs, as well as the Pope, in attempts to arrange a Franco-Mongol alliance. The mission bore no fruit, but in his years in Baghdad. His travels occurred prior to the return of Marco Polo to Europe, Rabban Bar Sauma was born c.1220 in or near modern-day Beijing, known then as Zhongdu, later as Khanbaliq under Mongol rule. According to Gregory Barhebraeus he was of Turkic Uyghur origin, Chinese accounts describe his heritage as Wanggu, a tribe of Turkic origin classified as part of the Mongol Caste of the Yuan Dynasty. The name bar Ṣauma is Aramaic for Son of Fasting though he was born to a wealthy family and he was a follower of the Nestorian faith, and became an ascetic monk around the age of 20 and then a religious teacher for decades. In his middle age, Rabban Bar Sauma and one of his younger students Rabban Marcos embarked on a journey from China, to make a pilgrimage to the religious center of Jerusalem. They travelled by way of the former Tangut country, Khotan, Kashgar, Talas in the Syr Darya valley, Khorasan, Maragha and Mosul, arriving at Ani in Armenia. The Patriarch requested the two monks to visit the court of the Mongol Ilkhanate ruler Abaqa, in order to obtain confirmation letters for Mar Denhas ordination as Patriarch in 1266, during the journey, Rabban Markos was declared a Nestorian bishop. The Patriarch then attempted to send the monks as messengers back to China, but military conflict along the route delayed their departure, when the Patriarch died, Rabban Marcos was elected as his replacement, Mar Yaballaha III in 1281. The two monks traveled to Maragha to have the selection confirmed by Abagha, but the Ilkhanate ruler died before their arrival and it was Arghuns desire to form a strategic Franco-Mongol alliance with the Christian Europeans, against their common enemy the Muslim Mamluks. A few years later, the new patriarch Mar Yaballaha suggested his former teacher Rabban Bar Sauma for the embassy, to meet with the Pope and the European monarchs. In 1287, the elderly Bar Sauma embarked on his journey to Europe, bearing gifts and letters from Arghun to the Byzantine emperor, the Pope, and he followed the embassy of another Nestorian, Isa Kelemechi, sent by Arghun to Pope Honorius IV, in 1285. Rabban Bar Sauma traveled with a retinue of assistants, and 30 riding animals. Bar Sauma likely did not speak any European languages, though he was known to be fluent in Chinese, Turkish, Europeans communicated to him in Persian. Bar Saumas writings give a particularly enthusiastic description of the beautiful Hagia Sophia and he next travelled to Italy, again journeying by ship. As their course took them past the island of Sicily, he witnessed and recorded the eruption of Mount Etna on June 18,1287
4. Nestorian Stele – The Nestorian Stele, also known as the Nestorian Stone, Nestorian Monument, or Nestorian Tablet, is a Tang Chinese stele erected in 781 that documents 150 years of early Christianity in China. It is a 279 cm tall limestone block with text in both Chinese and Syriac describing the existence of Christian communities in cities in northern China. It reveals that the initial Nestorian Christian church had met recognition by the Tang Emperor Taizong, according to the Stele, Alopen and his fellow Syriac missionaries came to China from Daqin in the ninth year of Emperor Taizong, bringing sacred books and images. Buried in 845, probably during religious suppression, the stele was not rediscovered until 1625, the stele is thought to have been buried in 845, during a campaign of anti-Buddhist persecution, which also affected the Nestorians. The stele was unearthed in the late Ming Dynasty beside Chongren Temple in Longquan, the newly discovered stele attracted attention of local intellectuals. It was Zhang Gengyou who first identified the text as Christian in content, alvaro Semedo was the first European to visit the stele. Nicolas Trigaults Latin translation of the monuments inscription soon made its way in Europe, portuguese and Italian translations, and a Latin re-translation, were soon published as well. Semedos account of the discovery was published in 1641, in his Imperio de la China. The first publication of the original Chinese and Syriac text of the inscription in Europe is attributed to Athanasius Kircher, China Illustrata edited by Kircher included a reproduction of the original inscription in Chinese characters, Romanization of the text, and a Latin translation. This was perhaps the first sizeable Chinese text made available in its form to the European public. A sophisticated Romanization system, reflecting Chinese tones, used to transcribe the text, was the one developed earlier by Matteo Riccis collaborator Lazzaro Cattaneo, mungello suggests that Matthaeus Sina may have been the person who traveled from China to Europe overland with Johann Grueber. The heading on the stone, Chinese for Memorial of the Propagation in China of the Luminous Religion from Daqin. An even more abbreviated version of the title, 景教碑, in its Wade-Giles form, the name of the stele can also be translated as A Monument Commemorating the Propagation of the Ta-Chin Luminous Religion in the Middle Kingdom. The stele was erected on January 7,781, at the capital city of Changan. The calligraphy was by Lü Xiuyan, and the content was composed by the Nestorian monk Jingjing in the four-, a gloss in Syriac identifies Jingjing with Adam, priest, chorepiscopus and papash of Sinistan. A Syriac dating formula refers to the Nestorian patriarch Hnanishoʿ II, in fact, the reigning Nestorian patriarch in January 781 was Timothy I, who had been consecrated in Baghdad on 7 May 780. The names of several higher clergy and around seventy monks or priests are listed. The names of the higher clergy appear on the front of the stone while those of the priests and monks are inscribed in rows along the sides of the stone
5. Sorghaghtani Beki – Sorghaghtani Beki or Bekhi, also written Sorkaktani, Sorkhokhtani, Sorkhogtani, Siyurkuktiti was a Keraite princess and daughter-in-law of Genghis Khan. Married to Tolui, Genghis youngest son, Sorghaghtani Beki became one of the most powerful, Sorghaghtani Beki was a Christian, specifically a member of the Church of the East. Sorghaghtani was the daughter of Jakha Gambhu, the brother of the powerful Keraite leader Toghrul. However, Toghrul refused this alliance, and later attempted to kill the increasingly powerful Temüjin through an invitation to discuss this proposal, however, Temüjin discovered this plan and they escaped at the last moment. Eventually, the Keraites were routed in the war and Toghrul was killed. Unlike his brother, Jakha usually supported Temüjin and gave his two daughters to him and one daughter to Genghis Khans oldest son Jochi. Genghis married the elder of the daughters, and gave young Sorghaghtani, Sorghaghtanis father Jakha was probably killed when the Keraites revolted against Genghis Khan in 1204. Like most Mongol women of the time, Sorghaghtani wielded great authority at home, Mongol women had far more rights than in many other cultures at the time, especially since the men were often away and they were the ones responsible for the home. Although she herself was illiterate, she recognized the value of literacy in running such a far-flung empire, each of her sons learned a different language for different regions. Sorghaghtani, a Nestorian Christian, respected other religions and her sons, like Genghis, were all very liberal-minded in matters of religion, and the Mongol Empire promulgated the notion of state above religion while supporting all major religions of the time. Sorghaghtani also financed the construction of a madrasa in Bukhara and gave alms to both Christians and Muslims, soghoghtanis husband Tolui, whose appanages included eastern Mongolia, parts of Iran and North China, died at the age of 40 in 1232. Ögedei Khan, Genghiss third son who had succeeded his father, the Secret History suggests that Ögedei may have consulted Sorghaghtani on various matters, and he always held her in high regard. Ögedei sought to link her realm to his and proposed marriage, which she declined, he proposed that she marry his son Güyük. This decision later turned out to be one of the most important ones in the formation of the Mongol Empire, as all four of Sorghaghtanis sons became leaders in their own right. When Sorghaghtani asked for part of Hebei province as her appanage in 1236 after the end of the Mongol conquest of the Jin dynasty, Ögedei hesitated and she shunned him into compliance by pointing out that the place was hers by right anyway, because her husband had conquered it. However, Ögedei also expanded his personal appanage, seizing some territories of Tolui, after Ögedei Khans death in 1241, his wife Töregene Khatun ruled as regent until 1246, when she managed to get her son Güyük elected as the Khagan at a large kurultai. However, he set out to undermine his mothers power as well as that of Sorghaghtani, Alaqai Beki. Meanwhile, the ambitious Sorghaghtani had secretly teamed up with Güyüks cousin Batu Khan, after Güyüks death, Sorghaghtani sent her eldest son Möngke to Batu Khan