Christianity in China

  • 635

    Alopen is the first recorded Christian Missionary in China

    Alopen is the first recorded Christian Missionary in China
    From Syria, he is recorded as the first missionary in China during the Tang Dynasty. He is mentioned on a stone tablet erected near Xi'an in 781.
    Pictured: Stone Tablet that mentions Alopen
  • 1294

    First Catholic Missionary Arrives in Beijing (known as Khanbaliq)

    First Catholic Missionary Arrives in Beijing (known as Khanbaliq)
    This was Giovanni da Montecorvino, an Italian Franciscan. Montercorvino is the first Roman Catholic Missionary in China and this was during the Yuan Dynasty. He is also China's first Catholic Bishop.
    Pictured: Giovanni da Montecorvino
  • 1369

    Christians expelled from China

    Christians expelled from China
    With the fall of the Yuan Dynasty and the emergence of the Ming Dynasty, they expelled ALL Christians.
    Pictured: Zhu Yuanzhang-first emperor of the Ming dynasty
  • 1582

    Matteo Ricci arrives in Macau, China

    Matteo Ricci arrives in Macau, China
    Matteo Ricci, an Italian Jesuit, is ordered to go to China. He arrives in Macau; after one year he moves to Zhaoqing. He is part of the Society of Jesus also known as the Jesuit Order which was started by St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier. The arrival of Ricci is when Christianity takes root.
    Picture: Matteo Ricci
  • Ricci befriends a Confucian Scholar Qu Taisu

    Ricci moves from Zhaoqing to Shaozhou and begins a close friendship with Qu Taisu. Ricci teaches him math, and in return Taisu introduces Ricci to the high-level military and civil officials of the Chinese Empire.This will aid in Ricci in being invited to serve on the imperial court.
  • Ricci is invited to the Forbidden City

    Ricci is invited to the Forbidden City
    Ricci is invited into the Forbidden City by the Kangxi emperor and given a spot on the imperial court. Ricci is respected for his knowledge in math, astronomy, and philosophy. He became the first Westerner to enter the Forbidden City and the first Christian (Catholic) on the imperial court.
    Pictured: Matteo Ricci
  • Pope Paul V gives permission that Mass can be said in Chinese

    Pope Paul V gives permission that Mass can be said in Chinese
    Before this decree, the Liturgy would have to be said in Latin which requires the locals to learn a different language. However, with the plea of Ricci, China became the only exception to this rule.
    Pictured: Pope Paul V
  • Gregory Luo Wenzao Becomes Bishop

    Gregory Luo Wenzao is the first Chinese Priest who then becomes consecrated as the first Roman Catholic Bishop in China.
  • Kangxi releases Edict of Toleration to Christians

    Kangxi releases Edict of Toleration to Christians
    The edict explains that the europeans conducted themselves properly, do not incite any disturbances, and has nothing in common with the false sects in the empire. Thus, let them worship God and preserve their friendship between Kangxi and the Christians. Kangxi admired the Jesuits intellect, conduct, and effort to learn the language. The Jesuits impressed Kangxi with their predictions and astronomy-related calculations.
    Pictured: Jesuit astronomer with Kangxi Emperor.
  • Chinese Rites controversy

    The Franciscan and Dominican Orders are not pleased with the Jesuits permitting the Chinese faithful to practice Confucianism, continue to pray to their dead ancestors (seen as idolatry), and other traditional Chinese rites that do not line up with the faith. They go to Rome with the complaint.
    (Debate over this was between the 16th and 17th century)
  • Pope Clement XI's anti-rite Decree

    Pope Clement XI's anti-rite Decree
    Pope Clement XI submitted the anti-rites Decree which stated that Chinese Rites and Confucianism is not compatible with the faith and should be outlawed.
    Pictured: Pope Clement XI
  • Kangxi Sends Letter to Pope Clement XI

    Kangxi Sends Letter to Pope Clement XI
    Kangxi sends europeans to Pope Clement XI in hopes that he reverse the anti-rite decree. With no word back from these missions, he writes an open letter to the Pope in hopes that he repeals his anti-rite decree.
    Pictured: Open letter written in Manchu, Chinese, and Latin to Pope Clement XI
  • Kangxi bans Christians from China

    Due to the disagreement between Kangxi and Pope Clement XI, Kangxi bans Christians from China and preaching if they want to avoid trouble. However, this did not stop missionaries from returning.
  • Treaty of Nanjing-The right to send missionaries and build Churches

    Treaty of Nanjing-The right to send missionaries and build Churches
    After China loses the First Opium War, they are forced to sign an unequal treaty with the British. France, Germany, and America all sign an unequal treaty as well. The treaty also permitted that the respective countries have the right to send missionaries and to build churches.
  • Period: to

    Taiping Rebellion

    Broke out in 1851 which was started in the countryside because of the poor harvests and famine. Leading the rebellion was Hong Xiuquan who had a vision that he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ. Eventually, it died down and the Qing regained rebel land.
  • First Sino-Japanese War

    First Sino-Japanese War
    Japan defeats the Chinese and imposes an unequal treaty just like the Westerners did. This was seen as a massive hit to China because they saw Japan as their little brother in which it learned from China. This was the straw that broke that camels back and would eventually lead to anti-foreigner and anti-Christian resentments.
    Pictured: Japanese troops during the Sino-Japanese War
  • Flooding in Shandong

    The Yellow River changed its course which caused a disastrous flood which made national news. This was followed by a severe drought, people were homeless, and famine was present. Foreign powers did not care and the Qing had no money. This would increase the hatred and despise toward the foreign powers because they did not help.
  • Boxers emerge

    Boxers emerge
    A group who call themselves the Boxers emerge from the scene as more of a political movement and start to veer off the martial arts and spiritual trainings. Foreigners were synonymous with Christians and that was who their targets were.
    Pictured: Boxer Member
  • Boxer Rebellion

    Boxer Rebellion
    Due to the exploitation of the Chinese, famine, homelessness, flooding, all due to the unequal treaties signed, the boxers possess anti-foreign sentiments and associate foreigners with Christianity. According to estimates, approximately 10,000 Christians were killed.
    Pictured: Chinese Christian converts flee the Boxers
  • Boxer Protocol

    Boxer Protocol
    This was another treaty that China was forced to sign. Chinese had to pay 700 million dollars for war reparations. The Nations apologized for their soldiers that ransacked Beijing during the National Alliance square-off vs the Boxers.
    Pictured: Imperial Army of the Qing sided with the Boxers and we see cadets of the Imperial Army
  • May Fourth Movement

    May Fourth Movement
    Started as a protest against the Treaty of Versailles which among other things, caused outrage because it gave Japan territories in Shandong Province. The people were anti-imperialism and this was strongly associated with Christianity. Also, it occurred because of the weak response of the government. The Communist Party saw it as the birth of their movement.
    Pictured: Students in Beijing protesting
  • Anti-Christian Movement

    They thought that Christianity was a tool by the foreigners, they did not trust it nor did they like it. They destroyed churches and attacked missionaries.
  • Period: to

    Chinese Civil War and World War II impact on Christianity

    This is where the Chinese Churches are in full autonomy and not influenced by the West. However, this intense war period made it difficult for new Churches to be built.
  • Peoples Republic of China established

    Peoples Republic of China established
    The Communist Party is in control and with that comes their atheistic worldview. At the time, there were 3 million Chinese Catholics and 1 million protestants who are forced to accept this. Religion was discouraged by the state and many Christian missionaries left China.
    Pictured: Mao Zedong announcing this at Tiananmen Square.
  • Period: to

    Foreign Missionaries exiled

    All foreign missionaries are exiled, Catholic Nuns and Priests are forced to leave China while many of them are arrested.
  • The Christian Manifesto

    The Christian Manifesto
    In an effort to harmonize Christianity with Mao Zedong and Communist China, 138 Chinese Protestants issue the document "The Christian Manifesto" which contains how Chinese Christians should govern themselves. The three-selfs were self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation.
    Pictured: Christians Manifesto on the front cover of the Peoples Daily
  • Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association established

    Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association established
    China establishes the CCPA and in response Pope Pious XII issues an encyclical called "Ad Apostolorum Principis," which condemns the CCPA and any priest or bishop who partakes in the CCPA to be excommunicated.
    Pictured: Pope Pious XII
  • Period: to

    Cultural Revolution bans Christianity

    During the Cultural Revolution, this ten year period included persecution of all religions. The Communist youth, known as Red Guards attacked nuns, priests, faithful, and would destroy churches and other buildings of worship. This was when Christians started to go underground and practice their faith. An unknown amount of Catholics are sent to labor camps, prisoned, or executed.
  • Period: to

    Christians Imprisoned

    During this time, several thousand Christians are known to have been imprisoned.
  • "Regulations Concerning Places of Religious Worship" are passed

    This requires that all places of worship register with the state which causes a great divide between the Holy See of Rome and China. Underground Worship is not registered with the state and are in accordance with Rome.
  • Pope John Paul II controversy

    Pope John Paul II controversy
    Pope John Paul II canonizes 120 martyrs of China including 87 that were Chinese. The Chinese government was highly critical of this.
    Pictured: The Martyrs of China
  • New Religious Regulations Imposed on Christians

    SARA imposes new rules on the faithful in China. One of them being that they must report membership status to the state as to divert people away from entering in the underground churches.
  • Demolition of Protestant Cathedral

    Demolition of Protestant Cathedral
    In the coastal Chinese city of Wenzhou, a Protestant Cathedral was demolished. This was to curtail the fastest growing religion in China with 100 million Christians.
  • 100 Chinese Christians snatched from Underground Church

    In a recent news event, 100 Chinese Christians were taken during a raid in Chengdu in Sichuan Province. A Pastor was included as one of the people arrested.