Matteo Ricci, S.J. (Italian pronunciation: [matˈtɛːo ˈrittʃi]; Latin: Mattheus Riccius Maceratensis; 6 October 1552 – 11 May 1610), was an Italian Jesuit priest and one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China missions. His 1602 map of the world in Chinese characters introduced the findings of European exploration to East Asia. He is considered a Servant of God by the Roman Catholic Church.
Ricci arrived at the Portuguese settlement of Macau in 1582 where he began his missionary work in China. He became the first European to enter the Forbidden City of Beijing in 1601 when invited by the Wanli Emperor, who sought his selected services in matters such as court astronomy and calendrical science. He converted several prominent Chinese officials to Catholicism, such as his colleague Xu Guangqi, who aided in translating Euclid's Elements into Chinese as well as the Confucian classics into Latin for the first time.
Ricci was born 6 October 1552, in Macerata, part of the Papal States, and today a city in the Italian region of Marche. He made his classical studies in his native town and studied law at Rome for two years. He entered the Society of Jesus in April 1571 at the Roman College. While there, in addition to philosophy and theology, he also studied mathematics, cosmology, and astronomy under the direction of Father Christopher Clavius. In 1577, he applied for a missionary expedition to the Far East. He sailed from Lisbon, Portugal in March 1578 and arrived in Goa, a Portuguese Colony, the following September. Ricci remained there employed in teaching and the ministry until the end of Lent, 1582, when he was summoned to Macau to prepare to enter China. Ricci arrived at Macau in the early part of August.
In August 1582, Ricci arrived at Macau, a Portuguese trading post on the South China Sea. At the time, Christian missionary activity in China was almost completely limited to Macau, where some of the local Chinese people had converted to Christianity and lived in the Portuguese manner. No Christian missionary had attempted seriously to learn the Chinese language until 1579 (three years before Ricci's arrival), when Michele Ruggieri was invited from Portuguese India expressly to study Chinese, by Alessandro Valignano, founder of St. Paul Jesuit College (Macau), and to prepare for the Jesuits' mission from Macau into Mainland China.
Once in Macau, Ricci studied Chinese language and customs. It was the beginning of a long project that made him one of the first Western scholars to master Chinese script and Classical Chinese. With Ruggieri, he traveled to Guangdong's major cities, Canton and Zhaoqing (then the residence of the Viceroy of Guangdong and Guangxi), seeking to establish a permanent Jesuit mission outside Macau.
In 1583, Ricci and Ruggieri settled in Zhaoqing, at the invitation of the governor of Zhaoqing, Wang Pan, who had heard of Ricci's skill as a mathematician and cartographer. Ricci stayed in Zhaoqing from 1583 to 1589, when he was expelled by a new viceroy. It was in Zhaoqing, in 1584, that Ricci composed the first European-style world map in Chinese, called "Da Ying Quan Tu" (Chinese: 大瀛全圖; literally: "Complete Map of the Great World"). No prints of the 1584 map are known to exist, but, of the much improved and expanded Kunyu Wanguo Quantu of 1602, six recopied, rice-paper versions survive.
It is thought that, during their time in Zhaoqing, Ricci and Ruggieri compiled a Portuguese-Chinese dictionary, the first in any European language, for which they developed a system for transcribing Chinese words in the Latin alphabet. The manuscript was misplaced in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, rediscovered only in 1934, and published only in 2001.
There is now a memorial plaque in Zhaoqing to commemorate Ricci's six-year stay there, as well as a "Ricci Memorial Centre" in a building dating from the 1860s.
Further travels saw Ricci reach Nanjing (Ming's southern capital) and Nanchang in 1595. In August 1597, Alessandro Valignano (1539–1606), his superior, appointed him Major Superior of the mission in China, with the rank and powers of a Provincial, a charge that he fulfilled until his death. He moved to Tongzhou (a port of Beijing) in 1598, and first reached the capital Beijing itself on 7 September 1598. However, because of a Chinese intervention against Japanese invasion of Korea at the time, Ricci could not reach the Imperial Palace. After waiting for two months, he left Beijing; first for Nanjing and then Suzhou in Southern Zhili Province.
During the winter of 1598, Ricci, with the help of his Jesuit colleague Lazzaro Cattaneo, compiled another Chinese-Portuguese dictionary, in which tones in Chinese syllables were indicated in Roman text with diacritical marks. Unlike Ricci's and Ruggieri's earlier Portuguese-Chinese dictionary, this work has not been found.
In 1601, Ricci was invited to become an adviser to the imperial court of the Wanli Emperor, the first Westerner to be invited into the Forbidden City. This honor was in recognition of Ricci's scientific abilities, chiefly his predictions of solar eclipses, which were significant events in the Chinese world. He established the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Beijing, the oldest Catholic church in the city. Ricci was given free access to the Forbidden City but never met the reclusive Wanli Emperor, who, however, granted him patronage, with a generous stipend and supported Ricci's completion of the Zhifang Waiji, China's first global atlas.
Once established in Beijing, Ricci was able to meet important officials and leading members of the Beijing cultural scene and convert a number of them to Christianity. One conversion, which he called "extraordinary", occurred in 1602, when Li Yingshi, a decorated veteran of the Japanese/Korean War and a well-known astrologer and feng shui expert, became a Christian and provided the Jesuits with a wealth of information.
Ricci was also the first European to learn about the Kaifeng Jews, being contacted by a member of that community who was visiting Beijing in 1605. Ricci never visited Kaifeng, Henan Province, but he sent a junior missionary there in 1608, the first of many such missions. In fact, the elderly Chief Rabbi of the Jews was ready to cede his power to Ricci, as long as he gave up eating pork, but Ricci never accepted the position.
Ricci died on 11 May 1610, in Beijing, aged 57. By the code of the Ming Dynasty, foreigners who died in China had to be buried in Macau. Diego de Pantoja made a special plea to the court, requesting a burial plot in Beijing, in the light of Ricci's contributions to China. The Wanli Emperor granted this request and designated a Buddhist temple for the purpose. In October 1610, Ricci's remains were transferred there. The graves of Ferdinand Verbiest, Johann Adam Schall von Bell, and other missionaries are also there, and it became known as the Zhalan Cemetery, which is today located within the campus of the Beijing Administrative College, in Xicheng District, Beijing.
Ricci was succeeded as Superior General of the China mission by Nicolò Longobardo in 1610. Longobardo entrusted another Jesuit, Nicolas Trigault, with expanding and editing, as well as translating into Latin, those of Ricci's papers that were found in his office after his death. This work was first published in 1615 in Augsburg as De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas and soon was translated into a number of other European languages.
Ricci could speak Chinese as well as read and write classical Chinese, the literary language of scholars and officials. He was known for his appreciation of Chinese culture in general but condemned the prostitution which was widespread in Beijing at the time. During his research, he discovered that in contrast to the cultures of South Asia, Chinese culture was strongly intertwined with Confucian values and therefore decided to use existing Chinese concepts to explain Christianity. With Superior Valignano's formal approval, he aligned himself with the Confucian intellectually elite literati, and even adopted their mode of dress. He did not explain the Catholic faith as entirely foreign or new; instead, he said that the Chinese culture and people always believed in God and that Christianity is simply the completion of their faith.:323 He borrowed an unusual Chinese term, Tiānzhǔ (天主, "Lord of Heaven") to describe the God of Abraham, despite the term's origin in traditional Chinese worship of Heaven. (He also cited many synonyms from the Confucian Classics.) He supported Chinese traditions by agreeing with the veneration of family ancestors. Dominican and Franciscan missionaries considered this an unacceptable accommodation, and later appealed to the Vatican on the issue.:324 This Chinese rites controversy continued for centuries, with the most recent Vatican statement as recently as 1939. Some contemporary authors have praised Ricci as an exemplar of beneficial inculturation, avoiding at the same time distorting the Gospel message or neglecting the indigenous cultural media.
Like developments in India, the identification of European culture with Christianity led almost to the end of Catholic missions in China, but Christianity continued to grow in Sichuan and some other locations.:324
Ricci also met a Korean emissary to China, Yi Sugwang. He taught Yi the basic tenets of Catholicism and gave him several books concerning the west which were incorporated into his Jibong Yuseol, the first Korean encyclopedia. Along with João Rodrigues's gifts to the ambassador Jeong Duwon in 1631, Ricci's gifts influenced the creation of Korea's Silhak movement.
The cause of his beatification, originally begun in 1984, was reopened on 24 January 2010, at the cathedral of the Italian diocese of Macerata-Tolentino-Recanati-Cingoli-Treia. Bishop Claudio Giuliodori, the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Macerata, formally closed the diocesan phase of the sainthood process on 10 May 2013. The cause moved to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican in 2014.
The following places and institutions are named after Matteo Ricci:
In the run-up to the 400th anniversary of Ricci's death, the Vatican Museums hosted a major exhibit dedicated to his life. Additionally, Italian film director Gjon Kolndrekaj produced a 60-minute documentary about Ricci, released in 2009, titled Matteo Ricci: A Jesuit in the Dragon's Kingdom, filmed in Italy and China.
In Taipei, the Taipei Ricci Institute and the National Central Library of Taiwan opened jointly the Matteo Ricci Pacific Studies Reading Room and the Taipei-based online magazine eRenlai, directed by Jesuit Benoît Vermander, dedicated its June 2010 issue to the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Ricci's death.
The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven (天主實義) is a book written by Ricci, which argues that Confucianism and Christianity are not opposed and in fact are remarkably similar in key respects. It was written in the form of a dialogue, originally in Chinese. Ricci used the treatise in his missionary effort to convert Chinese literati, men who were educated in Confucianism and the Chinese classics. In the Chinese Rites controversy, some Roman-Catholic missionaries raised the question whether Ricci and other Jesuits had gone too far and changed Christian beliefs to win converts.
Peter Phan argues that True Meaning was used by a Jesuit missionary to Vietnam, Alexandre de Rhodes, in writing a catechism for Vietnamese Christians. In 1631, Girolamo Maiorica and Bernardino Reggio, both Jesuit missionaries to Vietnam, started a short-lived press in Thăng Long (present-day Hanoi) to print copies of True Meaning and other texts. The book was also influential on later Protestant missionaries to China, James Legge and Timothy Richard, and through them John Nevius, John Ross, and William Edward Soothill, all influential in establishing Protestantism in China and Korea.
Antonio Ricci (died 1488) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Reggio Calabria (1453–1488).Colégio Mateus Ricci
Colégio Mateus Ricci (Chinese: 利瑪竇中學) is a Roman Catholic kindergarten/preschool through secondary school in Macau. It was named after Matteo Ricci and established in 1955. Caritas Macau established the school.The school has three separate campuses in Santo António (St. Anthony Parish), one for secondary grades, and two for nursery/kindergarten and primary grades.As of 2010 the school had almost 2,000 students.De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas
De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas suscepta ab Societate Jesu ... (Latin for "On the Christian Mission among the Chinese by the Society of Jesus ...") is a book based on an Italian manuscript written by the most important founding figure of the Jesuit China mission, Matteo Ricci (1552–1610), expanded and translated into Latin by his colleague Nicolas Trigault (1577–1628). The book was first published in 1615 in Augsburg.The book's full title is De Christiana expeditione apud sinas suscepta ab Societate Jesu. Ex P. Matthaei Riccii eiusdem Societatis commentariis Libri V: Ad S.D.N. Paulum V. In Quibus Sinensis Regni mores, leges, atque instituta, & novae illius Ecclesiae difficillima primordia accurate & summa fide describuntur
("The Christian Expedition among the Chinese undertaken by the Society of Jesus from the commentaries of Fr. Matteo Ricci of the same Society... in which the customs, laws, and principles of the Chinese kingdom and the most difficult first beginnings of the new Church there are accurately and with great fidelity described / authored by Fr. Nicolas Trigault, Flemish, of the same Society," dedicated to Pope Paul V). As it indicates, the work contained an overview of the late Ming China's geography, politics, and culture, its philosophy and religions, and described the history of Christianity's inroads into China (primarily, the work of Ricci himself and his fellow Jesuits). The book articulated Ricci's approach for planting Christianity on the Chinese soil: an "accommodationist" policy, as later scholars called it, based on the premise of the essential compatibility between Christianity and Confucianism. With some evolutionary changes, this policy continued to guide Jesuit missionaries in China for the next century.The first major book published in Europe by an author who was not only fluent in Chinese and conversant in Chinese culture but also had traveled over much of the country, Ricci-Trigault's work was highly popular, and went through at least 16 editions in a number of European languages in the several decades after its first publication.Delia Memorial School (Matteo Ricci)
Delia Memorial School (Matteo Ricci) (Chinese: 地利亞修女紀念學校（利瑪竇）) commenced its service in 1984, operating under the management of Delia Group of Schools. It joined the government Direct Subsidy Scheme in September 2000 and became a non-profitable organization located at Kwun Tong, Hong Kong. It is a full-time coeducational grammar school offering S1 – S6 curricula and recommending qualified candidates to sit the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination.Diego de Pantoja
Diego de Pantoja or Diego Pantoja (Chinese: 龐迪我, Pang Diwo; April 1571, Valdemoro, Spain – January 1618, Portuguese Macau, China) was a Spanish Jesuit and missionary to China who is best known for having accompanied Matteo Ricci in Beijing. His name also appears in some sources as Didaco Pantoia.He arrived in Portuguese Macau on 20 July, 1597, where he received his final instructions for his work in China at São Paulo Jesuit University. He was then sent to the Ming dynasty's southern capital, Nanjing, where he stayed from March 1600. He worked with Matteo Ricci, who later completed his work on the Zhifang waiji, China's first global atlas. Together, they left Nanjing on 19 May, 1600, and arrived at the Ming dynasty's Northern and overall capital, Beijing, on 24 January, 1601.
He worked in Beijing for many years, including as a musician, astronomer (with calendar corrections) and as a geographer (working with latitude).
On 18 March, 1617 he was tried as an enemy of the Chinese astronomers and was expelled from China, along with his colleague Sabatino de Ursis, and settled in Macao, where he lived for the short time remaining before his death.Far West (Taixi)
The Far West (Chinese and Japanese: 泰西; pinyin: tàixī; rōmaji: taisei; ) is a Chinese and Japanese term that refers to Europe, or more broadly, to the entire Western world. Originally a name for parts of Inner Asia and India, the term Far West as a Chinese exonym for the West was coined by the Italian Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci. Ricci invented the phrase as an Asian parallel to the Eurocentric notion of the Far East, which positioned Europe as a region on the fringes of a Sinocentric world. The term Far West was also used in Japan and appears in many Japanese publications.Jesuit China missions
The history of the missions of the Jesuits in China is part of the history of relations between China and the Western world. The missionary efforts and other work of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, between the 16th and 17th century played a significant role in continuing the transmission of knowledge, science, and culture between China and the West, and influenced Christian culture in Chinese society today.
The first attempt by the Jesuits to reach China was made in 1552 by St. Francis Xavier, Navarrese priest and missionary and founding member of the Society of Jesus. Xavier never reached the mainland, dying after only a year on the Chinese island of Shangchuan. Three decades later, in 1582, Jesuits once again initiated mission work in China, led by several figures including the Italian Matteo Ricci, introducing Western science, mathematics, astronomy, and visual arts to the Chinese imperial court, and carrying on significant inter-cultural and philosophical dialogue with Chinese scholars, particularly with representatives of Confucianism. At the time of their peak influence, members of the Jesuit delegation were considered some of the emperor's most valued and trusted advisors, holding prestigious posts in the imperial government. Many Chinese, including former Confucian scholars, adopted Christianity and became priests and members of the Society of Jesus.
According to research by David E. Mungello, from 1552 (i.e., the death of St. Francis Xavier) to 1800, a total of 920 Jesuits participated in the China mission, of whom 314 were Portuguese, and 130 were French. In 1844 China may have had 240,000 Roman Catholics, but this number grew rapidly, and in 1901 the figure reached 720,490. Many Jesuit priests, both Western-born and Chinese, are buried in the cemetery located in what is now the School of the Beijing Municipal Committee.Kunyu Wanguo Quantu
Kunyu Wanguo Quantu (Chinese: 坤輿萬國全圖; pinyin: Kūnyú Wànguó Quántú; literally: "A Map of the Myriad Countries of the World"; Italian: Carta Geografica Completa di tutti i Regni del Mondo, "Complete Geographical Map of all the Kingdoms of the World"), printed in China at the request of the Wanli Emperor during 1602 by the Italian Catholic missionary Matteo Ricci and Chinese collaborators, Mandarin Zhong Wentao and the technical translator, Li Zhizao, is the earliest known Chinese world map with the style of European maps. It has been referred to as the Impossible Black Tulip of Cartography, "because of its rarity, importance and exoticism". The map was crucial in expanding Chinese knowledge of the world. It was eventually exported to Korea then Japan and was influential there as well, though less so than Alenio's Zhifang Waiji.Li Yingshi
Li Yingshi (Chinese: 李应试, referred to by Jesuits as Li Paul; fl. ca. 1600) was a Ming Chinese military officer and a renowned mathematician, astrologer and feng shui expert, who was among the first Chinese literati to become Christian. Converted to Catholicism by Matteo Ricci and Diego de Pantoja, the first two Jesuits to establish themselves in Beijing, he became a zealous Christian, and was instrumental in the advancement of Catholicism in China.Matteo Ricci (disambiguation)
Matteo Ricci may refer to:
Matteo Ricci (midfielder)
Matteo Ricci (goalkeeper)Matteo Ricci (footballer, born February 1994)
Matteo Ricci (born 4 February 1994) is an Italian footballer who plays as a goalkeeper.Matteo Ricci (footballer, born May 1994)
Matteo Ricci (born 27 May 1994) is an Italian footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Spezia.Matteo Ricci College
Matteo Ricci College, one of eight schools and colleges at Seattle University in Washington state, offers three degrees: the Bachelor of Arts in Humanities for Teaching (BAHT), the Bachelor of Arts in Humanities for Leadership (BAHL), and the Bachelor of Arts in Humanities (BAH). The BAHT, a 4-year pre-education degree, and the BAHL, a 4-year leadership degree, are open to students from anywhere in the world. The BAH is a 3-year degree open to select students from Seattle Preparatory and five other high schools in the area, while those completing an on-line offering are also able to apply.Seattle University
Seattle University (SU) is a Jesuit Catholic university in the northwestern United States, located in the First Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.SU is the largest independent university in the Northwest US, with over 7,500 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs within eight schools, and is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. In its "Best Colleges 2015" edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Seattle University the 5th best Regional University in the West, a category for institutions that offer a full range of programs up to master's degree and some doctoral programs. In 2017 The Wall Street Journal ranked Seattle University the top private school in the Northwest and in the top 10 of private schools on the West Coast. In 2013, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Seattle University #1 in the nation for macroeconomics.St. Paul's College, Macau
St. Paul's College of Macau (Portuguese: Colégio de São Paulo) also known as College of Madre de Deus (Mater Dei in Latin) was a university founded in 1594 in Macau by Jesuits at the service of the Portuguese under the Padroado treaty. It claims the title of the first Western university in East Asia."St. Paul's University College of Macau" was founded by Alessandro Valignano in 1594 by upgrading the previous Madre de Deus School, as a stopover to prepare Jesuit missionaries traveling east. Its academic program came to include core disciplines such as theology, philosophy, and mathematics, geography, astronomy, and Latin, Portuguese and Chinese, including also a school of music and arts. It had immense influence on the learning of Eastern languages and culture, housing the first western sinologists Matteo Ricci, Johann Adam Schall von Bell and Ferdinand Verbiest, among many famous scholars of the time.
The College was the base for Jesuit missionaries travelling to China, Japan and East Asia, and developed mingled with a thrifty Macau-Nagasaki trade until 1645. After a revolt blamed on religious influence, Japan expelled the Portuguese and banned Catholicism, and the college became then a shelter for fleeing Christian priests. Jesuits abandoned it in 1762 when they were expelled by the Portuguese authorities, during the suppression of the Society of Jesus. The buildings were destroyed in a fire in 1835. In 2005, the ruins of St. Paul's - notably the facade of the Madre de Deus church - were officially enlisted as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Historic Centre of Macau.Tianzhu (Chinese name of God)
Tianzhu (Chinese: 天主, Tiānzhǔ), meaning "Heavenly Master" or "Lord of Heaven," was the Chinese word used by the Jesuit China missions to designate God.Wanguo Quantu
The Wanguo Quantu or Complete Map of the Myriad Countries is a map developed in the 1620s by the Jesuit Giulio Aleni following the earlier work of Matteo Ricci, who was the first Jesuit to speak Chinese and to publish maps of the world in Chinese from 1574 to 1603. Aleni modified Ricci's maps to accommodate Chinese demands for a sinocentric projection, placing the "Middle Kingdom" at the center of the visual field.Xu Guangqi
Xu Guangqi or Hsü Kuang-ch'i (April 24, 1562 – November 8, 1633), also known by his baptismal name Paul, was a Chinese scholar-bureaucrat, Catholic convert, agricultural scientist, astronomer, and mathematician under the Ming dynasty. Xu was a colleague and collaborator of the Italian Jesuits Matteo Ricci and Sabatino de Ursis and assisted their translation of several classic Western texts into Chinese, including part of Euclid's Elements. He was also the author of the Nong Zheng Quan Shu, a treatise on agriculture. He was one of the "Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism". His current title is Servant of God. On April 15, 2011, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi announced the beatification of Xu Guangqi.