The Society of Jesus, better known as the order of Jesuits, was a society founded in 1539 by Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) with the aim to convert the world to Catholicism. In the 16th century, the first Jesuits arrived in China settling in the port-city of Macao in South China, at that time owned by Portugal. From this base, the Jesuits entered the Chinese hinterland and began their work of conversion. While establishing churches at different locations, they even started fostering the dream of converting the Chinese emperor himself.
During their stay in China, the cultural exchange between Jesuits and Chinese would result in advances in astronomy and mathematics, beautiful works of art, and shining beacons of architecture. But there was also intrigue, spying, and political and religious opposition to Jesuits.
Discover the stories and history of Jesuits in China in a two-part blog authored by Julien Ménabréaz on Europeana website >>
image: Church in Beijing , c. 1860-1900, United Archives / WHA, CC-BY-SA via Europeana.
PAGODE – Europeana China is co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility Programme of the European Union, under GA n. INEA/CEF/ICT/A2019/1931839