PORTRAIT OF A JESUIT – MATTEO RICCI

The superior man on grounds of culture meets with
his friends,
and by their friendship helps his virtue

 The Confucian Analects, tr. James Legge

君 子 以 文 会 友
以 友 辅 仁

[ 论语 .颜渆 ]

 
Recently, the Macau Ricci Institute has published a short biography of Fr. Matteo Ricci, S.J., based on a collection of essays presented at the Institute respectively by Dr. Gianni Criveller and Dr. César Guillén Nuñez, dedicated to the memory of a great pioneer after whom our Institute is named. This modest publication which would like somehow to contribute to the worldwide commemoration of Matteo Ricci’s demise in Beijing in 1610, intends to inaugurate a series of MRI studies related to the Jesuit history in the old China mission. It will be published under the name of Jesuítas Publication Series and will introduce to the readers such outstanding figures of the past as Alessandro Valignano, Melchior Carneiro and Tomás Pereira. Each title of the series will be available in English and Chinese versions (simplified characters).

Together with the commemoration of Ricci, a model of accommodation and intercultural exchange and dialogue, the MRI also marks its own tenth anniversary.

The present publication is addressed widely to MRI friends, benefactors, contributing scholars, and cooperating institutions, as well as to fellow Jesuits and communities. It gathers four essays: two of them are concerned with the life of Matteo Ricci and are written, and earlier presented at MRI Forums, by Dr. Gianni Criveller, PIME; the other two are about the iconography related to a well-known portrait of Matteo Ricci and about the Beijing church that he founded, and are written by Dr. César Guillén Nuñez, MRI researcher.

We sincerely hope that the present MRI publication will bring Matteo Ricci’s life and achievements closer to Chinese and Western readers and that it will refresh and enhance in them his spirit of knowledge, virtue and sharing of spiritual and intellectual traditions in dialogue within our globalising world.


Foreword by Artur K. Wardega, S.J.,
MRI Director



Available at our Macau Ricci Institute.
Please email enquiry to info@riccimac.org
 



Father Matteo Ricci, S. J.

Born in Macerata in October 6, 1552, Matteo RICCI entered the novitiate of the Jesuits at Sant’Andrea al Quirinale in Rome in 1571. Assigned to the Missions in Asia, on September 13, 1578, he reached India, where he was ordained a priest in 1580.

Two years later, on August 7th 1582 he came to Macau where he started to learn Chinese Language and study Chinese Classics.

He succeeded in penetrating the interior of China, and found numerous mission centers. In 1601 he reached Beijing, where he settled with the permission of the Emperor, who guaranteed to support him and his companions at government expense. He permitted them, moreover, to build the first public church of the Catholic Church in China. His missionary methods were again confirmed in the Second Vatican Council.

Even today the name of Fr. Ricci is held in high esteem, as the founder of Chinese Christianity of modern times. Moreover, his writings have gained for him a place in the literature of the Far East, and fame as a great moralist, map maker, and mathematician. The Chinese have called him “Genius”, “Saint”, “Apostle of China”.


Biographical notes taken from:
Fernando BORTONE, S. J.,
P. Matteo Ricci S. I. –
Il “Saggio d’Occidente”.
Roma: Descleé & C. -1965.