Nestorianism in china

The form of Christianity often called Assyrian or Nestorian, but better described as the Church of the East, spread widely across the continent of Asia following the banishment and condemnation of Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, at the Council of Ephesus in 431. The belief system seemed to have entered China in the 7th century, according to the Nestorian Stele and Chinese records. In China, the religion was known as Jingjiao (景教).

It has been suggested that the Patriarch of Seleucia-Ctesiphon created a metropolitan see in China in 411. Others have written that the first metropolitans were created in China at the time of Sliba-zkha, the Nestorians' patriarch from 714 to 728.

In 745, the Tang emperor Xuanzong issued an edict stating that the temples popularly known as "Persian temples" should be thenceforth known as Da Qin (Roman) temples.

Under the emperors of the Yuan Dynasty Nestorian Christianity once again gained a foothold in China. Yet the centralizing policies of the Ming Emperors meant that all things foreign were suspect, so Christianity was once again forced to go underground. The last known monument of Nestorian Christianity in China seems to be one dating to c.1365 and found near Zhoukoudian in the Fangshan District of Beijing.

In 1625 the Nestorian Stele was found in Xian; it is a stone on which the story of the Nestorian missionaries coming to China was written in both Chinese and Syriac. This discovery was of great importance to Christians in China at the time, because it proved that Christianity was part of China's past and not a recent foreign incursion, thus giving support to Christians against those who called for the religion to be banned.

Dozens of Jingjiao texts have survived, some of them are translations of the Scriptures, including the Pentateuch (牟世法王经) - Genesis is known as 浑元经, Psalms (多惠圣王经), the Gospels (阿思翟利容经), Acts of the Apostles (传代经) and the Pauline epistles (宝路法王经).

See also


  •  This article incorporates text from The Chinese repository, Volume 13, a publication from 1844 now in the public domain in the United States.

External links

  • images in ancient Chinese Christianity
  • zh:景教
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