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Vatican remembers the life of Matteo Ricci, the first Christian in China on 400th Anniversary

The Italian Jesuit introduced mathematics, the European calendar and the world map to the Emperor’s Court. To mark the 400th anniversary of his death, the Vatican pays tribute with this exhibition: Father Matteo Ricci ?Between Rome and Beijing?.Mons. Claudio GiuliodoriBishop of Macerata "For him, culture and science were tools to serve the Gospel."Giovanni MorelloDirector "This exhibition shows China at the time it was ; opposed to the West, which called Christians barbaric, the opposite of what was said in the West, and how they have been getting to know each other."He was a tireless missionary and intellectual prodigy who’s work is still studied in Chinese history books. Following the footsteps of St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis Xavier, Matteo Ricci arrived in Goa in 1578, after six months of travel. From there he went to Zhaoqing where he began an intensive study of Chinese and produced the first cartographic work of China that included Europe, Africa and America. In 1589 he was expelled and went to Shaozhou, where he taught mathematics to intellectuals. He also translated important works of history into Chinese such as the ?Treaty of Friendship?. Matteo Ricci wanted to reach across Asia, so with help from a significant Mandarin he tried to enter Beijing. He had to wait six years to reach the capital. The emperor allowed his entry in 1601 because of its great popularity.Mons Claudio GiuliodoriBishop of Macerata "Not only did he get into Peking, but was received in the Forbidden City. He never saw the emperor, because none could be found. But the emperor was very curious to know him. They say the emperor?s family not only listened to him but also were converted because of him."Matteo Ricci’s name became well known across Asia. The key to his success was that he became part of Chinese culture by living and dressing like the Chinese. But this caused suspicion among men of the Church until 1939 when Pope Pius XII showed his support towards Ricci and used him as an example for all Christians to follow. Ricci also had to endure the scorn of the Chinese, since he harshly criticized Buddhists and Taoist’s. But thanks to his tireless work in behalf of ; Asians, he not only helped convert many to Christianity, but his legacy, even today, is shared between East and West.Mons Claudio GiuliodoriBishop of Macerata "Matteo Ricci is highly esteemed and beloved in China. Enough to pose a formidable point of encounter and dialogue. Through him, Asians and Christians can find themselves and understand one another.”In addition, to the anniversary of his death, the Chinese have re-launched his beautification process which shows his legacy still lives on in the East. The exhibit will be displayed in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Macao and Seoul next year. PVB/MC-JM