My Old Blog's Namesake Remembered
The Western Confucian would have certainly celebrated this news that "China’s first exhibition center dedicated to Father Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) has opened in Zhaoqing, the place where the Italian missionary first set foot on the mainland" — First Ricci exhibition center opens. From the story:
- The new Matteo Ricci Cultural Exchange Exhibition Center details the life of the Jesuit priest, known as Li Madou to Chinese people, through an array of exhibits and written accounts.
The center is located near the ruins of the first church and Jesuit house that Fr Ricci and his confrere Fr Michele Ruggieri were allowed to build after they arrived in China in 1583. The church, called “Xianhua Temple” out of respect for Buddhist custom, was dedicated to the Blessed Mother.
At that time Zhaoqing was the capital of Guangdong province.
The location of the church was next to a 500-year-old Buddhist pagoda on the banks of the Xijiang (West) River, from where the two missioners arrived by boat.