Matteo Ricci

Ricci and Guangqi
This week BBC Radio 4 launched a new history series.  Called Chinese Characters it is a series of 20 essays exploring Chinese history through the life stories of 20 key personalities, one of whom is the Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci, who travelled as a missionary to China in the sixteenth century.Trained in theology  and philosophy as well as mathematics and cosmology, Ricci had a brilliant mind. He was one of the first westerners to master fully the Chinese language. “Ricci was...
Total solar eclipse
As North America goes into a solar eclipse meltdown, gazing upwards at the heavens may prove to be a blessed relief from recent tensions and confrontations.  Ten years ago, NASA identified the small town of Hopkinsville as the ‘point of greatest eclipse’ during the first coast-to-coast eclipse in 100 years.  This rural Kentucky town will experience an unrivalled 2 minutes and 42 seconds of totality. Huge crowds of tourists, astronomers and religious groups are expected; hotel rooms...
Two exceptionally rare manuscript maps made by the Italian Jesuit missionary to China Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) for the Chinese imperial court, went under the hammer at Christie’s in London yesterday.The maps show the fusion of western and eastern cartography, iconography and mythology.In 1582 Ricci  established the first permanent Jesuit mission in China in Macao, travelling to Shaoking in Kwantung province the following year. He reached Beijing in 1598. Ricci made eight world maps between...
Pope Francis is on his way to South Korea where he will join several thousand young Catholics from 23 different Asian countries gathered for the sixth Asian Youth Day and will beatify 124 Korean martyrs who died for their faith in the 18th Century.While Buddhism remains strong in South Korea, the number of Catholics has risen to almost 11% of the population in a country where Korean Catholics tend to be well educated and form a significant part of their country's political elite.According...