Yalikewen Faith (1275 A.D.)

    Yalikewen Faith (1275 A.D.)

    Catholicism and the Nestorian faith that was reintroduced into China during the Yuan Dynasty were all known as the Yalikewen Faith. Both of these religions pay respect to the Holy Cross and were called the 'Ten Religion' (Chinese's letter for the number ten resembles a cross). The Nestorian and Catholic churches are called the 'Ten Churchs'. The Mongolian word Yalikewen means the Lucky Ones, and was used to refer to missionaries in China. The Nestorian faith disappeared from China after the Tang Dynasty following Emperor Wu Zhong's ban on Buddhism, which affected the Nestorian faith also. After the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty, the Nestorian faith re-surged. Around 1275, Nestorian churches popped up everywhere in Dadu, Hangzhou, Xian, Gangsu, Ningxia, Zhengjiang, and Chuanzhou. At one point, a lot of nobles and high-ranking officials adopted the Nestorian faith, and they allowed followers to enjoy the rights of tax exemption and draft evasion. The number of Nestorian followers exceeded 30,000 by the 14th century. The religion spread as far as Tibet and Mongolia. In 1289, Pope Nicholas IV sent Giovani da Montecorvino (1247-1328) to China as a missionary, who preached in China for more than 34 years. During this period, a number of missionaries from the Franciscan Order came to China. Despite the rejection from the Nestorian followers, Catholicism grew rapidly. Montecorvino was made the Bishop of Dadu in 1307. In 1313, Chuanzhou of Fujian was made a Bishop district. The Yuan administration appointed officials to be in charge of the Yalikewen Faith in 1289. After the Yuan Dynasty was brought to an end by the Ming Dynasty, the Yalikewen Faith slowly disappeared in China.

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