THE XI’AN-FU: CHRISTIANITY IN CHINA (635-845)
In the eighth chapter, we are presented with an excerpt of what was
sculpted in a stone slab, erected in 781 – the Xi’an-Fu, or Si-ngan-fú
(also known as the Nestorian Stele), discovered in northwestern
China in 1625, and brought by Portuguese Jesuits Álvaro Semedo
and Manuel Dias Júnior. In it were recorded facts concerning the
Luminous Religion, transmitted by Syrian monk Alopen, who arrived
there in the year 635.
The missionary took with him the holy books and, once at the
Chang-an border, he was received by the Chinese Prime Minister,
Fang Huang Ling, who accompanied him to Emperor Tai-Tsong.
Impressed by the truth and righteousness of the monk’s religion,
the Emperor promoted Alopen to Great Spiritual Leader, Protector
of the Empire, and ordered the translation and distribution of sacred
writings throughout the whole realm.
MAIN ARTICLE: IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD, by Sinclair B. Ferguson
Unfortunately, in the century following the stele’s crafting (845), Emperor
Wu Zong, of the Tang dynasty, abolished all foreign religions,
bringing the gospel testimony and the worship of Christ’s name in
China to a definitive end.
There is a reference to this stone in the Diocese of Macau.