Stone 2-1-

Detail of the Nestorian Stele artifact, mentioning Alopen

Alopen (Chinese: 阿罗本 pinyin: Āluóběn) (also "Aleben", "Aluoben", "Olopen," "Olopan," or "Olopuen" and Chinese 景净 (pinyin: jǐng jìng)) is the first recorded Christian missionary to reach China, during the Tang Dynasty. He was a bishop, believed to have been from eastern Persia, who arrived in the Chinese capital of Chang-an in AD 635, leading a group of two dozen monks and bringing 530 religious documents in Syriac[1][2][3].

It has been suggested that his name may have been a Chinese transliteration of "Abraham"[4]. However it has also been suggested that his name might have been a Chinese form of the Syriac "rabban," i.e. monk.

According to the Nestorian Stele – the sole authority on the missionary - Alopen came to China from Daqin (or Ta Tsin – the Roman Empire) in the ninth year of the Taizong Emperor (Tai Tsung) (635), bringing sacred books and images. He was received with favor, with his teaching passed royal examination and the Christian Scriptures he brought were translated for the imperial library. In 638 an imperial edict declared Christianity a tolerated religion; Alopen got permission to preach in the same year.

The Taizong Emperor's successor, Gao Zong (Kao-Tsung) (650-683), was still more friendly, and Alopen now became a guardian of the empire and lord of the great law. After this followed a time (c. 683-744) of disfavor and oppression for Chinese Christians, followed by a revival dating from the arrival of a fresh missionary, Kiho, from the Roman empire. Assyrian Christianity eventually died out in China when the Tang Dynasty collapsed, but was revived among Central Asians like the Khitans and Mongols around the Middle Ages.

See also


  1. Martin Palmer, The Jesus Sutras: Rediscovering the Lost Religion of Taoist Christianity, ISBN 0749922508, 2001
  2. Ray Riegert and Thomas Moore, The Lost Sutras of Jesus: Unlocking the Ancient Wisdom of the Xian Monks, ISBN 1569755221, 2006
  4. P. Y. Saeki, The Nestorian Documents and Relics in China, 2nd ed., Tokyo: Academy of Oriental Culture, 1951

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

External links


no:Alopenzh:阿罗本 zh:景净

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