ASIA/CHINA - Shan Xi Seminary resumes its original name “Seminary Giovanni da Montecorvino”, in memory of a great evangeliser of China

Wednesday, 9 March 2005

Tai Yuan (Fides Service) - The Seminary Shan Xi, where countless Chinese priests prepared for the ministry, has gone back to its original name: “Seminary Giovanni da Montecorvino” ( In modern times, since it was reopened in 1985 it has trained over 100 priests and offered courses of ongoing formation for religious and laity. The seminary decided to return to its original name as a mark of gratitude to Blessed Giovanni da Montecorvino, one of the first great evangelisers in China.
Shan Xi province was evangelised by Franciscans. The seminary was opened by Bishop Agapit Fiorentini OFM, of Tai Yuan main city in Shan Xi who inaugurated the building on 6 July 1935 with the Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Mario Zanin. The seminary was closed during the cultural revolution and when it reopened in 1985, priests from Hong Kong were invited to teach the students. The Seminary, enlarged and modernised thanks to funds offered by the Church in Germany, has students quarters, teachers quarters, class rooms, dining room, recreation room and a chapel.
Italian born Blessed Giovanni da Montecorvino (1247-1328) was the first evangeliser to China. He was sent to China by Pope Nicholas IV. And when he arrived in1293 he was received with great honour at the court of the Grand Khan in Kambalik. Within the year the Emperor embraced the Christian faith and gave permission for Christianity to be preached freely everywhere in his empire. The princess, who later became the wife of the Grand Ghan, also became a Christian. Giovanni became the first Archbishop of Kambalik, Beijing. Besides preaching the Gospel, he translated the Divine Office, the Psalms and the Gospels into Chinese. He led thousands to embrace the faith, taught a choir of children to sing liturgical hymns in Gregorian chant and built several churches and convents. (Agenzia Fides 09/03/2005 Righe: 24 Parole: 320)