Titled “To the Heights of History. Fr Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) between Rome and Beijing,” the exhibit was organised by Prof Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, and will remain open from 30 October to 24 January.
The exhibit is the work of the Committee for the Celebration of the Fourth Centenary of Fr Matteo Ricci, which is based in Macerata, Ricci’s hometown.
Mgr Claudio Giuliodori, the city’s bishop, spoke at exhibit presentation today in the Vatican Press Office. He stressed the importance of Ricci’s missionary model.
The Jesuit missionary was the first Westerner to be received at Beijing’s Imperial Court during the Ming dynasty.
He studied Chinese culture in depth, and provided the Chinese with Western knowledge in fields like geography, astronomy, physics and geometry.
He also presented the Christian faith as the fulfillment of China’s own religious traditions and the rediscovery of a religious Confucianism that had been lost over the centuries.
Mgr Giuliodori said he hoped “friendship with the Chinese people may grow” because of the exhibit and “strengthen the communion with the Catholics of this great country in accordance with the wishes the Holy Father expressed in the Letter he addressed to them in May 2007, in which he referred to Fr Matteo Ricci, his style and model (cf n. 4)”.