15 November 2010

From the "Stele of the Diffusion in of the Brilliant Teaching in the Middle Kingdom" (大秦景教流 行中國碑)

In 1623, a stone stele was unearthed in the Chinese city of Xi'an (西安) with writings from Nestorian Christianity and a description of Nestorian Christian communities in China in the early seventh century. It was titled "Stele of the Diffusion in of the Brilliant Teaching in the Middle Kingdom" (大秦景教流 行中國碑), and began thus:


Lo, thus it is said: eternally in seclusion, at the very beginning but without
origin; abysmal will he be like the cosmos until the last end and of transcendent
existence. Reigning over the central point of the universe he created the world,
the one who has given spirit to the saints and who is venerated by them from the
origin: who could this be except the sublime body of Our Trinity,
the one who is without origin and is the True Lord: Aluohe! He measured out
the cross and fixed the four cardinal directions; he has stirred the original breath
and has thereby created the two basic principles. Darkness and void succeed
each other and heaven and earth opened; sun and moon started to move and
morning and evening are created. Skillfully he created the Ten Thousand Things,
errected the first man, especially granted him content, and subdued the ocean of
creation for him.

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