1707  — 1785

Godefroid Xavier de Laimleckhoven

Jesuit missionary who entered the interior of China during the reign of Emperor Qian Lung (Qing Dynasty).

Laimleckhoven joined the Society of Jesus in 1722. In 1735, after becoming a priest, he traveled from Vienna to Lisbon, preparing himself for China. He arrived in Macau in 1738. He studied mathematics with the intention of working in the calendrical bureau, but, after arriving in Macau, the plan was changed; he slipped into the interior of China, adopting the same Chinese name (Nan Huai Ren) as had Ferdinand Verbiest when he worked for the Qing government during the reign of Kangxi.

Laimleckhoven was consecrated bishop of Macau in 1756. He returned to China’s interior and moved from place to place, living in a small boat. He went to Jiangnan in 1760, disguised himself as a farmer, and did clandestine mission work in Shanghai and Suzhou, often hearing confessions and conducting mass in the early morning. In his later years, he lived in the Christian village of Pu Dong Jin. In 1784, he wrote Zhao Shi Tang Gui, a book on religious discipline to govern the religious life of the church members. Despite the government’s prohibition of Christianity, some areas in Jiangnan continued to be a haven for Christians; this was undoubtedly the result of Laimleckhoven’s clandestine mission work, which continued for more than 40 years.


This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.

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