1286  — 1331

Odoric de Pordenone


Italian Franciscan who went to China as a tourist during the Yuan dynasty.

De Pordenone left Italy between 1314 and 1318, passing Sumatra, Java, and Borneo in 1321 on his journey to China, but he said nothing about Christians in these places. He reached China in 1322 and toured Guangzhou, Quanzhou, Fuzhou, Hangzhou, Yangzhou, and Beijing. His longest stay (three years) was in Beijing, where he helped Montecorvino preach the Gospel.

In 1330 he returned to Italy by way of Hetao, Shanxi, Gansu, and Xizang (Tibet). Before his death he dictated, under the instruction of the head of the Franciscan Order, an account of all he had seen and heard during a decade of travel in the East. In the compiled book (Chronica compendioca a mundi exordio ad finem firme Pontificatus Ionnis XXII), de Pordenone mentioned the favored treatment Montecorvino received from the Yuan emperor and the piety and discipline of Catholic converts.


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.


  • Yule, Henry, Cathay and the Way Thither: Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, rev. Henri Cordier (1925, 1926).

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