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Nestorian Monument in China

In 1625 at the end of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a tablet was unearthed in western Xi'an City of Shaanxi Province. Carved on the tablet were the words Monument to Nestorian Church in China. When it was dug out, the tablet was basically intact and the words were clear. The tablet is 2.36 meters high, 0.68 meters wide, about 0.25 meters thick and is about two tons in weight.

A cross is carved on the top of the tablet, with lotus and clouds beside it. There is an epigraph of 1,695 characters in 36 lines with 62 characters a line carved on the tablet. There are names and positions of some people carved on the margins and at the end of the epigraph. Each name is in both Chinese and Syriac, and each person is accompanied with his/her position in churches, such as primate, Chinese godfather, presbyter, Xiangzhu (head priest of a township), friar, priest and doctor, etc. The epigraph was composed by a person who called himself Monk Jingjing of the Nestorian Church and written by Lü Xiuyan, a local official of Taizhou. According to the epigraph, this monument was erected in 781 during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The Nestorian Monument in China is one of the four famous stone carvings in the world and is highly valued as a historical relic. It is the earliest and the most convincing evidence of the dissemination of Christianity in China.

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