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Gerbillon, Jean François


Second superior general of the French Mission to China, 170006; b. Verdun, June 11, 1654; d. Pekin, March 22, 1707. He entered the novitiate at Nancy of the Champagne Province of the Society of Jesus on Oct. 6,1670. Chosen by Father de Fontaney, the superior, to be a member of the first group of French Jesuits sent to China by Louis XIV, he arrived there in July 1687. He gained the esteem of Emperor K'ang-Hsi, lived at the court in Pekin, and instructed the emperor in the elements of geometry and philosophy. He was sent by the emperor with Father Tomás pereira to accompany the Chinese

ambassadors to Nerchinsk, where in 1689 the first Russo-Chinese peace treaty was concluded. In the negotiations that led up to the signing of the treaty the two Jesuits were interpreters and advisers. Gerbillon, who accompanied the emperor eight times into Tartary, supervised the building and ornamentation of the French Church at Pekin. After its completion in 1703 Gerbillon did ministerial work in Pekin until his death.

Bibliography: c. sommervogel, Bibliotèque de la Compagnie de Jésus 3:134648. l. pfister, Notices biographiques et bibliographiques, 2 v. (Shanghai 193234).

[e. hagemann]

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