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Pereira, Tomás

PEREIRA, TOMÁS

Missionary in china; b. San Martinho do Valle, Province of Braga, Portugal, Nov. 1, 1645; d. Beijing, Dec. 24, 1708. He entered the Society of Jesus in Coimbra in 1663, left for the Indies in 1666, and in January 1673 arrived in Beijing. By his rare musical talents, he won the good favor of the Emperor Hsüan-Yeh and retained this esteem until his death. In 1689, he and Jean Gerbillon, SJ, assisted the Chinese delegates in the negotiations at Nerchinsk that led to the first peace treaty between the Chinese and the Russians. In recognition of the success of the two Jesuits in this mission, K'ang-Hsi in 1692 granted the first edict of toleration for Christianity. On this occasion Pereira spoke for all the missionaries and publicly thanked the emperor. Pereira became rector of the Jesuit College in Beijing and from June 1692 to June 1695, was vice provincial of the Chinese Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus. After his death, the emperor contributed toward a splendid funeral and composed an epitaph in his honor.

Bibliography: l. pfister, Notices biographiques et bibliographiques (Shanghai 1932) v.1. j. sebes, The Jesuits and the Sino-Russian Treaty of Nerchinsk, 1689 (Rome 1961).

[e. hagemann]

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