Ricci, Vittorio

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Dominican missionary, prefect apostolic of Formosa (Taiwan) and southern China; b. Fiesole, near Florence, Italy, Jan. 18, 1621; d. Parian, near Manila, Philippines, Feb. 17, 1685. After studying at Fiesole and after later studies and teaching in Rome, Ricci met Juan Bautista morales, who interested him in the missions. As Morales's procurator in Rome, he obtained the chinese rites decree (1645) and aided him in establishing the University of Manila. In 1648 Ricci went to the Philippines, where he carried on missionary work among the Chinese of Parian. In July 1655 he moved to Amoy (Fukien), China, where he served as procurator of the Spanish Dominicans. There he gained the confidence of Koxinga, "lord of the seas," a pirate who sent Ricci to the Philippines to demand their submission to his rule. Ricci did not return to Amoy until after Koxinga's death (1661). As prefect apostolic of Formosa and southern China, he performed many delicate missions in China, Taiwan, and the Philippines in an effort to establish peace among the Spanish, Dutch, and natives, all of whom were vying for control of the area. After one such mission in 1666, Ricci was seized by Governor Salcedo of Manila and imprisoned for treason. After Salcedo's removal, Ricci was freed and resumed his important religious tasks. The manuscript of his principal work, Hechos de la Orden de Predicadores en el Imperio de China, was completed in 1667.

Bibliography: b. m. biermann, Die Anfänge der neueren Dominikanermission in China (Münster 1927). j. m. gonzÁlez, Un Misionero diplomático: Vida del padre Vittorio Ricci (Madrid 1955).

[b. m. biermann]