Rhodes, Alexandre de

born March 15, 1591, Avignon, France
died March 5, 1660, Eṣfahān, Iran

French missionary, the first Frenchman to visit Vietnam.

He established a Jesuit mission in the region in 1619 and later estimated that he had converted some 6,700 Vietnamese to Roman Catholicism. Expelled in 1630, he spent 10 years teaching philosophy in Macau before returning, only to be exiled again in 1646. The Vatican sponsored a Vietnamese missionary program in 1658 based on de Rhodes's ideas, but he himself was sent to Iran (Persia), where he died. He wrote a Vietnamese-Latin-Portuguese dictionary and perfected the romanized script Quoc-ngu (developed by earlier missionaries), which facilitated communicating Christian doctrines to the Vietnamese and increased the literacy rate among the population.

* * *

▪ French missionary
born March 15, 1591, Avignon, Fr.
died March 5, 1660, Isfahan, Persia

      Jesuit missionary who was the first Frenchman to visit Vietnam.

      De Rhodes was admitted to the Society of Jesus at Rome in 1612 and in 1619 went to Indochina to establish a mission. Allowed to proselytize, he later estimated that he had converted some 6,700 Vietnamese to the Roman Catholic faith. He was expelled from the country in 1630 because of the jealousy of power-seeking mandarins and a fear that Christian doctrine would undermine the Confucian-based authority of the sovereign. De Rhodes described his experiences in Vietnam in Sommaire des divers voyages et missions apostoliques du P.A. de Rhodes à la Chine et autres royaumes de l'Orient (1653; Rhodes of Viet Nam: The Travels and Missions of Father Alexander de Rhodes in China and Other Kingdoms of the Orient, 1966).

      De Rhodes proceeded to Macau, a Portuguese island colony off the Chinese coast, where he spent 10 years as a professor of philosophy. He returned to southern Vietnam in 1640 and stayed until 1646, when he was condemned to death; his sentence, however, was commuted to permanent exile. On his return to Europe he stopped to preach in Java and was imprisoned by its ruler.

      De Rhodes returned to Rome in 1649 and pleaded with the Vatican bureaucracy on behalf of the Vietnamese missionary effort. Portuguese supremacy was on the wane, and de Rhodes hoped to establish missions there, free of Portuguese political domination and controlled by the church without intermediaries. He further proposed that the Vietnamese be trained and ordained as priests; with a native clergy, he felt, the Vietnamese would be quickly won over to Christianity. De Rhodes also spoke to French businessmen and aristocrats, describing the wealth and resources of Indochina. His exaggerated accounts of silk, spices, and gold mines attracted enough investors to finance his return to Vietnam. But the Vatican sent him to a Persian mission before he could secure transportation to Vietnam, and he died in Persia in 1660. The Vatican itself sponsored a Vietnamese missionary program in 1658, based on de Rhodes's ideas.

      Alexandre de Rhodes is known for a Vietnamese–Latin–Portuguese dictionary; he perfected a romanized script, called Quoc-ngu, developed by the earlier missionaries Gaspar de Amaral and Antonio de Barbosa, and he added special marks to the roman letters, denoting tones, which in Vietnamese indicate the meaning of words. His script facilitated the communication of Christian doctrines to the Vietnamese and increased the literacy rate among the population.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rhodes, Alexandre De — • French missionary (1591 1660) Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Rhodes, Alexandre de — (15 mar. 1591, Aviñón, Francia–5 mar. 1660, Isfahán, Irán). Misionero francés, el primer francés en visitar Vietnam. En 1619 fundó una misión jesuita en la región y más tarde calculó que había convertido a unos 6.700 vietnamitas al catolicismo.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Alexandre De Rhodes — Alexandre de Rhodes, prêtre et missionnaire jésuite né à Avignon le 15 mars 1591 et mort à Ispahan le 5 novembre 1660[1], fut un des premiers fran …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alexandre de Rhodes — Alexandre de Rhodes. Mapa de Annam dibujado por Alexandre de Rhodes en 1651 …   Wikipedia Español

  • RHODES — L’île de Rhodes et la ville qui porte son nom se trouvent au confluent de l’Occident et de l’Orient. Terre chargée d’histoire, elle est le résumé brillant et dramatique des empires qui se sont succédé depuis trois millénaires dans cette région du …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Alexandre de Rhodes — (vietnamesisch auch A Lịch Sơn Đắc Lộ; * 15. Januar 1591 oder 1593 in Avignon; † 5. November 1660 in Isfahan) war ein französischer Jesuit und Missionar. Er trat 14. April 1612 in Rom der Gesellschaft …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alexandre de Rhodes —     Alexandre De Rhodes     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Alexandre De Rhodes     A missionary and author, born at Avignon, 15 March, 1591; died at Ispahan, Persia, 5 Nov., 1660. He entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Rome, 24 April,… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Rhodes (surname) — Rhodes is a surname, with other spellings Rhoades, Rhoads, Roads and Roades. It is also linked to the variant spelling Rohde, and the origins are thought to come from a town or village in Germany, near the city of Lübeck. This was not an unusual… …   Wikipedia

  • Rhodes — Rhodes, Cecil * * * (as used in expressions) Rhodes, Alexandre de Rhodes, beca Rhodes, Cecil (John) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Rhodes — /rohdz/, n. 1. Cecil John, 1853 1902, English colonial capitalist and government administrator in southern Africa. 2. James Ford, 1848 1927, U.S. historian. 3. a Greek island in the SE Aegean, off the SW coast of Turkey: the largest of the… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.