Nestorian Stele

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The Nestorian Stele, Nestorian Stone, formally the Memorial of the Propagation in China of the Luminous Religion from Daqin (大秦景教流行中國碑 Pinyin: Dqn Jǐngjio lixng Zhōnggu bi, abbreviated 大秦景教碑), and also known as the Hsi-an Monument, is a Tang Chinese stele erected in 781 which celebrates the accomplishments of the Assyrian Church of the East in China, which is also referred to as the Nestorian Church.

The stele documents the existence of Christian communities in several cities in northern China and reveals that the church had received recognition by the Tang Emperor Dezong. It is a 279-cm tall limestone block. It is also translated as A Monument Commemorating the Propagation of the Ta-Chin Luminous Religion in the Middle Kingdom (the church referred to itself as "The Luminous Religion of Daqin", Daqin being the Chinese term for the Roman Empire).

It was erected on January 7, 781 at the imperial capital city of Chang'an (modern-day Xi'an). The calligraphy was by L Xiuyan (呂秀巖), and the content was composed by the Nestorian monk Jingjing (景淨) in the four- and six-character euphemistic style (駢體文) Chinese (total 1,756 characters) and a few lines in Syriac (70 words). On top of the tablet, there is a cross. Calling God "Veritable Majesty", the text refers to Genesis, the cross, and the baptism. It also paid tributes to missionaries and benefactors of the church, which are known to have arrived in China by 640.

The stele was unearthed in late Ming Dynasty (between 1623 and 1625) beside Chongren Temple (崇仁寺), where it was housed for several centuries. It is now displayed in the Stele Forest in Xi'an.

The Nestorian Stone has attracted the attention of some anti-Christian groups, who argue that the stone is a fake or that the inscriptions were modified by the Jesuits who served in the Ming Court. There is no scientific or historical evidence to support this claim.

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