Alexandre de Rhodes

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Alexandre de Rhodes

Alexandre de Rhodes ( Vietnamese also A-Lịch-Sơn Đắc-Lộ ; born January 15, 1591 or 1593 in Avignon , † November 5, 1660 in Isfahan ) was a French Jesuit and missionary .


Alexandre de Rhodes came from a family of silk merchants with the original surname Rodua , who had fled as Marranen , i.e. Jews who were forced to convert , from Calatayud in the Kingdom of Aragon before the Spanish Inquisition to the papal enclave of Avignon, which was known for its religious tolerance. He joined the Society of Jesus in Rome on April 14, 1612 , where he studied theology and natural sciences with Christoph Clavius, among others . In 1618 he began his first missionary trip to Japan, but first spent three years in Goa in Portuguese India . In 1623 he came to the Portuguese trading base Macau in China. Since the working conditions for missionaries in Japan had deteriorated significantly, he went to the south ( Cochinchina ) for three years in 1624 and then from 1627 to 1630 to the north ( Tonking ) of what is now Vietnam. However, he fell out of favor with the regent Nguyễn Phúc Lan and returned to Macau for 10 years, where he taught theology. In 1640 he was able to travel to Cochinchina again for five years and do missionary work, then was expelled from the country there as well. From 1645 to 1649 he traveled back to Rome via Java, India, Persia, Armenia and Anatolia. There he recommended the solution of the church administration in East Asia, which had previously been carried out via Portugal, and the installation of an independent local church, including its own bishops. In 1655 he was sent to Persia , where he remained until the end of his life.

His most important work was the Dictionarium Annamiticum, Lusitanum, et Latinum , a Vietnamese-Portuguese-Latin dictionary and the first book that appeared in Europe with the Vietnamese language . Rhodes is also often credited with developing the Vietnamese script , which is based on the Latin alphabet . However, the Portuguese Francisco de Pina already developed the font, which was later developed by Gaspar do Amaral and António Barbosa . It describes an earlier phonetic level of Vietnamese (e.g. consonant combinations bl-, tl-, ml- at the beginning of the syllable, which no longer exist), but is essentially unchanged until today under the name Quốc ngữ (from Chinese 國語, "national language “) Used.


  • Relazione de 'felici successi della Santa Fede predicata da' Padri della Compagnia di Giesu nel Regno di Tunchino , 1650
  • Dictionarium Annamiticum, Lusitanum, et Latinum ope sacrae congregationis de propaganda fide in lucem editam from Alexandro de Rhodes e Societate IESU, eiusdemque Sacrae Congregationis Missionario Apostolico , Rome 1651.
  • Tunchinensis historiæ libri duo, quorum altero status temporalis huius regni. altero mirabiles evangelicae praedicationis progressus referuntur. coeptae per patres Societatis Jesu, from 1627 ad annum 1646 , Lyon 1652
  • Histoire du Royaume de Tunquin, et des grands progrez que la predication de l'evangile ya faits en la conuersion des infidelles. Depuis l'année 1627. iusques à l'année 1646. / 1652 Relation des progrez de la foy au Royaume de la Cochinchine vers les derniers quartiers du Levant , 1652
  • Sommaire des divers voyages, et missions apostoliques, du RP Alexandre de Rhodes ... à la Chine, & autres royaumes de l'Orient, also back de la Chine à Rome. Depuis l'année 1618 jusques à l'année 1653 , 1653
  • La glorieuse mort d'André catechiste de la Cochinchine, qui a le premier versé son sang pour la querelle de Iesus-Christ, en cette nouuelle Eglise , Paris 1653
  • Histoire de la vie et de la glorieuse mort de cinq peres de la Compagnie de Iesus, qui ont souffert dans le Iapon. Auec trois seculiers, en l'année 1643 , 1654
  • La glorieuse mort d'André catechiste de la Cochinchine , 1654
  • Divers voyages du P. Alexandre de Rhodes en la Chine, & autres Roiaumes de l'Orient, auec son retour en Europe par la Perse & l'Armenie , 1666
  • Father Alexander of Rhodes from the Society of Jesus Mission trips to China, Tonkin, Cochinchina and other Asian empires . Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1858


Web links

Commons : Alexandre de Rhodes  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Last question in an interview of March 6, 2015 with the President of the Associação de Amizade Luso-Vietnamita of the Portuguese-language newspaper O Clarim from Macau, accessed on February 10, 2017
  2. Fernando Cristóvão (Ed.): Dicionário Temático da Lusofonia. Texto Editores, Lisbon / Luanda / Praia / Maputo 2006 ( ISBN 972-47-2935-4 ), p. 852.