1606  — 1682

Xaver-Ehrenbert Fridelli

Jesuit missionary in China.

A native of Linz, Austria, Fridelli entered the Society of Jesus in 1688. During his studies he volunteered to go to the China mission and embarked from Lisbon in 1704. Arriving in Macao in August 1705, he was assigned to Chen-chiang (Zhenjiang) in Jiangnan Province (area of present-day Anhui and Jiangsu Provinces), where he began language study and started to propagate devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which he continued to do for the rest of his life.

Called to Peking (Beijing) because of his knowledge of mathematics, he assisted two confreres, Jean-Baptiste Regis (1663-1738) and Pierre Jartoux (1669-1720), in making maps of China at the request of the imperial court. From Peking he traveled through Manchuria to the Russian border (1710-1711); then accompanied by Guillaume Fabre Bonjour (1669-1714), he traveled to Szechwan (Sichuan) and Yunnan (1713-1714). Fridelli used the occasion to preach in these areas, where mission stations had not yet been established. He was appointed superior of the residence of St. Joseph in Peking and built a church of St. Joseph nearby in 1721. Later he had a six-year term as rector of the parish of the Portuguese college in Peking and then returned to the parish of St. Joseph, where he served until his death.


This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.


Fridelli’s letters are in Joseph Stocklein, ed., Der Neue Welt Bott (1726-1758), no. 103, 5: 47-49, no. 194, 8:18, no. 589, 30:97-98, no. 674, 34:37-38. Alfred Zerlik, P. Xaver Ernbert Fridelli, china-Missionar und Kartograph (1962).

About the Author

John W. Witek

Associate Professor of East Asian History, Georgetown University, Washington D.C., USA