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Nestorian Pagoda

Nestorian Pagoda from a distance

Da Qin (Nestorian) Pagoda, Outside Xi'an China

For those who are interested in such things, about a year or so ago I visited the ancient Nestorian Christian site outside of Xi'an.  Right now it has been taken over by (as best as I can understand) a group of Daoists (the birthplace of Daoism is about a mile or so from the site).

If you don't know the history of this place, there really wasn't much too see, although there is a nice little village a couple hundred meters from the site.  But if you do know a bit of the history (it was a Christian Monastery built around 700) it is worth the visit.  Not a whole lot is known about these people, most of them traveled into Central Asia and China from the east as traders and diplomats, although there were a few sent specifically to spread the faith.  

Nestorian Pagoda

Da Qin (Nestorian) Pagoda From Nearby Village

They were especially influential during the Tang Dynasty, in fact they are quite complementary of a number of Tang Emperors.  They also seemed to have a good relationship with the Daoists, which may explain why they were able to build this monastery so close to the birthplace of Daoism.  In terms of the law and some general philosophy, Daoism and Christianity has a lot in common; in fact these Nestorian Christians defined much of their faith in Daoist and Buddhist terms.  But as one looks at later Nestorian Documents, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as savior from sin is muddled and it becomes difficult to distinguish them from Daoist or Buddhist writings.  Also, as they were so tied to the Tang Dynasty, after it fell the influence of the Nestorian Church waned.  Anyone interested can contact us and we'll can give some suggested readings.

As you can see in the photos, the pagoda is leaning quite a bit, from what I hear the Chinese Government is going to put some money into restoring the place.  Hopefully in the next 6 months or so I'll be able to go back and see if there has been any activity.

They've got a copy of the Nestorian Steele (huge stone slab that tells the story of the Nestorian Christian Church in China, it was made in the 700's), or you can visit the real thing at the Steele Museum in Xi'an (which is worth a visit if you are in Xi'an).

Feel free to contact us if you would like info on how to see this place.  


Leaning Nestorian Pagoda

Da Qin (Nestorian) Pagoda Up Close

Nestorian Steele

Nestorian Steele, Xi'an China


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