Biography of Johannes Müllener CM, China missionary

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Author: Claudia von Collani .
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Mullener

Johannes Müllener CM

Chinese: Mu Tianchi

Relevance for the China Mission:

Johannes Müllener worked in China at a time, when Christianity was officially forbidden. For several years, he worked alone and secretly as a missionary in Sichuan. Müllener belonged to those missionaries who were much concerned about the pureness of the Catholic faith. He also tried to educate and establish an indigenous clergy.

Dates of Birth and Death:

() 4 October 1673 in Bremen, free city belonging to the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation, today Germany

() 17 December 1742 in Xintouxian, Sichuan, China

Family Data:

Müllener’s family was noble, but poor. The city of his birth, Bremen, was Protestant, therefore Müllener lived in the so-called diaspora. Bremen be longed to the diocese Osnabrück.

Ordination to priesthood: 16 December 1696, sometimes it is said that he was only ordained priest in Madras, India.

Müllener joined the Congregation of the Lazarists (Vincentians) on 25 January 1699 in Madras. He made his solemn vows on the 2 of February 1702 in Chongqing/Sichuan.

On 2 September 1715, Müllener was appointed Bishop Titular of Myriopyhte and on 4 September Vicar Apostolic of Sichuan. He was consecrated as a bishop by Bernardino della Chiesa OFM (1644-1721), bishop of Peking, on 13 of December 1716.

Education:

Müllener started his education at the Jesuits College in Osnabrück.

In 1673, Müllener was recommended for further studies in Rome at the Collegium Urbanum of the Propaganda Fide by Theobald von Kurtzwik, the Imperial resident in Bremen, and by the Jesuits (this College existed since 1627). Quite probably Müllener should work as missionary in the Protestant Bremen. He received a special education as a missionary.

But Müllener preferred to work as a missionary in the Far East instead as a such in the Northern part of Germany. Therefore he joined his professor Lodovico (Luigi) Appiani (1663-1726), a Lazarist. Appiani was sent by the Propaganda Fide on 28 January 1697.

Mission:

Departure from Venice: 12 May 1697, together with Lodovico Appiani and Donato Mezzafalce (1661-1720). After a long travel in sea they reached the boundaries of India on 2 February 1698 and Madras on 13 May of the same year.

Müllener and Appiani arrived in Canton, China was on 14 October 1699.

Professional Career:

In Canton Müllener and Appiani met Artus de Lionne (1655-1713) MEP, Vicar Apostolic of Sichuan, who was on his way back to Europe. He subdivided Sichuan into two parts, Appiani and Müllener received the North, whereas the two priests from the “Missions E´ trangères de Paris”, Jean Basset (1662-1707) and Jean-Fran¸cois de la Baluère (1668-1715), received the South.

Since 1702, Müllener and Appiani worked in Chongqing. There were often problems, as both of them because of a certain simplicity often did not see the problems. Permanently they were lacking money. In 1705, Appiani travelled to Canton, where they expected money to be sent from the Propaganda Fide. He met the papal legate Charles-Thomas Maillard de Tournon (1668-

1710) there, who took him as an interpreter, Appiani accompanied him to Peking. In June 1707, Müllener was imprisoned by officers in Sichuan, he was brought to Canton. In December they led him back to Chongqing, but he could escape his company and went to Peking, where he wanted to obtain the piao, the permission to stay. But Tournon had explicitly forbidden to accept the conditions of the piao. The Jesuits doubted Müllener’s simplicity and wrongly thought that Tournon had sent Müllener with a secret “mission” to Peking.

In July 1708, Müllener returned to Chongqing, where he stood under house arrest. In December 1708, he was expelled to Macau, where he lived in the house, that had been bought by Tournon. The Magistrate of Macau was ordered by the Vice-King of Canton to send him back to Europe, but Müllener went to the Dutch Batavia (departure 8 December 1709). He stayed there about one year. In 1710 or 1711, Müllener succeeded to return to Macau. Together with Chinese Christians he went to Canton in 1711 and from there to Sichuan, where he arrived in October 1712. In Canton, he changed his name into “Teu”.

During the next years, Müllener worked secretly in den mountains between Sichuan, Huguang and Hunan. After de Baluère’s death, Müllener was the only European in Sichuan. When Artus de Lionne died in Rome in 1713, the Vicariate Apostolic Sichuan was vacant. The Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide wanted to appoint Appiani as new Vicar, but he refused, because he was imprisoned in Canton. So was made Bishop of Myriophythe and Vicar Apostolic of Sichuan and the adjacent regions on 2 September 1715, resp. on 4 September. He received his Briefs in November 1716. The only living bishop in China was at that time Bernardino della Chiesa of Peking. When Müllener arrived in Peking, della Chiesa at once consecrated him on 13 December 1716. It had to be done fast, the Chinese were suspicious because of the Apostolic Constitution “Ex illa die”, which was proclaimed in Peking on 5 November 1716 and also because Müllener had no piao. Against Canon law, only one priest was present, so that the consecration was valid, but illegal. In 1719 Müllener became Apostolic Administrator of Huguang and Guizhou.

In 1717, the Rites Tribunal (Libu) forbade the propagation of Christianity. In 1722, the Christians were expelled from Sichuan. Müllener fled to Huguang. But the expulsion of the missionaries by emperor Yongzheng (1722-1736) at first did not concern Sichuan, which remained calmly until 1729. In 1732, Müllener received help from Joachim Enjobert de Martiliat MEP (1706-1755), but Müllener did not want his presence in Sichuan, because in his opinion, Sichuan “belonged” in the meantime to the Lazarists, but when Propaganda Fide had apppointed Enjobert de Martiliat, he agreed.

Müllener strictly refused the participation of the Chinese Christians at the Confucian Rites and was concerned for a “pure” Christianity. But he was very much engaged for a native clergy in China; therefore he wanted to erect a seminary in Sichuan. To learn Latin was in his opinion indispensable for priests. He himself educated the future priests, but this education was not very profound. Other future priests were sent to Naples to the Chinese Seminary. Müllener also ordained several Chinese for priesthood.

Publications Johannes Müllener:

Only some of Müllener’s letters are published, none of his treatises. Most of his letters were never published and are in the Archive of the Propaganda Fide, Rome. Müllener left no Chinese writings.

  • “Regulæ pro scrupulosis ecclesiasticis propriâ manu Ill. D. Mullener olim Episcopi Myriophitani et Vicarii Apostolici istius provinciæ Ssetchuen exaratæ”, in: André Ly, Journal d’André Ly, prˆetre chinois, missionnaire et notaire apostolique 1746-1763. Texte latin, introduction par Adrien Launay (Paris 1906) pp. 448-449.
  • Together with Appiani: “Recit de ce qui s’est passé dans la Mission [des Lazaristes en Su-Tchuen] pendant l’année 1702 jusqu’au mois de Mai 1703”, in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. IV (Paris 1865) pp. 60-105.
  • “Lettre de M. Mullener C.M. au Supérieur à Rome, Canton, 1er Décembre 1708”, in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. IV (Paris 1865) pp. 533-536.
  • “Lettre de M. Jean Mullener C.M. à M. Watel, Supérieur Général, Macao, 30 Décembre 1708”, in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. IV (Paris 1865) pp. 549-552.
  • “Frammento do lettera del M. Mullener C.M. alla S. Congregazione, [Pekin] 9 Gennaio 1709”, in: C.P. Platel, Mémoires historiques sur les affaires des Jèsuites avec le Saint Siège, vol. VI (Lisboa 1766) pp. 332-333.
  • “Lettre de M. Jean Mullener C.M. à . Watel, Supérieur Général, commencé à Macao dans les premiers jours de Décembre 1709 et terminé à Batavie le 15 janvier 1710”, in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. IV (Paris 1865) pp. 603-609.
  • “Lettre de M. Jean Mullener C.M. à la S. Congrégation de la Propagande, Batavia, 16 Janvier 1710”, in: C.P. Platel, Mémoires historiques sur les affaires des Jèsuites avec le Saint Siège, vol. VI (Lissabon 1766) pp. 356-357, also in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. IV (Paris 1865) pp. 536-538.
  • “Lettera del Signor Giovanni Mullener al Signor Abbate Fatinelli, Battavia, 13 Febbrajo 1710”, in: Memorie Storiche, vol. I (Venezia 1761) pp. 339-341, French: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. IV (Paris 1865) pp. 609-612.
  • “Lettre de M. [Jean] Mullener C.M. à un Missionnaire de Rome, Canton, 25 Mars 1711”, in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. V (Paris 1865) pp. 223-226.
  • “Lettre de M. [Jean] Mullener C.M., Sou-Nan-Fou, 11 Aouˆt 1712”, in: M´emoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. V (Paris 1865) pp. 226-231.
  • “Lettre de Mgr. [Jean] Mullener C.M. à un des Missionnaires de Rome, Ching-Te-Fou, 22 Mars 1721”, in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. VI (Paris 1865) pp. 217-220.
  • “Lettre de Mgr. [Jean] Mullener C.M. à Mgr. Mezzabarba, TchinHien, 29 Mars 1721”, in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. VI (Paris 1865) pp. 220-222.
  • “Lettre de Mgr. [Jean] Mullener C.M. à Mgr. Mezzabarba, Canton, 7 Août 1721”, in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. VI (Paris 1865) pp. 223-226.
  • “Particola di Lettera di Mgr. Mullener C.M. al Legato, 26 Agosto 1721”, in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. VI (Paris 1865) pp. 226-235, also in: C.P. Platel, Mémoires historiques sur les affaires des Jèsuites avec le Saint Siège, vol. VI (Lisboa 1766) pp. 614-617, 621-625.
  • “Article de lettre de M. Mullener à a S. Congrégation, Canton, 2 Octobre 1721”, in: C.P. Platel, Mémoires historiques sur les affaires des Jèsuites avec le Saint Siège, vol. VI (Lisboa 1766) pp. 631-633, also in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. VI (Paris 1865) pp. 235-236.
  • “Article de M. Mullener à la S. Congrégation, [1722]”, in: C.P. Platel, Mémoires historiques sur les affaires des Jèsuites avec le Saint Siège, vol. VII (Lisboa 1766) pp. 148, 371, also in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. VII (Paris 1866) p. 199.
  • “Mandement sur la conduite personnelle des missionnaires et sur leur manière d’agir envers les pénitents. Par Mgr. Jean Mullener, [Sutchuen], 10 Juin 1725”, in: Adrien Launay, Histoire des Missions de Chine: Mission de Se-tchoan, vol. 1 (Paris 1920; 2002) pp. 106-107.
  • “Lettre de Mgr. [Jean] Mullener C.M. à la S. Congrégation, Canton, 1725”, in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. VII (Paris 1866) pp. 199-201.
  • “Lettre de Mgr. [Jean] Mullener C.M. au P. Ceru` à Rome, Canton, Décembre 1725”, in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. VII (Paris 1866) pp. 241-244.
  • “Mandement, 10 juin 1726”, in: Fran¸cois Bontinck, La lutte autour de la liturgie chinoise aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Louvain 1962) p. 536.
  • “Particola di lettera de M. Mullener C.M. al Card. Prefetto, Cantone, 5 Genanaio 1727”, in: C.P. Platel, Mémoires historiques sur les affaires des J`esuites avec le Saint Siège, vol. VII (Lisboa 1766) pp. 233-235, sowie in: Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vol. VII (Paris 1866) pp. 201-202.
  • Sou Paulo, Ly Andrea: “Summa vitæ cursus et mortis Ill. a R.D. Joannis Mullener, quondam Episcopi Myriophitani et Vicarii Apostolici provinciæ Ssse-Tchuen in Imperio Sinarum, duobus a testibus oculatis presbyteris sinensibus…”, in: André Ly, Journal d’André Ly, prˆetre chinois, missionnaire et notaire apostolique 1746-1763. Texte latin, introduction par Adrien Launay (Paris 1906) pp. 426-436.

Johannes Müllener Bibliography:

  • Nicolas Standaert (ed.), Handbook of Christianity in China. Volume One: 635-1800. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China 15/1. Handbuch der Orientalistik, Abt. 4: China 15) (Leiden, Boston, K¨oln 2001).
  • Robert Streit, Bibliotheca Missionum, vol. VII (Freiburg 1932).
  • A. Van den Brandt, Les Lazaristes en Chine 1697-1935. Notes biographiques (Pei-p’ing 1936).
  • Fran¸cois Bontinck, La lutte autour de la liturgie chinoise aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Louvain 1962).
  • Jean Charbonnier, Histoire des Chr´etiens de la Chine (Paris 1992).
  • Jean Charbonnier, ”The catechetical approach of Andrew Li (1692-1775): A Chinese priest in Sichuan province”, in: Staf Vloeberghs et al. (eds.), History of Catechesis in China (Leuven Chinese Studies 18) (Leuven 2008) pp. 129-150;
  • Claudia von Collani, “Artus de Lionne et la Chine”, in: Actes du VIIe Colloque international de Sinologie, Chantilly 1992 (Paris, Taipei 1995) pp. 45-79.
  • Claudia von Collani, “Der Ritenstreit und die Folgen für die Chinamission”, Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft und Religionswissenschaft 90 (2006) pp. 210-225.
  • Claudia von Collani, “Parishes, Priests and Lay People: Christian Communities as Described in the Neue Welt-Bott”, in: No˝el Golvers, Sara Lievens (eds.), A lifelong dedication to the China Mission. Essays presented in Honor of Father Jeroom Heyndrickx, CICM, on the Occasion of his 75th Birthday and the 25th Anniversary of the F. Verbiest Institute K.U.Leuven (Leuven Chinese Studies XVII) (Leuven 2007) pp. 669-704.
  • Claudia von Collani, “Per Pedes Apostolorum. Bishop Johannes Müllener CM Mu Tianchi in Sichuan”, in: Lu Yan & Philip Vanhaelemeersch (eds.), Silent force: Native converts in the Catholic China mission (Leuven Chinese Studies, vol. 20) (Leuven: Ferdinand Verbiest Institute, 2009) pp. 95-130.
  • Henri Crapez, “Les Lazaristes et le Clergé Chinois de 1697 à 1900”, Revue d’Histoire des Missions. Études Missionnaires XV (1938) pp. 14-59.
  • Domenico Cresi, Mons. Antonio Laghi da Castrocaro (1668-1727), vescovo titolare di Lorima, Vicario Apostolico di Shensi et di Shansi (Firenze 1957).
  • Joseph Dehergne, “La Chine de Sud-Ouest”, Archivum Historicum Societatis Jesu 42 (1973) pp. 246-287 (Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan).
  • Robert Entenmann, “Chinese Catholic Clergy and Catechist in Eighteenth Century Szechuan”, in: Actes du Colloque international de VIe Sinologie, Chantilly 1989 (Taipei, Paris 1995) pp. 389-410.
  • Robert Entenmann, “Chinese Catholic Communities in Early Ch’ing Szechwan”, in: Actes du Colloque international de VIIe Sinologie, Chantilly 1992 (Taipei, Paris 1995) pp. 147-161.
  • Robert Entenmann, “The Anti-Catholic Persecution of 1746 in Jiangjin Xian, Sichuan”, in: Bernard Hung-Kay Luk (ed.), Contacts between cultures. Eastern Asia: Literature and Humanities, vol. 4: History and Social
  • Sciences (Lewiston 1992) pp. 298-301.
  • Robert E. Entenmann, “Christian Virgins in Eighteenth-Century Sichuan”, in: Daniel H. Bays (ed.), Christianity in China. From the Eighteenth Century to the Present (Stanford 1996) pp. 180-193.
  • Robert E. Entenmann, “Catholics and Society in Eighteenth-Century Sichuan”, in: Daniel H. Bays (ed.), Christianity in China. From the Eighteenth Century to the Present (Stanford 1996) pp. 8-23.
  • Robert E. Entenmann, “Andreas Li (Li Ande) on the First Jinchuan War in Western Sichuan (1747-1749)”, Sino-Western Cultural Relations Journal XIX (1997) pp. 6-21.
  • Robert Entenmann, “The Problem of the Chinese Rites in Eighteenth Century Sichuan”, in: Stephen Uhalley Jr., Xiaoxin Wu (eds.), China and Christianity. Burdened Past and Hopeful Future (Armonk, London 2001) pp. 127-136, 377-379.
  • Robert Entenmann, “Chinese clergy and their European colleagues in Sichuan, 1702-1800”, in: Lu Yan & Philip Vanhaelemeersch (eds.), Silent force: Native converts in the Catholic China mission (Leuven Chinese Studies, vol. 20) (Leuven: Ferdinand Verbiest Institute, 2009) pp. 75-94.
  • Léonide Guiot, La Mission de Su-tchuen au XVIIIme siècle (Paris 1892).
  • Ronnie Po-chia Hsia, Gegenreformation. Die Welt der katholischen Erneuerung (Franfurt 1998).
  • Instrvctiones ad mvnera apostolica rite obevnda pervtiles Missionibvs Chinae, Tvnchini, Cochinchinae atque Siami addommodatae a Missionariis S. Congregationis de Propaganda Fide (Romae 1807).
  • Adrien Launay, Mémorial de la Société des Missions-E´trang`eres (Paris 1873).
  • Adrien Launay, Histoire de la Société des Missions-Etrangères, 3 vols. (Paris 1894, 2003).
  • Adrien Launay, Histoire des Missions de Chine: Mission de Se-tchoan, 2 vols. (Paris 1920; 2002).
  • André Ly, Journal d’André Ly, prˆetre chinois, missionnaire et notaire apostolique 1746-1763. Texte latin, introduction par Adrien Launay (Paris 1906).
  • Fortunato Margiotti, “Le Missione Cinese nella tormenta”, in: Joseph Metz-ler (ed.), Sacrae Congregationis de Propaganda Fide memoria rerum, vol. II (Freiburg 1973) pp. 991-1023.
  • Fortunato Margiotti (ed.), Sinica Franciscana, vol. VIII (Romae 1975) p. 1115.
  • Fortunato Margiotti, “La contesta validità della consecrazione Episcopale di Mgr. Giovanni Müllener”, Antonianum 61 (1986) pp. 659-706.
  • M´emoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, vols. IV-VI (Paris 1865).
  • J. de Moidrey, La Hierarchie catholique en Chine, en Corée et au Japon (1307-1914) (Variétés Sinologiques 38) (Chang-hai 1914).
  • Gennaro Nardi, Cinesi a Napoli. Un uomo e un’opera (Napoli 1976).
  • Armand Olichon, Aux origines du clergé chinois. Le Prˆetre André Ly, missionnaire au Se-tchoan (1692-1775) (Paris 1933).
  • Willard J. Peterson, “What to wear? Observation and participation by Jesuit missionaries in late Ming society”, in: S. B. Schwartz (ed.), Implicit Understandings. Observing, Reporting, and Reflecting on the Encounters between Europeans and other Peoples in the Early Modern Era (Cambridge 1994) pp. 403-421.
  • C.P. Platel, Mémoires historiques sur les affaires des Jèsuites avec le Saint Si`ege, vols. VI und VII (Lissabon 1766).
  • Sebald Reil, Kilian Stumpf 1655-1720. Ein Würzburger Jesuit am Kaiserhof zu Peking (Münster 1978).
  • Karl Rivinius, Das Collegium Sinicum zu Neapel und seine Umwandlung in ein Orientalisches Institut. Ein Beitrag zu seiner Geschichte (Collectanea Serica (Sankt Augustin 2004).
  • Henry Serruys, “Andrew Li, Chinese Priest, 1692 (1693?)-1774”, Neue Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft 32 (1976) pp. 39-55; 131-144.
  • Anastase van den Wyngaert (ed.), Sinica Franciscana, vol. V (Romae 1954) pp. 863f.
  • Gherardo de Vincentiis, Documenti e titoli sul privato fondatore dell’attauale R. Istituto Matteo Ripa (Napoli 1904).
  • Ad Dudink, Nicolas Standaert, Chinese Christian Texts Database (CCT Database) http://www.arts.kuleuven.be/sinology/cct (02 November 2009).

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