SEVENTH CENTURY. First known Christian missionary to China. Native of Syria, he arrived in China in 635, according to the inscription on the “Nestorian Tablet,” first erected in 781 and uncovered in 1625 by workmen near Sian. Alopen was received with honor by the Emperor T'ai-tsung, a monastery was built, sacred books were translated, and a measure of success gained. But Nestorian Christianity failed to survive persecution under subsequent emperors and was finally suppressed in 845, leaving no permanent influence on Chinese life and thought.