John of Monte Corvino

d. c.1330. Founder of the first Franciscan mission in China. Born at Monte Corvino (Salerno), he was commissioned by Pope Nicholas IV in 1291, with letters for eastern kings, and journeyed through Persia, spent a year in India where he made about one hundred converts, and finally reached Khanbalik (Peking) in 1294. Khan Timor Olcheitu (Chen-tsung) was receptive to John and his traveling companion, a merchant, Peter Lucalonga. John was most successful in establishing a mission at Tenduk, northwest of Khanbalik, where the ruling prince, George, already a Nestorian Christian, converted to Western orthodoxy. Lucalonga became a successful merchant in China and donated land for the establishment of three churches. John was named archbishop in 1307 by Pope Clement V. Besides making 6,000 converts, he translated the NT and Psalms and established a native boys' choir that was highly popular with the people and the khan.