Polish Marco Polo
The year of 2019 is the year of commoration of the 360th anniversary of the death of the "Polish Marco Polo", Father Michał Boym, an outstanding Polish 17th century scientist, discoverer, jesuit and missionary of Catholic faith in China. We intend the commemoration be a part of the official celebration of the 100th anniversary of Poland`s regaining independence. The project includes: publication of relevant books on Father Boym, street exhibits, academic conferences. This project is executed in collaboration with Sinicum and SECA associations and it received the patronage of the Commission for Missions of the Polish Episcopate and of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
Link to the website of the project: www.michalboym.pl
About Michael Boym
Father Michael Boym, a 17th century Jesuit and a Christian missionary is an outstanding Pole who made a very important contribution to the history of the world being one of the very first people who built bridges of understanding between Western civilization and that of the Far East. In particular he played a very special role in the process of spreading Christian religion in East Asia.
For Western civilization Father Michael Boym stands out as one of the founders of the Western knowledge about ancient and 17th century imperial China, an ingenious discoverer, ethnographer and a cultural researcher, botanist and a zoologist, whose works gave an impulse to the development of the whole branch of science – the Chinese Studies.
For the civilization of the Far East, in particular for the imperial China, he stands out as a staunchly loyal friend and the last envoy of the Ming court to Vatican, as a man who gave his life for the sake of defending the last ethnic Chinese Han dynasty from a foreign invader – the Manchus.
For the Catholic Church he stands out as one of its most devout missionaries, who following in the footsteps of Father Matteo Ricci and Father Andreas Koffler participated in the grand missionary work that was the first and last conversion of the Chinese imperial court to Christianity, and who took an active part in its defense against a pagan aggressor, being a man of deep faith who without hesitation dedicated his entire existence to serve God and the Catholic Church.
For Poland, Michael Boym stands out as an outstanding patriot who at all occasions proudly underscored his Polish origins signing his letters and written works as "Michael Boym, the Pole."
The year 2019 as the 360th anniversary of his death and the 100th anniversary of Poland’s regaining its independence provides an excellent occasion to commemorate and promote the heritage of this great Polish man both in Poland and abroad.