Since October 2023, version 2.0 the “China Historical Christian Database” (CHCD) hosted by the Center for Global Christianity and Mission at Boston University has become the first online stepping stone for further research on the Divine Word China mission. The CHCD now includes biographical data of ca. 700 SVD and SSpS missionaries active in China up to 1950.
On 16 January, one day after the Feast Day of the Society’s founder Saint Arnold Janssen SVD (1837–1909), the Monumenta Serica Institute’s editorial office presented an introduction on how to use the database to an audience of colleagues from the Anthropos Institute, the China-Zentrum, and the SVD Missiological Institute, all located at the SVD campus in Sankt Augustin.
As part of its academic apostolate, the Monumenta Serica Institute dedicated two years to entering this data. The director of the Institute, Fr. Zbigniew Wesołowski SVD, expressed his gratitude to Father Provincial Peter Narh SVD for the financial support of this project. In his welcome address, Fr. Narh emphasized the importance of scholarly work within the SVD.
As coordinators of the CHCD project within Monumenta Serica’s editorial office, Barbara Hoster and Dirk Kuhlmann gave an overview on the data collecting process, the sources used, and the key search features of the CHCD. By cross-connecting data, the CHCD offers not only biographical information on individual SVD and SSpS missionaries, but also graphic representations of their personal networks and maps of their areas of activity, as well as statistical graphs for SVD and SSpS institutions. Due to the high level of detail of the individual data sets of Divine Word missionaries and sisters, the CHCD will prove to be a useful tool for the institutions of the SVD campus. It will also contribute to generating further interest in the SVD and SSpS among international researchers on the history of Christianity in China.
The China Historical Christian Database features information on individuals and institutions of the Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Churches from 1550 to 1950. Up to now, it already includes close to two million data points and is enlarged and improved upon as an ongoing project. The CHCD can be accessed and used free of charge here.
A quick start guide to the CHCD can be found here.