Alopen, pioneer missionary to China.

A Syriac-speaking Nestorian from Persia who travelled over the Silk Route to be welcomed at the capital of Tang dynasty China in 635. The story of his founding of churches and monasteries in China in a window of religious toleration under the second Tang emperor, Tíai-Tsung is recorded on the Nestorian monument erected near Xian in 781 and rediscovered in 1623.

The church was free from significant association with foreign political forces, but it accommodated to Buddhism, and remained over-dependent on long and fragile lines of communication.

Nestorianism had faded in China by 900 but reappeared in the Western Chinese empire among the Mongols (1260-1368).

Alopenís work remains highly significant for Mongol and Chinese Christianity.

John Roxborogh