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Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 92 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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OLOPUEN OLOPAN or OLOPEN (probably a Chinese form of the Syriac Rabban, i.e. monk: fl. A.U. 635), the first Christian missionary in China (setting aside vague stories of St Thomas, St Bartholomew, &c.), and founder of the Nestorian Church in the Far East. According to the Si-ngan-fu inscription, our sole authority, Olopan came to China from Ta T'sin (the Roman empire) in the ninth year of the emperor T'ai-Tsung (A.D. 635), bringing sacred books and images. He was received with favour; his teaching was examined and approved; his Scriptures were translated for the imperial library; and in 638 an imperial edict declared Christianity a tolerated religion. T'ai-Tsung's successor, Kao-Tsung (650-683), was still more friendly, and Olopan now became a " guardian of the empire " and " lord of the great law." After this followed (c. 683-744) a time of disfavour and oppression for Chinese Christians, followed by a revival dating from the arrival of a fresh missionary, Kiho, from the Roman empire. The Si-ngan-fu inscription, which alone records these facts, was erected in 781, and rediscovered in 1625 by workmen digging in the Chang-ngan suburb of Si-ngan-fu city. It consists of 1789 Chinese characters, giving a history of the Christian mission down to 781, together with a sketch of Nestorian doctrine, the decree of T'ai-Tsung in favour of Christianity, the date of erection, and names of various persons connected with the church in China when the monument was put up. Additional notes in Syriac (Estrangelo characters) repeat the date and record the names of the reigning Nestorian patriarch, the Nestorian bishop in China, and a number of the Nestorian clergy. See Kircher, China Illustrata; G. Pauthier, De l'authenticite de l'inscription nestorienne de Si-ngan-fou (Paris, 1857) and L'inscription syro-chinoise de Si-ngan-fou (Paris, 1858); Henry Yule, Cathay, Preliminary Essay, xcii.-xciv. clxxxi.-clxxxiii. (London, Hakluyt Soc., 1866) ; F. Hirth, China and the Roman Orient, 323, &C.; Father Henri Havret, La stele chretienne de Si-ngan fou, two parts (text and history) published out of three (Shanghai, 1895 and 1897); Dr James Legge's edition and translation of the text, The Nestorian Monument of Hsi-an-Fu (London, 1888); Yule and Cordier, Marco Polo, ii. 27-29 (London, 1903) ; C. R. Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, i. 215-218. OLORON-SAINTE-MARIE, a town of south-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Basses-Pyrenees, 21 m. S.W. of Pau on a branch of the Southern railway. It lies at the confluence of the mountain torrents (locally known as gaves) Aspe and Ossau, which, after dividing it into three parts, unite to form the Oloron, a tributary of the Pau. The united population of the old feudal town of Sainte-Croix or Oloron proper, which is situated on an eminence between the two rivers, of Sainte-Marie on the left bank of the Aspe, and of the new quarters on the right bank of the Ossau, is 7715. Oloron has remains of old ramparts and pleasant promenades with beautiful views, and there are several old houses of the 15th, OLYBRIUS 16th and 17th centuries, one of which is occupied by the hBetel de ville. The church of Sainte-Croix, the building of most interest, belongs mainly to the 11th century; the chief feature of the exterior is the central Byzantine cupola; in the interior there is a large altar of gilded wood, constructed in the Spanish style of the 17th century. The church of Sainte-Marie, which formerly served as the cathedral of Oloron, is in the old ecclesiastical quarter of Sainte-Marie. It is a medley of various styles from the 11th to the 14th century. A square tower at the west end shelters a fine Romanesque portal. In the new quarter there is the modern church of Notre-Dame. Remains of a castle of the 14th century are also still to be seen. Oloron is the seat of a sub-prefect, and its public institutions include tribunals of first instance and of commerce, and a chamber of arts and manufactures. It is the most important commercial centre of its department after Bayonne, and carries on a thriving trade with Spain by way of the passes of Somport and Anso. A Celtiberian and then a Gallo-Roman town, known as Iluro, occupied the hill on which Sainte-Croix now stands. Devastated by the Vascones in the 6th and by the Saracens in the 8th century, it was abandoned, and it was not until the 11th century that the quarter of Sainte-Marie was re-established by the bishops. In 1080 the viscount of Beam took possession of the old town. The two quarters remained distinct till the union of Beam with the crown at the accession of Henry IV. At the Reformation the place became a centre of Catholic reaction. In the 17th century it carried on a considerable trade with Aragon, until the Spaniards, jealous of its prosperity, pillaged the establishments of the Oloron merchants at Saragossa in 1694—a disaster from which it only slowly recovered. The bishopric was sup-pressed in 1790.
End of Article: OLOPUEN OLOPAN

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