hard in the subsequent decades at the creation of a native priesthood while the church was undergoing intermittent, but at times severe, persecution both in Tonkin and Cochin China.

In the eighteenth century, there was a breakdown ofcentral authority in the north and south, and the people suffered through a series of civil wars which developed into a rivalry between the princes of the Nguyen and Trin clans. A decisive moment came both for the nation and for the church when Fr PierreJoseph Pigneaux negotiated a treaty between the French court and the Nguyen party, which brought the latter French military help in return for commercial concessions. French troops from Pondicherry arrived in 1788 and helped to achieve a Nguyen victory. The leading Nguyen prince became the Emperor Gian Long. Although he was and remained a Buddhist, the emperor showed favour to the Christian community. In 1802 the community was divided into three dioceses, each headed by a missionary Vicar Apostolic. There were 121 Vietnamese priests, fifty-five missionary priests, and 320,000 communicants. This development was also the beginning of a dangerous connection between the Christian church and French colonialism, which contributed to continuing, intermittent periods of severe persecution of the church in Vietnam.

The period between 1660 and 1815 in India and parts of south Asia and south-east Asia marked atempestuoustimepolitically, culturally, economically, and religiously. During these years, India witnessed within its confines the consolidation of control by western powers, the steady growth of the Christian faith, the spread of Islamic art and culture, and the flowering of various strands of Hindu philosophical thought and devotion. India also became the starting point and the funding agency for further missionary movements to various parts of Asia.


1. A. Sauliere, Red sand: A life of St. John de Brito, S.J. Martyr of the Madurai Mission (Mathura:

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