Our Foundation decided to begin works on a project to commemmorate the life and achievements of Father Michał Boym, a Polish 17th century jesuit and missionary to China. Father Boym was born in a renown merchant family of the Boyms (see the Boym Chapel) in the city of Lviv (formerly Poland, presently Ukraine). Notwithstanding his great contribution to sciences he remains unfortunately unknown to the Polish public.
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."