Friday, 28 March 2008

The Old Macau Protestant Cemetery 舊基督教墳場 (旧基督教坟场)

The Old Protestant Cemetery was established by the British East India Company in 1821. The Cemetery was built in response of the need for a burial place for the non-Catholic community of Macau.

During that time, the Portuguese considered Macau sacred Roman Catholic ground, and barred non Catholics from being buried within its city walls. On the other side of the barrier gate, ecclesiastical law forbade the burial of Protestants on Catholic soil and the Chinese were also intolerant of foreigners being buried on their soil. The Protestant traders had to bury their dead in the area just outside the city walls. But the Chinese were not impressed considering the practice a desecration of their land, so this had to be done in secrecy, under the cover of night. Until 1814 that land was sold to the British East Indian Company who opened the cemetery in 1821 to finally resolved this fraught situation. Inmates include many naval officers along with Robert Morrison, first Protestant missionary to China, and Lord John Spencer Churchill, ancestor of Sir Winston. Artist George Chinnery, renowned for his pictures of Macau holds pride of place.

The Old Protestant Cemetery is one of the sites within the Historic Centre of Macau, and is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

舊基督教墳場是由英國東印度公司於1821年建立, 以解決當時新教徒缺乏長眠之所的問題。 天主教會固不願見異教徒葬於城牆之內, 中國人亦不容許外國人埋於關閘以北的地方。 來自英國、美國及北歐國家的商人唯有秘密地把先人葬於城牆與關閘之間, 恐防被中國人發現會發生沖突, 甚至在離開之后毀墳滅尸。 事情最終在馬禮遜的夫人瑪麗在1821年去世以后解決。 馬禮遜其時為東印度公司職員, 便請東印度公司出面, 向澳葡當局申請將現址辟為墳場。 后來所有外國人都可以在此安息, 而原先葬於其他地方的遺體亦遷葬於此, 所以有些墓碑的年代早於墳場始建的年份。 1857年市政廳禁止市區內埋入任何死者, 墳場因此關閉並完整地保存至今。

墳場分兩部分, 前為與墳場同時興建的馬禮遜小教堂, 是澳門第一座基督教傳道所。 后為墓園, 墓塚數十座, 埋葬的多是來華的英國商人, 東來拓殖的殖民主義者, 鴉片戰爭中在華身亡的英國將領及基督教傳教士。 其中最著名的有居澳20余載的英國畫家喬治錢納利 (George Chinnery)(1774-1852), 基督教傳教士馬禮遜(Robert Morrison)(1782-1834)。 馬禮遜是第一位來華的新教傳教士, 曾長期在澳門工作, 死后葬於教堂旁邊的墓地, 此教堂也以其命名。 墳場葬了來自英國、美國、荷蘭、丹麥、瑞典和德國的國民。 除了上述的名人外, 尚有戴雅牧師 (Rev. Samuel Dyer), 英國皇家海軍艦長亨利 約翰・史賓塞邱吉爾 (即喬治史賓塞—邱吉爾之子,溫斯頓・邱吉爾之曾曾曾叔)和美國海軍上尉約瑟哈羅德・亞當斯 (美國第二任總統約翰亞當斯之孫、第六任總統約翰・昆西亞當斯之侄)。

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