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Royston Anthony Lin, M.A

Sabine Dabringhaus (February 2019)

Royston Anthony Lin, M.A.


Office: 4425, KG IV

Office Hours: Please e-mail Royston Lin to make an appointment.

Telephone: 0761/203-3418

Email: royston.lin@geschichte.uni-freiburg.de


Doctoral Project

The Catholic Mass in Late Imperial China

Since the arrival of the first Jesuits in China in 1584, the celebration of Catholic Mass had been a key focus in the spiritual life of the missionaries as well as the Chinese Christian communities. An opportunity for localising the liturgy arose when Pope Paul V granted an indult (a special permission) in 1615 to the Catholic mission in China, which included the wearing of a special headpiece (ji jin 祭巾) in liturgical functions and the celebration of the Mass in Chinese. The translation of the Roman missal (or parts of it), however, was only completed in 1670, but it was never officially promulgated by the Holy See; instead, the imprimatur was granted by the Jesuit superior of Beijing, Ferdinand Verbiest. Regrettably, this remarkable project was undertaken during the Chinese Rites and Terms Controversy, which arguably prevented the implementation of the Chinese liturgy. Later versions of the missals included Latin prayers that were directly transcribed using Chinese characters. Much of the existing knowledge about the celebration of the Mass in late-imperial China has been from missionaries’ accounts. There have been barely any Chinese voices on how the Christian converts themselves viewed the Catholic liturgy, which would certainly have been a curious spectacle (to say the least) with its rituals and ceremonies performed in Latin. The attempts to Sinicise the Catholic religion would not have escaped the attention of the Chinese Christians. 

This research project, therefore, seeks to shed some light on how Chinese Christians perceived the celebration of the Catholic liturgy, as well as examines the ill-fated quest of localising the liturgy in the Chinese mission. Using the Catholic Mass as a springboard, this study hopes to contribute to a greater and deeper understanding of the different forces shaping and influencing the practice of the Catholic faith in late imperial China.


Research Interests

  • Late-Imperial Chinese History
  • History of Religions
  • Christian Missiology
  • Folk Culture and Beliefs
  • Cross-Cultural Interactions

Employment History

  • 08/2021 Present
    Research Associate and Lecturer (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter), Professorship of East Asian History, Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 01/2020 – 05/2021
    Heritage and Research Assessment Division, National Hertiage Board, Singapore
  • 09/2019 – 01/2020
    Culturial Project Manager,
    Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Singapore
  • 10/2017 – 08/2019
    Research Assistant,
    Modern and Contemporary History, Department of History, University of Konstanz, Germany
  • 04/2017 – 08/2019
    Research Assistant,
    Professorship of East Asian History, Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 04/2015 – 09/2016
    Heritage and Research Assessment Division, National Hertiage Board, Singapore
  • 04/2014 – 04/2015
    Assistant Manager,
    Preservation of Sites and Monuments Division, National Heritage Board, Singapore



  • 08/2021 present
    Doctoral Candidate in Modern and Contemporary History,
    Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 04/2017 – 07/2019
    Master of Arts (History – Early Modern Period),
    Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 08/2009 – 12/2014
    Bachelor of Arts (Major in History),
    National University of Singapore, Singapore


  • 08/2017 – 08/2019
    Scholarship Program for Foreign Students (Ausländerförderung),
    Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), Germany

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Historisches Seminar
Lehrstuhl für Außereuropäische Geschichte
Rempartstraße 15 - KG IV
79085 Freiburg im Breisgau

KG IV, Room 4337
Research Assistants

KG IV, Room 4306
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