Blessed Odoric of Pordenone: Prominent Missionary of the Middle Ages

On January 14, Franciscans honor the memory of Blessed Odoric of Pordenone (c. 1286–1331), one of the most prominent missionaries of the later Middle Ages.

Devoted to prayer, missionary life

A native of the town of Pordenone in the Friuli region of Northern Italy, Odoric joined the Friars Minor about 1302. He devoted his early life to eremitical prayer and preaching but then went to evangelize in other lands, first in the Balkans and then among non-Christian peoples in Southern Russia. After returning home for a time, he left Venice c. 1317/18 as a missionary to Asia. He would be gone for over a dozen years on a remarkable journey.

Bl Odoric of Pordenone preaching Chinese 700pxlsModern Chinese depiction (c. 1930s) of Odoric preaching

Evangelizing in Asia, Middle East

Traveling first to Constantinople, he spent some time at Franciscan houses in what is now Armenia and Iran. Sailing down the Persian Gulf, Odoric arrived in India

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