ACMS Virtual Speaker Series with Paul Shore – The report of a Silesian Jesuit’s sojourn among the Kalmyks in 1700

When: Monday, March 17, 2022, 6:00 am (PT) 9:00 am (EDT); 9:00 pm (ULAT)

Where: via Zoom

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 824 3411 9409

Passcode: 038874


In 1700, Jan Milan, a Jesuit missionary from Silesia, journeyed to the land of the Kalmyks, where he remained for many months. There he learned some of their language, met people of all social classes, and had hair raising experiences, such as when an arrow flew out of nowhere, striking him in the arm. Milan observed Kalmyk religious practices, their astronomical and mathematical knowledge, music making, dancing and feasting. He also learned how traditional spiritual practices had been combined with Buddhist beliefs.

Milan described his encounter with the Kalmyks in a Relatio now in the National Library of the Czech Republic. This manuscript is illustrated with scenes from Kalmyk life, and includes some detailed reporting of incantations and alphabets used. We will see some of these images and discuss what they tell us about Kalmyk life at the time, and also about the perceptions of a foreigner in their midst.


Paul Shore has held teaching and research posts at Saint Louis University, Harvard Divinity School, Oxford University, the University of Edinburgh, Durham University (UK) and Trinity College Dublin. The holder of a Ph. D. in Philosophy of Education from Stanford University and author of poetry and essays, he is a Life Member of Wolfson College, Cambridge University, and a priest of the Anglican Church.  Adjunct Professor of History at Brandon University, Canada and currently a Senior Researcher at the University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, Shore is author of several publications relating to Jesuit history, and has lectured on topics from the history of religion in many cities, including Moscow, Jerusalem, Rome, Vienna, Belgrade, Santiago, and Toronto.  Shore’s monograph on a Latin translation of the Qur’an made by Ignazio Lomellini in 1622 will be published this year.

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