ORAZIO DELLA PENNA DI BILLI, Francesco (Franciscus Horatius a Pennabilli; lay conte Luzio Olivieri). Pennabilli, Marche 1680 — Patan, Nepal 20.7.1745. Count. Italian Capuchin Missionary in Tibet. Born as an Italian nobleman, son of count Orazio Olivieri and his wife Francesca, joinedCapuchins in 1700.As a member of the Capuchin Tibetan Mission he went to India in a French ship in 1712. He was first in Patna and 1714-15 in Kathmandu, then to Tibet,where he remained 1716-32 and 1741-45. In 1725 he succeeded —> Domenico Da Fano as the head of the Capuchin mission in Lhasa. In 1732 lack of funds forced him to close the mission and return to India (in 1736-38 visited Rome), but in 1741 he began again with new means in Tibet. The Capuchins were appreciated as physicians and also allowed to preach freely. But their success was meagre and they were not capable of returning the courtesy. When they started burning Lamaist books on fire, they soon lost their popularity and had to close the mission and retire to Nepal, where Orazio Della Penna soon died.
Publications: Manuscript Vocabulario italiano–tibetano–nepalese, on which was then based —> F. C. G. Schröter’s Dictionary. The original is lost.
– “Breve Notizia Del regno del Tibet, dal frà Francesco Orazio della Penna de Billi, ed. avec notes par Klaproth”, JA 2:14, 1834, 177-204, 273-296, 406-432, English transl. in C. R. Markham: Narratives of Bogle’s Mission to Tibet and Manning’s Journey to Lhasa. L. 1876, 309-340.
– Letters and other writings publ. by L. Petech, I missionari italiani nel Tibet e nel Nepal. 2:1-3. Rome 1952-57.
Sources: E. De Rossi Filibek, D.B.I. 50, 1998 (in treccani.it); U. Nardella, La conoscenza dell’ Asia 3, 1989, 11f.; L. Petech, Le Marche e l’Oriente. Roma 1998, 247-260; Walravens 2008, 153; Lexicon Capuccinum. Romae 1951; Wikipedia.
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