John Ross (missionary)

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Rev John Ross's grave, Newington Cemetery, Edinburgh

John Ross (1842-1915), (his Chinese name: Chinese: 罗约翰) was a Scottish Protestant missionary to Northeast China who established Dongguan Church in Shenyang. He is also known for translating the first Korean Bible.


John Ross was born at Rarichie in Easter Ross where Gaelic was his native language. He received his education at Fearn School, Glasgow University and Theological Hall, Edinburgh.[1] In 1872 he was sent by the Scottish United Presbyterian Mission (Chinese: 苏格兰长老会差会) to Northeast China, known at that time as Manchuria. John Ross, called in Chinese: 罗约翰, went first to Yingkou,[2] then moved to Mukden (the present-day Shenyang) and established a church there in 1889. This church was called Dongguan Church (East Gate Church) because it was built just outside East Gate, as Christian churches were not allowed within the city wall. It was rebuilt after the Boxer Rebellion, and is now still used as a Protestant church. He also started a mission in Fushun.

While in China, John Ross met traders from Korea one day, and decided to make a Korean translation of the New Testament, which was completed in 1887 and brought to Korea. This was the first Korean version[3] In 1892 he was visited from Korea by James Scarth Gale.

Ross returned to Scotland in 1910, but continued to help the Scotland-China Society. He died in Edinburgh and is buried there mid-way along the east side of the main north-south path in Newington Cemetery. There is a plaque commemorating John Ross on the sea front at Balintore in Easter Ross.


He was married to Isabella Strapp McFadyen (d.1930) who travelled with him in China.


In 1877, John Gilbert Baker named Iris rossii in his honour.[4] Ray Desmond (Editor).[5]


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