Australia and the Americas.38 There has also been a renewal in the eremitical tradition of the Maronite Church, bringing about a repopulation of the Qadisha valley by Maronites and other Christians.39 Even if its influence has diminished, the Maronite Church will continue to play an important role in the new political landscape, because the Lebanon remains the spiritual home of the Maronite people.

The Church of the East40

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the area settled by the Church of the East had been reduced essentially to the rough, mountainous land of Hakkari along the present-day border between Turkey and Iraq.41 By then the church, which had once embraced all of East Syrian Christianity, numbered no more than some 150,000 and comprised a few Christian tribes.42 Behind this decline lay a combination of western missionary work43 and Kurdish attacks. However debatable the benefits brought by the missionaries may be, they at least made the Church of the East look outwards to the major churches for protection against its enemies.44 Since 1914 their story has been one of displacement, then

38 There is also a growing Maronite diaspora in the Middle East. See L. Wehbé, 'The Maronites of the Holy Land: a historical overview', in Eastern Christianity, 431-51.

39 Guita G. Hourani and A. B. Habchi, 'The Maronite eremitical tradition: a contemporary revival', HeythropJournal 45 (2004), 451-65.

40 R. Le Coz, Histoire de l'Eglise d'Orient: chrétiens d'Irak, d'Iran et de Turquie (Paris: Editions du Cerf, 1995); J. Yacoub, Babylone chrétienne: géopolitique de l'Eglise de M'esopotamie (Paris: Desclee de Brouwer, 1996); W Baum and D. W. Winkler, The Church of the East: a concise history (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003). See also the classic work of J. Joseph, The Nestorians and their Muslim neighbours (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961); revised as The modern Assyrians ofthe Middle East: encounters with Western Christian missions, archaeologists and colonial powers (Leiden: Brill, 2000).

41 M. Chevalier, Les Montagnards chrétiens du Hakkari et du Kurdistan septentrional [Publications du département de géographie de l'Université Paris-Sorbonne 13] (Paris: Universiteé Paris-Sorbonne, 1985). Besides this mountain region, Urmia and Van were the only other areas with significant numbers of East Syriac Christians.

42 Baum and Winkler, The Church of the East, 135.

43 J. F. Coakley The Church of the East and the Church of England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992); Coakley, 'The Archbishop of Canterbury's Assyrian Mission Press: a bibliography', Journal of Semitic Studies 30 (1985), 35-73; M. Tamcke, 'Luther Pera's contribution to the restoration of the Church of the East in Urmia', Harp 8/9 (1995-96), 251-61; H. L. Murre van den Berg, 'The American Board and the eastern Church: the "Nestorian Mission" (1844-1846)', OCP 65 (1999), 117-38; E. C. Suttner, 'Die Union der sogenanntenNestorianer aus der Gegend von Urmia (Persien) mit der russischen orthodoxen Kirche', Ostkirchliche Studien 44 (1995), 33-40.

44 See Coakley, 'The Church ofthe East since 1914', 180, where he argues that the missionary endeavour weakened the church in the longer term by the way it unwittingly fostered dependency and enabled graduates of mission schools to emigrate rather than to take up the calling of parish priest. For the counterarguments see H. L. Murre van den Berg,

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment