The London Times5 January 1844

NESTORIAN CHRISTIANS - KURDISTAN

NESTORIAN CHRISTIANS - our readers are aware that the imprudent rivalship of the American and English missionaries had entailed on the independent tribes of the Nestorians of Kurdistan all the evils of a disastrous war. The college which the former had established at so enormous a cost in the centre of the mountains, the promise of an efficacious protection made by the latter the moment they recognized the supremacy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the active correspondence which both carried on with the patriarch Mar-Chimon, who contrived to turn to account their generous proselytism-all these circumstances had awakened the suspicious jealousy of the Mussulmans, who were masters of the surrounding country. Being Kurds, and eager for plunder, they impatiently awaited an opportunity to reduce the Christians, who had always successfully repelled the attacks of their enemies. The strength of the Nestorians resided in their union and patriotic spirit, supported by their energetic love of liberty ; and division alone could destory them, as it must invariably destory every nation placed in so deplorable a predicament. Mar-Chimon, the spirtitual chief of the Nestorians, and their generalissimo, when they took arms, had a quarrel with the Emir of the Hekkaris, a powerful Kurdish tribe, inhabiting the northern mountains of Niphate. To attack him with advantage he formed a secret league with another Kurdish chief, his nephew and competitior, and, placing himslef at the head of the Nestorian tribe of the Tiyaris, suprised him, and compelled him to resign his authority. The Emire vainly implored pardon ; the patriarch remained inflexible. He then sought refuge on the territory of the Governor of Djezireh, Baderkhan-Bey, an enterprising man well known for his implacable hatred to the Christian name. Baderkhan-Bey, on being informed that divisions existed among the Meliks, or Tiyaris chiefs, kindly received the fugitives, marched suddenly at the head of his guard, entirely composed of picked horsemen, and unexpectedly attacked the Nestorian tribe. As a portion of the Tiyaris still held out for the Emir, and would not recognize his nephew, scarcely any resistance was offered; but Baderkhan-Bey, making no distinction between the partisans and enemies of the Emir, put the male inhabitants to the sword, carried off the women and children into captivity, and returned with a rich booty to Djezireh, after appointing one of his creatures governor of the country. The Nestorians, however, soon revolted against him, and beseiged him in his fortress. On hearing of the revoly, Baderkhan-Bey again took the field attacked the Tiyaris with impetuosity, and on this occasion blood flowed with still greater abundance. The number of Christians who fell, in and after the attack, is estimated at 3,800. All the Meliks were butchered, and the rest of the women and younger children were reduced to slavery. The patriarch Mar-Chimon, after witnessing the slaughter of a considerable number of his followers, succeeded in escaping to Mossoul. The American missionaries at first claimed him as one of their converts, but were not a little suprised to find that the Anglican missionaries had taken possession of him and brought him to the house of the British Consul, where he is closely watched, and is to reside until the issue of the negotiation opened with the Archbishop of Canterbury be known. The conduct of the British Consul appeared the more unaccountable to the Americans, as he had himself invited them to Mossoul and made them believe that he was entirly devoted to their interests. The Puseyist Anglicans hoped that they would bring over to them the whole Chaldean nation, and at one moment several defections occurred among the Catholics. But the latter soon repented their conduct, and returned to the bosom of the Church, with the exception of only three individuals. That loss, however, was more than compensated by the conversion of 108 Nestorians, who all at once embraced the Catholic faith. The Protestant ministers are now kept in check and are completely paralysed by the Dominican missionaries, whose apostolical labours are daily blessed with success. The schools lately committed to their direction contain upwards of 340 children of both sexes, and they are obliged to enlarge their church, on account of the increasing number of their flocks. Thus, the Universal Church, abjured and deserted, in the West by several of her children, is consoled in the East by the conversion of others and the prospect of an abundant harvest - L’Univers



The London Times