DECLINE OF ANCIENT ASSYRIAN CHURCH.
RESULTS OF KURDISH TYRANNY.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent appeal in The Times on behalf of the Assyrian Christians calls attention to an ancient Christian Church whose history has been marked by alternations of immense success and great misfortunes. The Assyrians, who live between Lake Urmi, Lake Van and the River Tigris, number probably about 100,000, the greater portion of them living in the Turkish Empire, the rest in Persia.
In the early part of the fourth century a large and flourishing Christian Church existed in these countries, but it quickly became isolated from the rest of Christendom. It was, however, an earnest and zealous missionary Church, and preached the Gospel far and wide even to the remotest provines of India and China. The Assyrians may proudly boast that the only native abd self-supporting Church in India to-day, the St. Thomas Christians of Malabar, was founded by them and has now existed for 1,500 years. Their language is Syriac and they love to declare that they alone of all nations use the tongue Christ spoke. They accept the Nicene creed, though the Apostles’ Creed and the Athanasian formula are unknown to them. They are accused of holding the heresy of Nestorius, who was condemned for heretical teaching about the Person of Christ. During the last five centuries they have been mercilessly persecuted by the Kurds and have lived in the mountainous districts and have declined in numbers and sunk into great ignorance.
At the annual meeting in July last of the mission founded by Archbishop Benson, the present Archbishop declared that the conditions of terror and hardship and wrong and murder for these people were not only acute, but dreadful in the highest degree, and an earnest public appeal for help is now being made.
Contributions may be sent either to the secretary of the Assyrian Mission, the Rev. F. N. Heazell, Church House, Westminster, or to the secretary of the Armenian Relief Fund.
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