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The French influence in Mosul

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Fred Aprimmoderator

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The French influence in Mosul

Jun-28-2001 at 03:04 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

Last edited by Fred Aprim on Jun-29-2001 at 01:16 AM (CT)

Informations about Mosul in general and the Christians in Mosul in specific are available through many sources including foreign representatives (French, British and German consulars), missionaries and archaeologists. Such people included Layard, E.B. Soane, C. Rassam, H. Rassam, G. Bell, M. Botty and many others. The 19th century was a turning point for the Assyrian Church in Mosul province as in many other regions. The Christian denominational affiliation as it was during certain other earlier periods, yet experienced much strongly, determined one's international loyalties and accordingly privileges and disadvantages were decided upon.

The French consular agents had long-term contacts in Mosul through their proteges in the Dominican monastery and convent. By their own admission, the French presence in Mosul was more concerned with religion than politics. They used their influence to help bring non-Catholic Christians into communion with the Holy See. Many are convinced that the papal delegates, in collaboration with the Catholic institutions of the Mosul province and with the active support of the French consular officials, were conspiring to reduce the numbers and livlihood of the non-Catholic local Christians at any cost. Others suspect that the Kurdish violence against Nestorian Christians in the mountains was fomented by this Papist collective.

Unable to proselytize among the Muslims (conversion away from Islam being punished by death), Christian missionaries, French in particular, sought to bring the indigenous Nestorian and Jacobite Christian communities into their own versions of the faith. The French government became quite aggressive in its efforts to convert the Nestorian and Jacobite groups to the Catholic church, and over the course of the 19th century, the Roman Catholic presence in Mosul and surrounding areas grew dramatically. A new Chaldean Catholic Church welcomed the now-Catholic Nestorians, and a Syrian Catholic Church was created among the Jacobites. The undisputed fact is that despite the British interference and their role, the Church of England did not convert ANY Assyrians, not even one.

The divisions in the older Nestorian and Jacobite churches created by the Vatican led to acrimonious relations in Mosul and even to bloodshed. Inter-Christian rivalries became so serious that the Ottoman central government was forced to step in, allocating the buildings and the clerics between the factions. And when a number of the Catholic Assyrians (i.e. Chaldeans) from the town of Alqosh attempted to return to their original Nestorian faith, a political chaos errupted between the Ottomans and French from one side and the British from the other. Bishop Stepan, of the Chaldean Catholic Church, stated that he was prepared to spend the last piaster in the Patriarchate treasury and the last drop of his blood, if necessary, to suppress the attempt.

By the end of the 19th century, the Catholic Church had achieved an enormous presence in the city and province of Mosul. The Apostolic Delegate from Rome who resided in Mosul was in charge of conversion and Catholic institutions in five large Ottoman provinces surrounding the city including Mosul, Diyar Bakir, Aleppo, Syria and Baghdad provinces. Despite all the Catholic agressiveness, records still indicate that even around the early portions of the 4th quarter of the 19th century the Chaldean/Nestorian adherents ratio was about six to five (i.e., 6 Chaldeans to 5 Nestorians) in the city of Mosul and around three to two in the city of Tell Kaif, the stronghold of the Chaldean Church.

References furnished upon request.

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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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