The New York Times24 March 1915


Christian Quarters Plundered - Women Taken Captive.

The Persian War Relief Committee, with headquarters in this city, yesterday received the following cablegram from Tiflis - Transcaucasia. All villages burned except three. Two Christian quarters of Urumiah plundered and a great many people killed. Women taken captives. Fifteen thousand refugees in the American mission. Great danger. The French mission has been destroyed. There are 10,000 refugees in Russia.

The Message was signed-by Mr. Aslanoff, a Russian contractor of Tiflis.

Urumiah, Persian Armenia, near the Russo-Persian border, has suffered terribly since the beginning of the struggle between the Russians and Turks. The reputed birthplace of Zoroaster, and beautifully, situated amid gardens in a fertile plain, it is a centre of American missionary activity, being the headquarters of the Fiske College for girls, Urumiah, College, and of other institutions. A, dispatch received here from Djulfa, Persia, on March 21 said that the Turkish Consul at Urumiah, at the head of a mob, recently attacked one of the American missions. Russian troops had been summoned to save the lives of the Christians. Three weeks ago 10,000 persons were being housed in various American buildings which belong to the Presbyterian Board. These refugees then included almost all the native Christian population of the city, numbering between.4,000 and 5,000, 200 or 800 American missionaries and teachers and numerous foreigners. The American flag, it is stated offered protection to all who, could find room in the buildings, which are several in number, including a hospital, church and schools.

The French mission referred to in the cablegram was founded by the Lazatist Order, and, including the territory of the Province, embraced twenty-six chapels and meeting places conducted by sixteen European priests and three native priests. Eighty-eight lay workers were employed and. there were in the mission 177 Sisters of Charity. The Christian quarters which were invaded, it was said yesterday, were occupied by colonies of native Nestorian Christians, whose occupancy dated back more than 1,500 years. Mr. Aslanoff is an influential contractor and a Presbyterian preacher.

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