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Missionary Life in Persia


Being glimpses at a quarter of a century of labors among the Nestorian Christians


By Justin Perkins; Introduction by John Pierre Ameer
An account by the American missionary, Justin Perkins, of his years living among the Christians of Persia, with a new Introduction by John Ameer, setting the activities and experiences of the American missionaries in Persia in their historical context.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-3921-3
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Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Aug 8,2018
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 176
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3921-3
$65.00
$39.00

An account by the American missionary, Justin Perkins, of his years living among the Christians of Persia, with a new Introduction by John Ameer, setting the activities and experiences of the American missionaries in Persia in their historical context.

In 1831, missionaries were sent out by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to evaluate the possibilities for setting up missions among the Christian minorities there. The Americans perceived the Nestorians Christians of the venerable and ancient Church of the East as likely to be receptive to an American mission, and Justin Perkins (1805–1869), a graduate of Amherst College and the Andover Theological Seminary, was chosen to lead it. Perkins and his wife Elizabeth arrived in Urmia in 1835, and were welcomed by the clergy of the Church of the East. Their ensuing cooperation with Perkins, as well as the friendliness proffered by the local Iranian nobility, enabled the missionaries to proceed in establishing the mission.

The missionary enterprise was also assisted by the socio-economic context of the Nestorians. Years of isolation from other Christian communions, their inferior status among Muslim majorities and a grinding poverty, all characterized the lot of the plains Nestorians. Illiteracy, for example, was the norm; by accounts of all the visitors, and by substantiation of the local clergy, it is clear that few of the Nestorians in Urmia were literate. Even many clerics and deacons were unschooled and were able to perform liturgical exercises by means of memorizing the texts which they were able to do by means of oral instruction. The missionaries quickly learned that the hunger for education was widespread and set up schools to meet this need.

In Perkins' memoir of his years as a missionary in Urmia he writes of his joys and successes on the mission field, as well as of hardships encountered: of his seven children, only one would survive to return to America.

An account by the American missionary, Justin Perkins, of his years living among the Christians of Persia, with a new Introduction by John Ameer, setting the activities and experiences of the American missionaries in Persia in their historical context.

In 1831, missionaries were sent out by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to evaluate the possibilities for setting up missions among the Christian minorities there. The Americans perceived the Nestorians Christians of the venerable and ancient Church of the East as likely to be receptive to an American mission, and Justin Perkins (1805–1869), a graduate of Amherst College and the Andover Theological Seminary, was chosen to lead it. Perkins and his wife Elizabeth arrived in Urmia in 1835, and were welcomed by the clergy of the Church of the East. Their ensuing cooperation with Perkins, as well as the friendliness proffered by the local Iranian nobility, enabled the missionaries to proceed in establishing the mission.

The missionary enterprise was also assisted by the socio-economic context of the Nestorians. Years of isolation from other Christian communions, their inferior status among Muslim majorities and a grinding poverty, all characterized the lot of the plains Nestorians. Illiteracy, for example, was the norm; by accounts of all the visitors, and by substantiation of the local clergy, it is clear that few of the Nestorians in Urmia were literate. Even many clerics and deacons were unschooled and were able to perform liturgical exercises by means of memorizing the texts which they were able to do by means of oral instruction. The missionaries quickly learned that the hunger for education was widespread and set up schools to meet this need.

In Perkins' memoir of his years as a missionary in Urmia he writes of his joys and successes on the mission field, as well as of hardships encountered: of his seven children, only one would survive to return to America.

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Contributor Biography

Justin Perkins

Justin Perkins (d.1869) was an American Presbyterian missionary and linguist. In September, 1833, he set sail for Persia as a missionary for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and he went on to establish a missionary center and a printing press in Urmia that would continue for 35 years. He was widely recognized as a scholar of the Syriac language, and he published widely in the modern Syriac vernacular, including a translation of the New Testament (1846), the Old Testament (1852), and a referenced version of the Old Testament (1858). The first two of these contained the text in ancient and modern Syriac in parallel columns. His other works included books for regular and Sunday schools, hymnbooks, and translation of religious works.

John Ameer

John Pierre Ameer was an administrator and teacher in secondary schools from 1966-1985. Since then, he has worked in teacher education programs at Harvard Graduate School of Education and Simmons College, and is now Assistant Professor of Education at Clark University and Adjunct Faculty in the Foundations of Education at Worcester State College. He received his BA degree from Yale University in history and his EdM and EdD degrees from Harvard University in the history of education.

Table of Contents (v)
Introduction by John Ameer (vii)
   The Context (vii)
   The Church Of The East (ix)
   The Missionaries (xiii)
   Reception Of The Mission (xix)
   Establishment Of The Schools (xxi)
Note on the Present Edition (1)
Preface (3)
Chapter I. Commencement of the Mission to the Nestorians. (5)
Chapter II. State of the Field, and Early Labors. (19)
Chapter III. Providential Interpositions. (27)
Chapter IV. Progress in the Missionary Work. (41)
Chapter V. The Country and the People. (53)
Chapter VI. Missionary Results. (65)
Chapter VII. The Revival of 1849. (87)
Chapter VIII. Religious Interest Among the Mohammedans. (109)
Chapter IX. Obstacles Removed, and Opposition Overruled. (117)
   Civil Oppression (118)
   Papal Influence (119)
   Nestorian Massacres (121)
   Restrictions From Government (125)
   Russian Influence (128)
   Early Death of Missionaries (132)
Chapter X. Conclusion. (143)

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