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Conflict, Conquest, and ConversionTwo Thousand Years of Christian Missions in the Middle East$
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Reeva Spector Simon and Eleanor Tejirian

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231138659

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231138659.001.0001

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Missionaries and European Diplomatic Competition

Missionaries and European Diplomatic Competition

(p.94) Five Missionaries and European Diplomatic Competition
Conflict, Conquest, and Conversion

Eleanor H. Tejirian

Reeva Spector Simon

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses religious and diplomatic rivalries in the Middle East. It begins in the mid-nineteenth century when Russia asserted its role as protector of Eastern Christians—a claim that complicated an already tense situation within the Greek Orthodox community in Jerusalem. Although the Greek Orthodox community was one of the three major Christian communities in the city (along with Catholics and Armenians), it had no powerful and active foreign protector such as the French in the case of the Catholics (or Latins, as they were called) and the British for the Protestants. The Ottomans played off Greeks and Catholics against each other as each community vied for custody of the Holy Sites until the situation came to a head during the nineteenth century. Concern over Latin usurpation of Orthodox rights in Jerusalem and the arrival of the Protestant missionaries in the Holy Land moved the czarist government to act to preserve the integrity of the Orthodox community. Not to be outdone, the French reasserted themselves as administrators of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem.

Keywords:   Russia, Eastern Christians, Greek Orthodox community, Jerusalem, France

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