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228                      JOUENEYS IN PERSIA                     NOTES

Apart from the results of Christian teaching and
example, there can be, I think, no doubt that the resi-
dence of righteous foreigners in Urmi for over half a
century has had a most beneficial effect on the condition
of the Nestorians. At the time when the first American
missionaries settled in Urmi the yoke of Islam was
hardly bearable. The Christians were oppressed and
plundered, their daughters were taken by violence, and
they were scarcely allowed to practise the little religion
left to them. The Persian Government, sensitive as it
is to European opinion, has gradually remedied a state of
matters upon which the reports of the missionaries were
justly to be dreaded, and at the present time the Christians
of Urmi and the adjacent plain have comparatively very
little to complain of.

At the same time the Syriac Church was at its lowest
ebb, absolutely sunk in ignorance and superstition.
It had no exposition of the Bible, and all worship was
in the ancient Syriac tongue, then as now " not under-
standed of the people." It had no books or any ability
to establish schools. Bibles were scarce, and a single copy
of the Psalms could not be bought for less than 32s.
The learned nuns and deaconesses of the early days were
without successors. Women were entirely neglected, and
it was regarded as improper for the younger among them
to be seen at church. In Urmi not a woman could read,
and in the whole BTestorian region they were absolutely
illiterate, with the exception of the Patriarch's sister and
two or three nuns.

mission as teachers, preachers, or pastors, and more than half of these
continue, and are members of our Synod. In some places the Reform has
gathered nearly all the population within its influence. In many places
it is not unusual to find half the population in our winter services. On
the other hand, there are many places where the ecclesiastics are immoral
and opposed, and ignorance and vice abound, and the Reform moves very