In the years before the First World War the Church of England maintained a mission of help to the Assyrian Church of the East (popularly known as the Nestorian Church) in its then homeland, a corner of eastern Turkey and north-western Persia. The mission's ideal was to restore this body to its ancient vitality and its place as an independent branch of the true church. The mission faced many problems. At home there was the difficulty of justifying the support of a 'heretical' church. In the field, the confidence of the Assyrians proved difficult to gain, especially in competition with other missions: French Catholic and American Presbyterian. Still, it had notable accomplishments. Some of the missionaries were scholars, like A. J. Maclean, who edited and printed the ancient Syriac liturgies of the Church for the first time. Others were diplomats, like W. A. Wigram, who laboured to establish a basis for intercommunion between the two churches. Archbishop Benson, the founder, strictly ruled out any proselytizing to the Anglican church, and in this respect his Assyrian mission stands scrutiny in modern eyes.
Publisher: Oxford University Press