Archbishop's Mission to the Assyrian Christians
Name of creator(s):
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop's Mission to the Assyrian Christians arose from an 1837 expedition to the Euphrates Valley by the Royal Geographical Society, which led to the further joint expedition by the Society and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Their ensuing report, along with appeals from the local Nestorian Christians, prompted the sending of a missionary to Kurdistan in 1881.
This missionary work was put on a more permanent footing in 1885-1886. However, it had no constitution or regular organization, but rather was carried out under the auspices of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Missionary work was intended to regenerate and reform the Assyrian Christians, focusing on the education of both clergy and laity. A college for priests and deacons was established, as were five high school and forty village schools. In addition, the missionaries acted as ecclesiastical judges regarding the Canon Law of the Chaldean Church, and also oversaw the first ever printings of early Assyrian liturgies. A committee associated with the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States also aided the mission.
In 1939 the Archbishop's Mission to the Assyrian Christians was incorporated into the Jerusalem and East Mission.
Custodial history: Until Lang's primacy most of the papers were kept separately from the archbishop's other correspondence; they were brought together as one sub-fonds during the sorting of the modern archbishops' papers during the 1980s.
Immediate source of acquisition: Transfer from Lambeth Palace with archbishops' papers.
CONTENT AND STRUCTURE
Scope and content/abstract:
The archive consists of 24 volumes of correspondence concerning the mission (1879-1931). The correspondence is that of the Archbishops of Canterbury under whose auspices the mission fell during this period (namely, Edward White Benson, Randall Thomas Davidson, Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archibald Campbell Tait, Frederick Temple), principally with the secretary of the Mission, and with the missionaries. The collection is not the archive of the Mission itself, the early records of which have not survived.
System of arrangement: Chronologically.
ACCESS AND USE
Language: Chiefly English.
Conditions governing access: A full reader's ticket is required.
Conditions governing reproduction:
Finding aids: Typescript list (1990).
Related material: Lambeth Palace Library also holds MS. 3982, which is to be added in to the collection, as well as the archive of the Jerusalem and the East Mission Fund (MSS 2327-2340).
Edward White Benson, An Address delivered ... at the Farewell Service in Lambeth Palace Chapel on ... June 2, 1886, previous to the departure of the Revs. Canon Maclean and W. H. Browne for the work of the Archbishop's Mission to the Assyrian Christians. (London: Assyrian Church Fund, 1886).
Note: Compiled using:
Date(s) of descriptions: 22nd March 2002.