History and Geography
Chapter 8 The Twentieth Century
The Twentieth Century
The Beginning of the Twentieth Century
At the beginning of the twentieth century the geographical area where the Christians of the Church of the East lived was limited principally to the mountain massif of Hakkari, situated today on the frontiers of south-east Turkey and northern Iraq. Apart from this area, leaving aside India, only the regions of Urmia (in the Persian Empire) and of Amadiya and Van and their environs (in the Ottoman Empire) held a substantial number of Assyrian Christians. In the Middle East in 1913, that is to say, on the eve of the First World War, their numbers are reckoned as follows: a little over 60,000 in the Ottoman Empire and 30,000 in the Persian Empire, a total of between 100,000 and 120,000 people, at that time still a little higher than the number of Christians of the Chaldean Catholic Church, who are estimated to have been about 100,000 in 1913. Just before the First World War the ecclesiastical centre of the Church of the East was still situated in the village of Kochanes (Hakkari), where the residence of the patriarch lay, on the south-east frontier of the Ottoman Empire (modern Turkey). On the eve of the First World War there were at most eight bishops of the Church of the East.
With regard to the internal politics of the Ottoman Empire, the beginning of the twentieth century was...
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