URMIA ORTHODOKSETA

URMIA ORTHODOKSETA “Orthodox Urmia” (Russ. Pravoslavnaya Urmia; Figure 1), a monthly periodical published in Urmia by the Russian Orthodox Church Mission from 1904 to 1914, with one interruption. Publication ceased in 1914 due to World War I. The Mission had been active in Urmia, and attracting converts among the Assyrians, since 1898; it came to an end in 1918, and the Soviet government gave the Mission printing press to the Persian state (Yonan, p. 25).

Separate editions of Urmia Orthodokseta—in Assyrian Neo-Aramaic and in Russsian—were printed, in order to serve the needs of both the growing number of Assyrians who were adopting the Russian Orthodox denomination and attending Russian-sponsored schools, and the increasing number of czarist commercial, diplomatic, and eventually military personnel in the area. From 1905-6, the magazine published eight bilingual issues. After a pause during the period of the Constitutional Revolution when the Russian presence became more suspect, it resumed publication in 1911 after the arrival of the Russian military.

The Russian language edition appeared in 300-500 copies, while the Assyrian Neo-Aramaic one circulated in 600 copies. Subscribers were found in Urmia and its network of satellite towns and villages, but also in Tbilisi and Erevan and other parts of the Russian empire where Assyrians from Urmia had settled. In 1904, the editor of the Neo-Aramaic section was Shlimon Isho d-Salamas (1884-1951). The annual subscription rates were one tuman in Persia, and two rubles in Russia.  

During the early period of publication, the Russian and the Neo-Aramaic editions contained the same articles, which were on topics of general interest. Later, they diverged: the Russian edition printed material on the geography and ethnography of the Assyrians, while the Neo-Aramaic articles became primarily religious in character, aiming at the expansion of Russian Orthodoxy. The latter included translations of the lives of saints and martyrs and church leaders, such as Mar Rabbula, the early 5th-century theologian and bishop of Edessa; the translations were done locally by the Russian Orthodox Church.  Some issues of Urmia Orthodokseta also promoted the reigning czar of Russia, Nicholas II (r. 1894-1917), as a benevolent ruler.

Bibliography:

Edward G. Browne, The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia, London, 1904, p. 39, no. 42. 

Moḥammad Ṣadr Hāšemi, Tāriḵ-e jarāʾed o majallāt-e Irān I, Isfahan, 1948, pp. 136-37. 

Gabriele Yonan, Journalismus bei den Assyrern: Ein Überblick von seinen Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, Augsburg, 1985, pp. 24-25.

(Lina Yakubova)

Cite this article:

Lina Yakubova, “URMIA ORTHODOKSETA,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2016, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/urmia-orthodokseta (accessed on 25 July 2016).