The Western Christian Presence in the Russias and Qājār Persia, c.1760–c.1870 


In The Western Christian Presence in the Russias and Qājār Persia, c.1760–c.1870, Thomas O'Flynn vividly paints the life and times of missionary enterprises in early nineteenth-century Russia and Persia at a moment of immense change when Tsarist Russia embarked on an expansionist campaign reaching to the Caucasus. Simultaneously he charts the relationship between the new Persian dynasty of the Qājārs and missionary activity on the part of European and American missionaries. This book reconstructs that world from a predominantly religious perspective. It recounts the sustaining ideals as well as the everyday struggles of the western missionaries, Protestant (Scottish, Basel and American Congregationalist) and Catholic (Jesuit and Vincentian). It looks at the reactions of diverse tribal peoples, the Tatars of the North Caucasus, the Kabardians and Circassians. Persia was the ultimate goal of these missionaries, which they eventually reached in the 1820s. Altogether this study throws light on the troubled course of history in West Asia and provides the background to politico-religious conflicts in Chechnya and Persia that persist to the present day.
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Biographical Note

The Revd Dr Thomas S.R. O'Flynn OP, STLect. et Lic. (Rome), Hist. Eccles. Lic. (Rome), Ph.D. (Dubl.), D.Phil. (Oxon.), is a Catholic scholar priest in the Dominican tradition. He first went to Iran in 1970 and was resident in Tehran before and during the first phase of the Islamic revolution (1979). He has since visited the country several times. He is the author of The Irish Dominicans, 1536-1640 (Dublin 1992) and is a contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and The Dictionary of Irish Biography.

Review Quotes

"[...] for the period prior to 1870, Thomas O'Flynn has written the definitive history of western missionaries in Iran and the Caucasus and for many years to come it will remain the authoritative text on the subject." – Willem Floor, MD, Bethesda