Book Review: A Muslim who became a Christian: The Story of John Avetaranian

A Muslim who became a Christian: The Story of John Avetaranian (born Muhammad Shukri Effendi), second edition, by John Avetaranian, translated by John Bechard (Sandy, UK: AuthorsOnline 2003)

My review of this book has recently been published in the International Journal of Frontier Missiology, Vol 30:1, Spring 2013. The review can be downloaded from their website.


The Development of the Holy Land, the Status Quo and the Crimean War

The Crimean War is not generally considered to be particularly important in the popular mind. Indeed, many people have never even heard about it. But for the Holy Land it was very important:

While this war, which mainly took place on the northern and western borders of the Ottoman Empire, did not lead to the Empire’s disintegration, the victorious powers – the French and English – could expand their foothold inside the holy places. The Ottomans were on the side of the French and the English, but they paid a heavy price as a result of European pressure. The Ottomans were forced to allow Christians and Jews to buy estates and own lands. It was then that in Jerusalem, Nazareth an Bethlehem a great many new institutions and orders established a presence. […]

The introduction of Western institutions was facilitated by administrative reforms. […] As for the religious places, the Crimean War led to an arrangement, called the “status quo”, which minutely detailed the relations between the different churches at the holy places, including the demarcation of territories, the possession of keys, and cleaning arrangements. This status quo has henceforth been confirmed by the successive powers in Bethlehem. (page 46)

This is from a rather obscure book I procured in Bethlehem: Bethlehem Community Book (Bethlehem: Arab Educational Institute, 1999) No author or editor is listed.