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Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. XIX, M.

2, October 1968

The Publication and Distribution of

Karamanli Texts by the British and
Foreign Bible Society Before l8$0, II

T he Rev. H. D. Leeves, recently appointed as the British and Foreign

Bible Society's first full time agent in the Levant, arrived in
Constantinople in January 1821. Before this time the Society's
interests in Turkey had been promoted at different times by the Rev.
Robert Pinkerton1; the Rev. Henry Lindsay,2 Chaplain to the Embassy in
Constantinople; and the Rev. James Connor,3 an agent of the Church
Missionary Society. Within a short time of his arrival Leeves was reporting
to the Committee in London on the position with regard to the Society's
proposed edition of the New Testament in Karamanlidika, that is, in
Turkish printed with Greek characters. In a letter of 8 February 1821 he
reported that 'the transcription of the Turkish Testament, in Greek
characters, has advanced very little. This is upon the whole fortunate, and
I think it will be best to suspend it entirely until the corrected edition is
ready. The Secretary to the Patriarch (i.e., Alexander Petropolis), who has
undertaken this work, has so little time to spare, that I believe it will be
necessary to look out for another person to perform it, when the amended
copy is ready to be put into his hands'. 4
The 'corrected' edition to which Leeves referred was a proposed
correction of the Kieffer/Bobowski edition of the Turkish New Testament
of 1819. Despite Ruffin's assurances to Pinkerton as to its general intelligi-
bility, the edition had attracted criticism on the grounds that its style was
too literary and contained an excessive number of Arabic and Persian
words. Its circulation was temporarily suspended while the opinion of
leading European orientalists and those concerned with work on the
Karamanli edition, including Petropolis and Leeves, was sought as to its
suitability and comprehensibility.5 A special meeting of the Sub-Com-
mittee for Printing and General Purposes met on 15 December 1823 to
consider these opinions and it was decided to lift the temporary suspension

For Pinkerton, see above in this JOURNAL, xix. 58-63.
See R. Walsh, A Residence at Constantinople, London 1836, i. 243.
See the Missionary Register for i8ig, 407-g.
Letter of 8 February 1821, B.F.B.S., 17th Report, 1821, 66-7.
The opinions of those consulted are given in B.F.B.S., 20th Report, 1824, 126-55.
of Kieffer's translation. The controversy did not cease, however, with
this decision. The Rev. Ebenezer Henderson, who had first objected to the
circulation of the Kieffer/Bobowski edition, engaged in a spirited polemic
on the subject with the Rev. Professor S. Lee, Professor of Arabic at
Cambridge University. Their pamphlet controversy is of some interest
for the history of Karamanli literature for, in defending the Kieffer/Bobow-
ski version, Lee appealed to the authority of 'a Turkish translation of the
Psalms, made by Seraphim the Metropolitan of Angouri, which was printed
at Venice in Greek characters, in 1810, with a preface . . . addressed . . . to
all the orthodox Christians in Anatolia . . .'. 2 This had been brought to
Lee's notice by the Rev. G. C. Renouard, Arabic Reader at Cambridge
University and formerly chaplain at Smyrna. Lee believed that Orthodox
publications, such as Seraphim's Psalter, written or translated expressly
for the Karamanlides should be regarded as a linguistic standard for the
Society's own publications. As he not unreasonably claimed, 'if it can be
shewn that they (i.e. 'the Christians in Turkey') have adopted the same
renderings with Ali Bey, that circumstance may, perhaps, be considered
as decisive . . .'. 3 To this Henderson retorted that 'it was well he (i.e. Lee)
inserted the doubtful particle "perhaps" in this place; for assuredly, what-
ever may be his individual opinion on the subject, such of our readers as
are at all acquainted with the state of Christian knowledge among the
Greeks of the present day, will be disposed to consider the practice of
"Turkish Christians" as entitled to very little weight in deciding this, or
any other question connected with Biblical science'.4 An instance of
Henderson's numerous objections is his questioning of the use of Kuds-u
Serif for Jerusalem. Lee in reply convincingly demonstrated that any other
expression would scarcely be intelligible to the great majority of Turkish
speakers, and his belief in this matter was correct, for Kuds-ii Serif was the
expression in current use among the Karamanlides. 5 Henderson's logic
may have been devious yet it is clear that Kieffer's version was written in a
rather elevated style, reflecting the language of the capital rather than
that of the provinces. Ensuring that the language of its Karamanli trans-
lations was sufficiently 'vulgar' to be intelligible to the uneducated re-
mained one of the Society's most pressing problems, yet this incident
B.F.B.S., 20th Report, 1824, 125.
This was the 1810 edition of Seraphim of Antalya's translation of the Psalter:
*Fa\rrjpi.ov AafUS Ilanatrax )3e i7aya/xire/>lv TeomxaT\api\6ci> irepcmep, Venice l8lO.
S. Lee, Remarks on Dr. Henderson's Appeal to the Bible Society^ on the subject of the Turkish
version of the New Testament printed at Paris in i8ig . . . Cambridge 1824, 30.
E. Henderson, The Turkish New Testament incapable of defence, and the true principles of
Biblical translation vindicated: in Answer to Professor Lee's 'Remarks on Dr. Henderson's Appeal
to the Bible Society . . .', London 1825, 80-1. See also Henderson's initial protest, An Appeal
to the members of the British and Foreign Bible Society on the subject of the Turkish New Testament
printed at Paris in i8ig; containing a view of its history, an exposure of its errors, and palpable
proofs of the necessity of its suppression, London 1824, and Lee's final rejoinder, Some addi-
tional remarks on Dr. Henderson's Appeal to the Bible Society ..., Cambridge 1826.
See for example the title pages of the 1758, 1780 and 1799 editions of Seraphim of
Antalya's IIpooKWT]Tapu>v and the 'AiravBioiia -rijs XpionaviKijs ntorews, Constantinople
1803, 81, where Anthimos, Patriarch ofJerusalem, is described as Koir ^ T l i
does indicate something of the care which the Society took to ensure that
its translations should be widely understood by all elements in society and
not merely by the educated.
Leeves's activities with regard to the proposed Modern Greek and
Karamanli translations were temporarily suspended as a result of the
disturbances consequent on the outbreak of the Greek War of Indepen-
dence. From August 1821 until May 1822 he retired to the less turbulent
atmosphere of Odessa, entrusting the draft of the archimandrite Hilarion's
Modern Greek translation of the New Testament to the safe-keeping of
Lord Strangford, British Ambassador to the Porte. Among the many
attacks on Greek life and property in Constantinople following the rising
in the Morea was the breaking up of the patriarchal printing press. When
the Rev. Robert Walsh, Chaplain to the British Embassy in Constanti-
nople, visited the wreckage he found sheets of the second volume of the
KifiujTos rrjs iXXrjviKrjs yXajocrqs . . ., a massive Greek lexicon, which was in
the press at the time of the attack, floating in a water tank. 'Notwith-
standing', he wrote, 'the dismal solemnity of all the circumstances, the
Greek who attended to show us the state of things could not help smiling
at the idea of the Turks floating the Ark in the water'. 1 In the summer of
1825 Leeves undertook a short trip to Iznik (Nicaea) and Bursa, accom-
panied by Walsh and Benjamin Barker. The archbishop of Bursa told
them that of the twelve small towns or villages in his diocese with sub-
stantial Orthodox populations four, near the sea of Marmora, were Greek-
speaking, while the remaining eight were Turkish-speaking.2 'He seemed
to lament', Barker wrote, 'that the Holy Scriptures were not in the Vulgar
Turkish with Greek characters; and assured us that he would with pleasure
aid us in disposing of the Sacred Writings, should they ever be printed in
the language known to his flock'.3
From Bursa Barker went on alone to Caesarea. In the company of
three Armenian bishops from the monastery of Vank Surb Karabet near
Erkerra, he went to meet the Hegoumenos of a Greek monastery which
was about half an hour away.4 In addition to the Hegoumenos, the
monastery contained three Greek-speaking priests. 'The Legomenos
(sic)', recorded Barker, 'was kind in his manner: he listened with pleasure
to all I had to say of the Bible Society, and his subsequent questions
evinced the deep interest he had in the subject; he expressed his readiness
R. Walsh, op. cit., i. 324.
According to F. W. Hasluck there were eleven inland Greek villages near Bursa at
the turn of the present century, four Greek-speaking and seven Turkish-speaking; see
Cyzicus, Cambridge 1910, 148. B. Adamantiadis records that, in the years before the
Exchange of Populations, nine of the thirteen Orthodox communities in the Eparchy of
Bursa were Greek-speaking, the rest Turkish-speaking; 'H 'EicK\r)oia<mKTi 'E
Ilpovtrqs, MiKpaatariKa XpoviKa, viii (1959), IOO.
Extract from Barker's Journal, B.F.B.S., 20th Report, 1824, 8 o -
This must have been 'H Movfj TOIV Ta£iapx&v. See Kyrillos 'Iaropudj p y p ^ ,
Constantinople 1815, 12; Moysis of Adana, MovTevtfa IXi^plv IVC/XOAT?, Smyrna 1836,
154; W. J. Hamilton, Researches in Asia Minor, Pontus, and Armenia . . ., London 1842, ii.
264—5; and I. Ioannidis, Kaurapaa Mi)rp(moXiT\^pl, Constantinople 1896, 66.
to promote the distribution as far as his charge extended, but in such a
case an edition in Vulgar Turkish with Greek characters, was absolutely-
necessary. I mentioned the probability of this being effected, and in the
meantime promised to send him some Greek Testaments for the use of
those who understand that language'. 1 From Caesarea, Barker travelled
to Konya (Iconium), where he found sixty Turkish-speaking Orthodox
families and two priests. The local Greek and Armenian clergy were
emphatic that only the Scriptures in 'the Vulgar Turkish in the character
of their respective nations' would be of any use in that district.2 He also
learnt that the metropolitan of Iconium resided at Nigde rather than
Konya. 8 From Konya he returned, via Afyon Kara Hisar, to Smyrna.
In a letter of 10 January 1824 Leeves wrote that he had at last come
across a copy of the 'A£,rj£ ''' AnoaToKoaXap-qv a^Xepr) jSe ixexTovirXepi] (Venice
1811 and 1818), which Pinkerton had seen in the Crimea. 'It is not a
complete translation of the Books of the New Testament, but of those
portions which are read in the services of the Greek church. The style is,
however, well adapted to the Greeks of Anatolia; and it will, doubtless,
be of great service in the work in view'.4 Two months later the brother of
the Armenian patriarch, Karabet III, in the course of discussion with
Leeves on the proposed edition of the New Testament in Turkish with
Armenian characters, said to Leeves's considerable surprise, that as the
Bible Society had already embarked on a Karamanli version, he thought
that a 'double trouble and expense would be useless, that the translation
which would be acceptable to the Greeks would be equally so, with the
alteration of a few words, to themselves, and that he thought the best plan
would be to get this work executed by a Greek, and transcribed from Greek
into Armenian... allowing very candidly that it was more easy to find a
learned man among the Greeks, than among themselves, and that the
translations if made from the Greek must agree with their own Armenian
version, because the latter was also originally made from the same . . .'.
Leeves added that 'it is true, indeed,. . . that there are some Ecclesiastical
words, which the Armenians borrow from their own language, and the
Greeks from theirs, but in fact, the Turkish dialect they both make use of
is, with these exceptions, precisely the same, and with the change of per-
haps fifty words in the New Testament, what suits the one will also suit the
other'. 5 When, however, Leeves showed the patriarch a specimen of
Theoctistus's work, the latter urged that the Armenian-Turkish version
be based on the St. Petersburg edition of the Armenian New Testament
which had been published in 1817.
B.F.B.S., 20th Report, 1824, 83.
See above, 66.
B.F.B.S., ibid., 83. This move of residence reflected the much larger number of
Orthodox Christians to be found in the region of Nigde. See N. S. Rizos, ifawmzSoKucd,
Constantinople 1856, 102, and D. P. Phosteris, To 'Apafidviov 'ApaficniujmKa IJapa/ivBia,
MiKpaaiariKa XpoviKa, V (1952), 133-
* B.F.B.S., ibid., 73.
Letter of 10 March 1824 in T. Pell Platt's MS., 'An account of all the translations
Shortly after this meeting Leeves wrote to the archbishop of Bursa
asking that Theoctistus, priest and schoolmaster of Mihahc, whom the
archbishop had recommended to him as a suitable translator of the
Karamanli New Testament, should prepare an example of his work by
translating the Sermon on the Mount, using as a basis the Bobowski/Kieffer
text. 1 On receipt of the requested specimen he made preparations to leave
for Bursa and Mihalic., where he arrived in May 1824.2 In Bursa he again
met the archbishop of Bursa, who told him that he had that morning
preached a sermon in which he had told his congegation of 'the benefits
they were soon likely to enjoy through our means of having the New
Testament translated into their own language'. 3 When their conversation
turned to the Society's proposed translation, the archbishop 'called up two
of his unlettered rustic flock, and read to them a portion of the proposed
translation, one of whom appeared very tolerably to make out the mean-
ing'. 4 From Bursa, Leeves went to Mihahc. to meet Theoctistus, whom
he found to have 'the eye and look of a scholar', and to discuss arrange-
ments for the proposed translation. It was agreed that Theoctistus should
be paid 3,000 piastres for the translation of the entire New Testament,
each book to be sent to Leeves as it was completed. The agreement drawn
up between Leeves and Theoctistus was attested by the archbishop of
Bursa and a copy sent to the Committee in London, Leeves adding in his
report that he had 'no doubt that the name of Theoctistus, which is well
known throughout Anatolia, will be a strong recommendation to it'. 5
Theoctistus lost little time in getting down to work and in July wrote
to Leeves that the Gospel of St. Matthew was nearly completed. This
Gospel Leeves originally planned to print separately, 'as a specimen, by
which we shall effectually ascertain the merits of the translation, and see
whether any alteration will be requisite for the general edition of the New
Testament'. 6 Leeves later abandoned this idea, 'both that an opportunity
may be given of revision and also that in these delicate times we may secure
the finishing of the work, lest possibly by a premature publication of a part,
obstacles might be placed in the way of its completion by our adversaries'.7
Leeves's fear that obstacles might be placed in the way of publication
circulated by the Society, stating the reasons which led to their adoption, or the history
of the translating and editing of those which were new and revised versions, viii. Turkish
Armenian and Turco-Greek', p. 7. Platt included in his account many extracts of letters
not 1published in full in the Society's reports.
Letter of 25 March 1824 in Platt, 'Turco-Greek', 2.
Letter of 10 May 1824 in Platt, ibid., 2. The Orthodox community at Mihahg was
Turkish speaking, see, for example, A. D. Mordtmann, Anatolien, Skizzen und Reisebriefe
miss Kleinasien (1850-18^), ed. F. Babinger, Hannover 1925, 12.
Letter of 24 June 1824 in B.F.B.S., 21st Report, 1825, 59.
B.F.B.S., ibid., 59.
B.F.B.S., 21st Report, 1825, 61. Theoctistus was very likely the © ' COKTMTTOS
SiSdaKaXos', translator of the Mexpovn Nucq<j>6pos Qeor6iapn]v, Constantinople 1817.
Letter of 23 July 1824 in Platt, 'Turco-Greek', 3. The first part of it is published in
21st Report, 62.
Letter of 23 November 1824 in Platt, ibid., 4. The first part of it is published in
B.F.B.S., 21st Report, 63.
proved unfounded, although under imperial decrees of 1817 and 1824 the
circulation of the Bible within the Ottoman Empire was forbidden.1 The
decree ofJune 1824 was published by the Rev. R. Walsh as an appendix to
his account of his residence in Constantinople.2 Provincial governors were
ordered to 'snatch them (i.e. copies of the Scriptures) from the hands of
whomsoever they shall be found with, to cast them into the flames, and
reduce them to ashes'. According to Dwight the second decree ordered the
burning of the Bible on the grounds that its circulation was inimical to the
interests of the Latin Church, although provincial governors largely ignored
the decree, the only action taken being the arrest of two Protestant
missionaries in Syria and the temporary seizure of their books. Both
decrees seem, in practice, to have been a dead letter from the start. But if
the Ottoman authorities placed no serious obstacle in the way of the
Society, the circulation of Bible translations and religious tracts did in the
1830s provoke violent reaction on the part of the Orthodox clergy. The
Rev. J. A. Jetter, the subject of much controversy, was from 1830 until
1840 the agent in Smyrna of the Church Missionary Society and of the
Religious Tract Society, which had been founded in 1799 and distributed
religious literature reflecting 'pure, good natured Christianity . . .' in
enormous quantities in a wide variety of languages, including Karaman-
lidika. In 1836 he wrote the following anguished letter to the Committee
of the Religious Tract Society: 'You will be sorry to hear that in many
places they have destroyed every book they could lay hold of, the Holy
Scriptures, as well as the rest! No doubt, the Lord will inquire into this
ungodly proceeding. At Brusa, in ancient Bithynia, they burnt alone up-
wards of six hundred volumes—Scriptures and others—in the churchyard,
and this was done by a priest, at the time when the people left the church!
They were and still are quite mad against us. We cannot distribute any
Greek books whatsoever'. This letter was published with the comment 'the
information received from this station shows the awful enmity of the Greek
priests against all the efforts made for diffusing truth'. 3 A similar fate
attended the Modern Greek New Testament, 'H Kcavr] Aiad-qicr) . . . fiera^>-
paadelaa els TTe^rjv <f>piaiv Sia TTJV KOIVTJV <I)<f>e\eiav TWV XpioTiavaiv (London
1703). This was an edition by Seraphim, 'an unfrocked priest of Mytilene',
of Maximos Margounios Kalliopolitis's New Testament (Geneva 1638),
See H. O. Dwight, Die amerikanischen Missionen in der asiatischen Tiirkei (in English)
appended to R. Oberhummer and H. Zimmerer, Dutch Syrien und Kleinasien, Berlin 1899,
451 2and G. Jaschke, 'Die christliche Mission in der Tiirkei', Saeculum, vii (1956), 70.
R. Walsh, op. cit., ii. 501, Appendix 6. See also H. Southgate, Narrative of a tour
through Armenia, Kurdistan, Persia and Mesopotamia, London 1840, i. 140.
See 38th Annual Report of the Religious Tract Society, London 1837, 101. Jetter
engaged in a lively controversy with the OrthodoxEcclesiastical Committee in Smyrna. See
t h e 'AXXyXoypcupla rijj ev Zfivpvrj 'EKKXrjoiaonKfjs ' EmrpoTrrjs /xera TOC airroBi aireorahiievov napa rljs
EvcryyeXitajs 'Eraipias Kai *E<f>6pov Trjs crxoXfjs K. Fdrep a n d t h e 'AnavTyais els Tas K<XT "AyyXmv
Kal 'AyyXafiepiKavwv COTOOTOXCDV irapccniptfoeis TTJS iv Zp.vpvrj 'EKKXrjmaanicijs 'EmTpoirijs . . .,
both published in Smyrna in 1836. In the latter Jetter again refers to the burning of
'copies of the word of God'. His confidence in the Tightness of his own cause was supreme;
he ended a letter to the Committee with a Biblical warning, 'Lest haply ye be found
even to fight against God'.
which was published under the auspices of the Society for the Propagation
of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Copies of this edition were anathematised
and burnt in the courtyard of the patriarchate in Constantinople in 1704,
'post anathema Vulcano traditam'. 1
In 1836 the oecumenical patriarch, Gregory VI, issued a violent
denunciation of the activities of Protestant missionaries in the Orthodox
world in a synodal letter signed, among others, by the patriarch of
Jerusalem, Anthimos, and the metropolitans of Ephesus, Cyzicus, Chalce-
don, Heraclea, Bursa and Philadelphia. The more vivid passages in the
letter were published in an English translation shortly after publication
by William Cutter. The section, entitled 'Regarding the heretics of the
present day, and their machinations' (Ilepi ru>v or)fiepi.v6jt> alpertKiov, KO.1
TWV iiripovXcov avT&v), castigates the 'Luthero-Calvinists', who 'have been
striving now in these latter times in every way and by every means to
infuse the poisonous venom of their heresies into the ears of the Orthodox,
to pollute our spotless faith, and to tear in pieces the flock of Christ. That
they may accomplish their ends, they announce the diffusion of light; they
feign philanthropy; they wander abroad, now as travelers, now as
merchants, now as physicians who receive no pay, and now as missionaries
and teachers. They expend large sums for antiquities of no note; they heal
the sick gratuitously; they teach without pay; and all in order to catch
the good will of the orthodox, and contaminate the doctrines received from
their fathers. They go to great expense for the printing of books filled with
these blasphemies, and now directly and now indirectly, attacking the
heavenly doctrines and precepts, traditions and customs of our Holy
Orthodox Church. These they give gratis or sell at a very low price, under
the pretence of doing good, but in reality, that they may do harm, by
implanting in the hearts of the Orthodox, and especially of their tender
offspring, their lawless blasphemies . . . ' . The missionaries themselves are
described as 'Satanic Heresiarchs, who in these last days have reappeared
from the caverns of Hell, and the depths of the Northern Ocean (rov fivBov
TOV fiopelov (VKeavov avafavevres aaraviKol aipecnip^at)',2
By October 1824, Leeves had heard that the Committee approved of
his agreement with Theoctistus, who had also sent him the completed ver-
sions of the first two Gospels and 'a preface stating the nature, object, and
labours of the Bible Society, and that the work in question is their boon
to the Christians of Anatolia, adding an encomium on the Holy Scriptures,

Alexander Helladius, Statuspraesens Ecclesiae Graecae, Niirnberg ?, Altdorf ? 1714, 247.
W. Cutter, Missionary Efforts of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in History of American
Missions to the Heathen from their commencement to the present time, Worcester, Mass. 1840, 585.
The passage is also quoted in T. Saloutos, 'American Missionaries in Greece: 1820-1869',
Church History, xxiv (1955), 166-7. T h e original text is published in M. Gedeon, Kavovucou.
AutT<i£as. . ., Constantinople 1889, ii. 261-3. This synodal letter (Gedeon, ibid., 248-
280) was published separately in two editions, Constantinople 1836 and Athens 1837.
Other patriarchal decrees against Protestant missionary effort are to be found in
Gedeon, ibid., 197-202 and 287-92.
3—J.E.H. 177
and an exhortation to read and study them'. 1 On 23 November 1824
Leeves was able to report that 'I am happy to say that the Turkish Testa-
ment in Greek characters is making good progress. Theoctistus has already
sent me the four Gospels, and promises that by March the whole shall be
finished, when he proposes coming to Constantinople. In the meantime I
shall give the Gospels into the hands of Mr. Petropolis, who is considered
the best scholar among the Greeks at present at Constantinople, and when
Theoctistus arrives, the corrections which are thought necessary can be
made, and the copy finally prepared for press'.2 In April 1825 Theoctistus,
bringing with him the remainder of his translation, arrived in Constanti-
nople so as to be on hand to superintend the projected edition. Initially he
accepted the charge of a church near the patriarchate of Jerusalem, 3
although he relinquished this later in the year to devote himself full time
to the work in hand, settling in a small house he had purchased in Pera.
In June of the same year Leeves wrote that, owing to popular demand,
he had raised the planned total of the edition of the New Testament from
2,000 to 3,000 copies, with an additional 1,000 copies of the Acts and
Epistles, for use 'as a school book'.4 The printing of the work was delayed
by the outbreak of one of Constantinople's endemic fires, which threatened
De Castro's press in Galata, and caused the types to be broken up in case
their removal should prove necessary. The edition, Panm 'I'iaa iX Meai-^v
"Ay^i T^eSiSivlv yiovvavl XioavivBav roiipK Aicraviva Tepr^ov/xeai, was, how-
ever, completed in 1826.5 This 1826 edition of the New Testament was the
first serious attempt accurately to represent, by a combination of Greek
characters and special diacritical points, the sounds of Turkish.6 This
attempt was not entirely satisfactory and the system was further improved
in the Society's edition of the entire Bible (Syra and Athens 1836-8). The
1838 New Testament contains, after the table of contents, a key to the
reading of the special letters and signs employed (Xap<j>Xaprjv Trd^TjXaprjvr)
ve rap^a. oKovfj-aK Ir^ovv rapuj>). By this time the Society had developed a
fairly sophisticated transcription system, using a modified Greek alphabet.
It appears that the separate copies of the Acts and Epistles were ready
before the complete New Testament, for Benjamin Barker wrote in a letter

Letter of 8 October 1824, in Platt, 'Turco-Greek', 4. Leeves added that this, of
could not be printed.
B.F.B.S., 21st Report, 1825, 3.
Letters of 25 April, 10 June, 25 October 1825, in Platt, ibid., 5.
B.F.B.S., 22nd Report, 1826, 99.
This was the Bible Society's first Karamanli edition. There was no edition of the
Psalms published under its auspices in 1822, as has sometimes been suggested; see, for
instance, A. A. Cooper, The Story of the (Osmanli) Turkish version with a brief account of
related versions, London 1901, 43, 58 and S. Salaville and E. Dalleggio, Karamanlidika,
Bibliographie analytique d'ouvrages en langue turque imprimis en caracteres grecs, i (1584-1850),
Athens 1958, 202.
See J. Eckmann, Tunan harfli Karamanli imldsi hakkinda in Turk dili ve tarihi hakkinda
arastirmalar, ed. H. Eren and T. Halasi Kun, Ankara 1950, 29-30 and the same author's
'Anadolu Karamanli agizlanna ait arastirmalar, I Phonetica', Ankara Oniversitesi Dil ve
Tarih-Cografva Fakiiltesi Dergisi, viii (1950), 172.
of 2 September 1826 that he had given 20 copies of the Karamanli Acts
and Epistles to Theoctistus and his pupils in the school at 'Mighalitch'
(Mihalic): 'they were delighted with the Acts of the Apostles, which were
in a language they could understand, for the Greeks there speak only
Turkish, and were very thankful for them. They told me that 150 to 200
copies of the New Testament, in that language, might be easily disposed of
at Mighalitch, and many thousands in the interior of Asia Minor. As that
edition will be ready in the course of two months, I anticipate soon much
interesting work in this neighbourhood'.1
Barker was, of course, the Bible Society's agent in Smyrna, and the
Society's agents, perhaps inevitably, seem to have given unduly optimistic
reports of the reception of the Society's editions. Sir Adolphus Slade, for
seventeen years an admiral in the Turkish fleet and himself the author of a
religious tract, 2 took a more pessimistic, but perhaps more realistic, view of
the attitude of the recipients of the Society's ministrations. After severely
censuring the motives and qualifications of missionaries engaged in work
among the Orthodox he added that 'the lavish distribution of Bibles is
equally distressing to behold. Did the members and supporters of the Bible
Society know how they go, how they are received, they would infinitely
prefer giving their money to their poor countrymen. God knows it would
be a more praiseworthy action. But then the patronage of appointing
missionaries, Bible distributors, etc. would cease. Let us examine what
become of these books. Bibles are given to the Turks, printed very ration-
ally in the Turkish character—(one hundred and ninety-nine of two
hundred cannot read). A Turk takes one of them as he would a Treatise
on Fluxions, or a Life of Lord Bacon . . . as neither the pasha or the
muphti interferes . . . with it, it does not gain additional value as a
prohibited article; he either keeps it as a curiosity, or tears it as waste
p a p e r . . . The Hebrews take the Bible with great pleasure, because saving
them expense: they carefully destroy the New Testaments and place the
Old Testaments in their synagogues, sneering at the donors. The Albanian
klepthes make wadding for their guns of the leaves of the Society's bibles,
if they have no other. Vast numbers of bibles are annually distributed, or
sold cheap, to the Greeks: these tell their priests, and their priests, as in
duty bound, relieve them of the charge of keeping such forbidden books
. . . If I do not mistake, it was said in one of the Bible Society reports, "that
the Smyrniote Greeks were to be seen sitting at their shop-boards diligently
reading the Bibles distributed by the Society, every moment they could
spare from their work". I have no wish to cavil, but I cannot help re-
marking on so astounding a misrepresentation, made for an interested
motive. I have often been at Smyrna, a great deal in the bazaars, and
among the Greeks; but I have never seen one of them read a Bible; nor
has, I believe, any other Englishman at Smyrna. When a Greek has done

Letter of 2 September 1826, B.F.B.S., 23rd Report, 1827, 89.
A. Slade, An Historical Catechism of the Church of England, London 1883.
his work he goes to dance, and to sing, and to drink; attending mass
satisfies his conscience'.1
Early in 1827, o n e thousand copies of the complete New Testament
emerged from the binders, and it was to distribute these that Leeves, as he
reported to the Committee, sent a man into Anatolia, 'with a supply of
these and such other books as I thought necessary, to travel with them
through the towns and villages adjacent to the Sea of Marmora, such as
Michalitch, Brusa, etc., and dispose of them by sale. From accounts . . .
received from him, he appears to have met with encouraging success at
Michalitch, and was proceeding from thence to other places'. 2 He added
that he would send to the Committee samples of this work, by 'first
favourable ship opportunity'. 3 He was not entirely satisfied with the
quality of Theoctistus's translation, regarding his style as too literary. 'I
find that the translator has by no means sufficiently brought down the
style to the comprehension of the vulgar; and although Mr. Argyrammo, 4
in the revision of the work, which he made in conjunction with the
translator and myself, made numerous alterations, with the object of
rendering it more intelligible, more particularly in the Gospels, which
were last put to press, it will admit of many improvements upon a second
edition'. 5 Argyrammos, the director of the Patriarchal Press, had been of
great assistance to Leeves in revising Theoctistus's MSS. and in seeing
them through the press. In one of a number of letters referring to Argyram-
mos's work on his behalf, Leeves wrote, 'I employ him also in various
affairs, both as my Inspector and Assistant in finding out the proper
channels for the expedition of Books, correspondence with Armenians, etc.
Indeed, the aid of a person of his stamp, who perfectly knows this singular
country, and the ways of acting in it, is almost essential to the transaction
affairs here'. The Committee authorised Leeves to pay him 2,600 piastres
for his services.6
While the New Testament was in the press, Leeves was engaged in the
preparation of a Karamanli version of the Psalter: 'this version, which is
the work of Theoctistus, founded on the old translation made by Seraphim,
Archbishop of Angora, and printed at Venice, passes through my own hands
before it goes to press, as well as those of Mr. Argyrammo, who renders
very essential service, and who every day becomes more enured to his work,
A. Slade, Records of Travels in Turkey ..., London 1833, u - 462-3, 476-7. K. N.
Lamprulos quoted some of Slade's remarks to good effect in his attack on Protestant
missionary activity, '0 M1.anovapu7fi.6s KCCI IJpoTeaTavnafios els T&S AvaToXds, S m y r n a 1836,
p. KB'. For a contemporary Orthodox criticism directed more specifically at the Bible
Society, see K . Oikonomos, 'Eniicpuris eiy •njv irept veoeAArjviiriJy 'EKKXr/aias avvrojiov an&m\i3w rov
. . . 2NeofvTov Barfa, Athens 1838.
Letter of 8 February 1827, B.F.B.S., 23rd Report, 1827, 74.
Ibid. The copies which Leeves sent back to the Committee are presumably those
now4 in the Bible House Library.
For Argyrammos's activities as director of the Patriarchal Press, see A. Firmin
Didot, Motes d'un voyage fait dans le Levant en 1816 et 181J, Paris 1826, 83-5.
Letter of 8 February 1827, B.F.B.S., 23rd Report, 1827, 74-
See Plattj 'Turkish-Armenian and Turco-Greek', 10.
and more useful to me'. 1 The printing of this Psalter, VaArripiov yiavi
AafliSlv fie^afxlp KITCCTTI, was completed early in 1827, again at De Castro's
press in Galata, in an edition of 3,000 copies.2 Leeves believed that the
language of the Psalter was 'lower' (i.e. more in accordance with the
spoken dialects of Anatolia) than that of the Society's New Testament. 3
He was not a Turkish scholar, but, as he himself put it, he knew enough
of the language to ensure that 'the sense is clearly translated'.
After he had finished the versions of the New Testament and the Psalter,
and while these were being seen through the press, Theoctistus was also
engaged on a translation of the Old Testament. The Committee of the
Society had authorised Leeves, in August 1825, 'to employ a competent
person to transcribe the Turkish Bible or portions thereof, in Greek and
Armenian character'. 4 Accordingly, later in the same year, Leeves
entered into an agreement with Theoctistus to translate the Pentateuch,
using as a basis the Bobowski/Kieffer Turkish version. He was to conform
to the Septuagint, 'making such other additional alterations in the style as
are necessary to render it quite intelligible to the Greeks of Anatolia'. 5
Leeves added in his report to the Committee that 'the Old Testament is a
book with which this people, even the best informed among them, are
scarcely at all acquainted, and from various quarters I am excited to the
prosecution of this work, as one which will be most truly useful and
Theoctistus was, however able to complete only the Pentateuch before
he was appointed to the bishopric of Aleppo, which appointment he took
up in mid-1826, somewhat to the chagrin of Leeves. 'Theoctistus', he
wrote, 'has, I am sorry to say, been induced to accept a Bishopric, that of
Aleppo. There are very few Greek Christians in this See, the greater number
having been converted by the missionaries of the Propaganda, to the
Roman Catholic Faith'. 6 The work was continued, as far as Second
Chronicles, by Petropolis, no longer apparently in the employ of the
patriarch, and other assistants.7 No start was made in setting up the type
for the Pentateuch as De Castro was still awaiting the arrival of new
presses and a new fount of Greek characters with the special diacritical'
points necessary for the accurate phonetic representation of Turkish.8
Leeves returned to England for a brief visit in 1828, entrusting the
manuscript copy of the Karamanli Pentateuch to the care of the Rev. Mr.
Lowndes in Corfu. During this visit he was able to report to the Committee
Letter of 7 November 1826, B.F.B.S., 23rd Report, 1827, 59-60.
In that Theoctistus's translation was based on Seraphim of Antalya's earlier version,
C. Huart was correct in assuming this edition to be the third of Seraphim's Psalter; see
'Note sur un psautier turc en caracteres grecs', Memoires de la Sociiti de Linguistique de
Paris, xii (1902), 84.
Letter of 8 February 1827, B.F.B.S., 23rd Report, 1827, 74-
Platt, op. cit., 9.
Letter of 10 October 1825, B.F.B.S., 22nd Report, 1826, 100.
Letter of 10 December 1825 in Platt, 'Turco-Greek', 5.
' Platt, ibid., 7.
Letter of 8 February 1827, B.F.B.S., 23rd Report, 1827, 74~5-
that of the 3,000 copies of the New Testament published in 1826, 2,000 had
been sold or otherwise disposed of. He also spoke of his plans for the
Karamanli Old Testament. He stressed that a revision of those portions
already translated by Theoctistus and Petropolis would still be needed,
with 'the assistance of some learned native of Asia Minor, who is well
acquainted with the Turkish, as spoken by that Greeks of the country'. 1
Leeves did not stay long in England and on his return to Corfu, for
he had now been appointed the Society's agent in Greece,2 he resumed
work on the projected Karamanli Old Testament. 3 Much of his time, how-
ever, in the 1830s was devoted to his collaboration with Neophytos Bambas
in producing a Modern Greek version of the Bible. He also found time to
translate the Church of England Book of Common Prayer into Modern Greek
for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Ei>xo\6yiov rfjs
•qvcufievrjs '.E/c/cAijcri'as 'AyyXias re Kal 'IpXavStas . . . SK TOV 'AyyAiKov els
KOivrjv . . . StaAe/CTW [MeTOufrpaodevTCC. Acnrdvr) TTJS npos iiravtjrjoiv rrjs Xpianav-
ucfjs Fvwaeuts 'Eraipeias (London 1839).* The Rev. R. Burgess, who visited
Syra in 1834, believed that Bambas assisted Leeves in translating the
Scriptures into 'Greco-Turkish', but this seems to have been the result of a
misunderstanding.5 Burgess was not an agent of the Bible Society but his
remarks provide an insight into the attitude of some Protestant missionaries
active in the Orthodox world at this time. 'The work . . . which is now in
progress', he wrote to a colleague, 'is to print and circulate the Scriptures
in Asia Minor, in this Greco-Turkish language; and there is every reason
to expect a revival of true Christianity in those regions where it first
flourished but where it has been blasted by the powers of darkness for so
many generations. The greatest obstacles to this great work appear to be
the partisans of the Latin Church and the Jews . . .'. 6
Leeves had some difficulty in finding a suitable collaborator to work
with him on the Karamanli Bible but eventually engaged 'a well recom-
mended and well qualified' young native of Philadelphia, 'Christo
Nicolaides', who joined Leeves in Corfu in 1832. Khristos Nikolaidis
Philadelpheus was born in Philadelphia in 1808. He was one of a number
of Greeks 'of highly respectable education' who taught for a time at the
'Central Greek School' run by American Congregational missionaries in
Platt, 'Turco-Greek', 8.
In 1838 Leeves was appointed 'Chaplain to the British Residents at Athens'. See
W. 8Miller, 'The Finlay Papers', The English Historical Review, xxxix (1924), 393.
The accounts in the Society's annual reports of its activities in publishing Karamanli
translations are less detailed for the 1830s than for the 1820s. This seems at least partly
to have been the result of shortage of space in the annual reports consequent on the world
wide expansion of the Society's activities. Moreover, the Society had been fully apprised
of the need for Karamanli translations, and had taken the necessary decisions to enable
them to be published. The early editions had proved successful and the Committee was
now content to allow Leeves, whose experience and competence were beyond doubt, to
carry on his work with less need to refer to the Committee for authority.
The S.P.C.K. also published three Turkish editions of The Book of Common Prayer, two
in Arabic characters (Leipzig 1842 and London 1883) and one in Armenian charac-
ters, Ingilterenin velrlandamn birksmis kiliselerinin sabah ve aksam dualanmn, London 1880.
6 e
R. Burgess, Greece and the Levant. . ., London 1835, ii. 3. Ibid., 3-4.

Smyrna.1 He also studied for a period at the Ionian University in Corfu,

founded by Lord Guilford. In later life he achieved some distinction as a
printer and publisher. After a short time in Corfu both Leeves and
Nikolaidis moved to Syra, one of the focal points of Protestant missionary
activity in Greece at that time.2 Leeves had already engaged the Rev. J. J .
Robertson, a Protestant Episcopal missionary, to assist in the Society's
work in Greece.3 It was at Robertson's press in Syra which had been
previously established in Athens, that the first volume of the Society's
Karamanli Old Testament was printed in 1836, Uvpara ''AyLepiKakq 1.1.
'PofiepTcrovovv TraafjLaarjvTa ra-n oXovvfiovs rovp. It also seems likely that the
1835 Karamanli Genesis was printed at the same press.
Evidence of the interest shown by many of the Turkish speaking
Orthodox themselves in Leeves's and Nikolaidis's projects is to be found in
a letter written by 'Mr. Lazarides', the young man. in charge of the
Society's warehouse in Constantinople, to Barker in Smyrna, who in turn
forwarded it in translation to the Committee. 'This is to inform you',
wrote Lazarides, 'of the necessity of the speedy publication of the Holy
Bible in the Turco-Greek dialect. On this subject I have conversed with
many of my familiar acquaintances from Asia Minor, urging them upon
it, and telling them that as the Holy Bible had been translated and printed
at Paris in the Turkish language, why should it not be in their own and
that if it were their warm desire to obtain a treasure of such a kind in their
language, I would lay the subject before the Committee of the Bible
Society, and it would undoubtedly be printed for them. "It is sufficient",
I remarked to them, "that you should shew practical proofs of your zeal,
in the two following modes: First, you should begin to collect funds to-
wards its publication; and in that case the subscribers would be entitled
to one copy for forty piastres. Secondly, that you should give me honour-
able and faithful assurance that you will abide by the present existing
translation of the Turkish Bible." On the subject of the Apocryphal Books
it was determined that they should not be included. Since the above con-
versation took place, they have been employed in collecting money; and
the sum collected up to this period amounts to 10,000 piastres (100 1.),
which they intend to deposit in a place of security until the publication, or
speedy arrival of the Bible according to my promise. I entertain strong
hopes, amounting to certainty, that I shall be able to sell 500 copies or
more. It was inquired, in a conversation of some length, respecting the
translation, viz. whether it would be made from the Septuagint or Hebrew.
It was determined at last, with the assistance of the Metropolitan of
Caesarea4 (who has all the way been exceedingly kind to me), that it
See First Four Tears of the American Independent Smyrna Mission, under the Patronage of the
New Haven Ladies' Greek Association, Smyrna 1834, 19.
B.F.B.S., 28th Report, 1832, liv; 35th Report, 1839, 5°-
B.F.B.S., 26th Report, 1830, lvi. Robertson was the agent of the 'Domestic and
Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church', see P. E. Shaw, American
Contacts with the Eastern Churches, 1820-1870, Chicago 1937, 17.
Presumably the same metropolitan of Caesarea, Paisios, who in the preface to the
should agree with that of Professor Kieffer, which they have in their hands,
and with which, to my knowledge, they never expressed the least dis-
satisfaction, but, on the contrary, have declared an opinion very much in
favour of it. The New Testament, they remarked, need not be included,
as that is already in their hands'.1
Lazarides's remark that the Karamanlides possessed copies of the
Kieffer/Bobowski Arabic-character Turkish Old Testament is of con-
siderable interest, for it indicates that, despite the Mekhitarists' assurance
to the contrary given to Pinkerton, a considerable number of those
Karamanlides that were literate were able to read Turkish in Arabic as
well as Greek characters. In the early eighteenth century, Alexander
Helladius noted that the Christians of Caesarea, Ankara and Aleppo who
spoke Turkish or Arabic were grateful to the English for supplying them
with copies of the Turkish New Testament: 'omnes enim & singuli
Caesaream, Anghyram, Halepum, aliasque regiones orientales colentes
Christiani, aut Turcica, aut Arabica utuntur lingua. Adeoque summas
Anglis referunt gratias, quod Novum Testamentum tarn nitida lingua
Turcica edendum curaverint'. Helladius also recorded that a considerable
number of educated Turks read copies of this Turkish New Testament,
and, indeed, expressed a wish for a translation of better quality, while in
Constantinople Greek merchants from Caesarea and Trebizond not only
read the Turkish Testament but compared it with the original text.2 The
Englishmen to whom these Turkish- and Arabic-speaking Christians were
obliged for their New Testaments were, doubtless, merchants and chap-
lains at the Levant Company's factories in Constantinople, Smyrna and
Aleppo. Many of the Company's chaplains were much interested in the
Orthodox Church, and, indeed, the Company partially subsidised the
printing of Seaman's Turkish New Testament.3 In the 1650s Isaac Basire
proposed to distribute a Turkish translation of the Church of England
catechism, commissioned from Bobowski, among the Christians of Syria
and Anatolia. 'Returning to Aleppo', he wrote, 'I passed over (the)

Toypoii nvlyv ToAtfu, Constantinople 1839, expressed his hostility to Protestant missionary
activity in his diocese. See below, 190. Paisios, a native of Pharasa, was consecrated
metropolitan of Caesarea in 1832, see A. M. Levidis, 'IoropiKov SOKI/UOV . . . rfjs KamraSoKias,
i. 'EKKXr/aiaoriKTi 'laropla, Athens 1885, 193, 209.
B.F.B.S., 30th Report, 1834, lxii.
A. Helladius, op. cit., 289, 138. See also J. Deny, 'A propos des traductions en turc
osmanli des textes religieux Chretiens', Die Welt des Islams, n.s. iv (1956), 35. The edition
referred to by Helladius was very probably the Turkish New Testament in Arabic
characters in the translation of William Seaman, Domini nostri Jesu Christi Testamentum
Novum Turcice redditum, Oxford 1666. Apart from a specimen edition, consisting of the three
Epistles of St. John, Specimen Turcicum SS. Scripturae: sive tres epistolae S. Johannis Apostoli
Turcice redditae, Oxford 1659, Seaman's was the first and, indeed, the only edition of the
complete New Testament until the Kieffer/Bobowski version, Paris 1819. Deny makes the
interesting suggestion that Seaman, who was employed in the service of Sir Peter Wyche,
British Ambassador to the Porte (1628-39), may have been aided in his translation by
Bobowski, op. cit., 33.
As, for instance, the Rev. Dr. John Covel, Chaplain in Constantinople from 1670
to 1677; see. A. C. Wood, A History of the Levant Company, Oxford 1935, 222-4.
Euphrates, and went into Mesopotamia, Abraham's country, whither I
am now intending to send our Catechism in Turkish, to some of their
Bishops, Armenians most of them'. 1 Travelling through Philadelphia in
November 1820, the Revs. Parsons and Fisk were shown copies of Greek
and Turkish editions of the New Testament, and, indeed, they found three
priests reading them together.2 The Rev. R. Walsh believed that the
Society's Arabic-character version was intended for Turkish-speaking
Greeks, by whom it was well received.3
For the printing of the Karamanli Old Testament, the Committee sent
out a new fount of type and the printing of a quarto edition of Genesis,
Fevecns ytdvi iiay\ovKarr)v yiaparrjATjarjvrjv Kirairq, was completed at Syra in
1835. Specimens of this edition were forwarded to Constantinople for
the Karamanlides who subscribed in advance to the edition, and the
American Bible Society agreed to purchase copies of the Old Testament
to the amount of 1,000 dollars. Leeves was gratified by favourable reports
he received of this edition of Genesis. According to Leeves, Lazarides
wrote that 'the sight of these sheets has caused great joy to the subscribers,
who remarked they had seen no translation into the Turkish so good and
so intelligible as this'. 4 An American missionary in Smyrna wrote to
Leeves that he had put one of the specimen sheets of Genesis 'into the
hands of a clever young Greek here, who is a teacher of the Turkish
language. He has read it; and I now return it to you with only one criti-
cism, which is written upon it. He expressed his entire approbation of the
style, and says it is very well done in all respects'.6 The Rev. Mr.
Schneider, an American missionary in Bursa, wrote to the Committee as
follows, 'the specimens of Genesis in Graeco-Turkish, which have been
forwarded to us from your depository, have been taken with much avidity.
I am often asked, when the whole of the Old Testament will issue from the
press in this character; to the Greeks, who speak only Turkish, it is very
The first volume, the Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua, Xat,pin
Mcovcrqvlv irks KiTOCTrAccprj ^e/x. r a ^ t Nav-q SyAov 'Irjoovvovv KiTairq, w a s p u b -
lished in Syra in 1836. This edition was the first Karamanli work specifi-
cally to mention the Society's sponsorship. The title page records that the
volume was translated into simple Turkish with the help of the Society
established in England for the distribution of the Scriptures in England
and throughout the world, 'IvKiATepp'ccvTjv, /Je movrovv Tovviavrjv ad'Cp

See I. Basire, A Letter . . . Relating His . . . Endeavours to propogate the Knowledge of the
Doctrine . . . established in the Britannick Church, among the Greeks . . ., appended to The
Ancient Liberty of the Britannick Church . . ., London 1661, 4. See above, 80.
Missionary Register for 1821, 428.
R. Walsh, op. cit., ii. 245.
* B.F.B.S., 31st Report, 1835, xlix. Slight textual changes in this specimen Genesis
were in fact made before the printing of Genesis as part of the first volume of the
Society's complete Old Testament.
B.F.B.S., 32nd Report, 1836, xlvi.
%ep Tapcc(f>Aap7)va fLovKarres KirairXap-qv rayrjXfiaarj Wt,ovv "IVKIXIT, yu.e/xAe
fiovvTat,rjfjL 6Xav p'e<f>iKarr)v fiapufreii IXe dr^rjK rovprK^e Xicravd Tepr^tfie oXov-
vovn. The Society's diglot New Testament (London 1827) w a s t n e first °f i t s
Greek editions to mention the Society on the title page, Acardvq rfjs iv
Bperawiqt KCtl Trap 'AXXoyeveaiv 'Eraipeias Trjs 'Iep&s BlflXov.1 T h e second
volume, Judges to Esther, IJaXmd AiadrJKT) yidvi Te^parr) Septy. T£IAT
iKivrtJi avre KI /xe/?"r£ot>TTOV/>. XaKiyiXkp, Povd, narrjoaxXaprjv ropr Ki.Ta.irf,
TejSapt^tv IKI KnaTrf), "Et$pa, Neefiia, /Je "Eadrjp . . ., was published in 1837
in Athens, whither Leeves had moved from Syra. One of the factors that
led to Leeves's removal from 'this commercial rock' Syra to Athens, where
the subsequent volumes of the Karamanli Old Testament were printed,
was the appearance of 'fanatical movements directed against the Scrip-
tures and the schools'.8 The third volume, Job to Malachi, IlaXaia Aiad-qicq
yiavt TePpa-rq Uepl(f> T£,IXT OVT^OVVT^OV avre KI fieprlovTrovp. 'Icbfi, Zeirovpl
AafliS, 'E/xoaXl EoXofji&v, Bait,, NayfieXep Nay/xecrl, ropr iroyiovK, /3e OVIKI
KIOVT^OVK JJeiyajXTTepXip. . ., was published at the same press, that of
Georgios Polymeris, in 1838. The complete Old Testament, Kirairr) Uepuf>
. . . yidvc 'EOKI Baaiyer KI TefSparr) Seplxf) re reviXip, was also printed in
Athens in 1838. In all, it seems that 2,500 copies of the Old Testament were
printed, with an additional 500 copies of the Pentateuch. In 1838 a further
500 copies of the New Testament "Axn T&TIT . . . yidvi 'Panm/xl^, e/J (sic)
XeXaoTtpriixijt, 'ITJCTOVS Xpiarot,ovv Fevl Baaieri, were printed. The edition of
J o b , the Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiastes, '/ai/?, IIapoip.lai UoXofMuyvros,
'EKKXrjGiaaTris yidvi 'Iuifiovv 'EfiaaXl UoXoficjvow jSe BaX^rjv Kiranrq, was
printed at the press of K. Nikolaidis, Leeves's collaborator in translating
the Karamanli Old Testament, in Athens in 1844 and was probably also
published under the Society's auspices.
In addition to this considerable publishing activity, during the 1830s
the Society was actively engaged in the distribution of its publications
among the Karamanlides. In this work they were assisted by Protestant
missionaries belonging to various denominations and representing different
missionary organisations. The two principal British societies active at the
time in Asia Minor were the Bible Society and the Church Missionary
Society. Although the Bible Society was non-denominational and the
Church Missionary Society engaged more specifically in missionary activity
on behalf of the Church of England, their activities, of course, were not
mutually exclusive and there was a considerable degree of co-operation
and interchange of staff between the two organisations. The Rev. William
Jowett, author of a very useful account of his missionary labours in the
Mediterranean region,3 acted as 'literary representative' of the Church
Missionary Society in Malta and was secretary of the Society from 1832 to
The Society's Modern Turkish editions carry the simpler imprint, Ingiliz ve Ecnebi
Mukaddes §irketi.
B.F.B.S., 35th Report, 1839, 50.
W. Jowett, Christian Researches in the Mediterranean from 1815 to 1820 in furtherance of
the objects of the Church Missionary Society, London 1822.

1840. At the same time he was a life governor of the Bible Society, which
position he held from 1821. There were in the 1830s, according to
Burgess's estimate, some 25 Protestant missionaries, British and American,
active in the Turkish dominions.1 Religious literature, other than Biblical
texts, including several tracts in Karamanlidika, was distributed in
quantity by the Religious Tract Society. A smaller organisation of this
type was the Prayer Book and Homily Society, founded in 1813. Among
its objects was the circulation of Greek versions of the Book of Common
Prayer and the Book of Homilies, although they do not seem to have
produced a Karamanli version.
The Society's Karamanli texts were published in large editions and it
was a constant preoccupation of the Society's agents in the field to ensure
the widest possible distribution of these texts. Karamanli scriptures were
presumably included in the 'large case of Scriptures', which Barker
despatched from Smyrna to Kayseri in 1828.2 A young man sent into the
interior from Smyrna by Barker returned having sold 387 volumes.3 In
July 1830 Barker was able to write to the Committee that he had 'the
further satisfaction' to inform them that the 'Rev. Mr. Lewis* disseminated
for me at Caesarea, Usegat (Yozgat), and Endurluk 166 copies, of which
he sold 137, and 29 he charitably disposed of'.5 In December of the same
year Barker reported that 246 copies of the 'Sacred Scriptures' had been
distributed in Caesarea, while further copies had been disposed of in
'Garmir' (Kermir) 'Endurlook' and 'Sparta' (Isparta). 6 In 1834 a Mr.
S(chnell) is recorded as having sold some of the Society's Karamanli
scriptures at the fair of 'Philippoli' (Plovdiv).7 This is interesting for it
would seem that the Turkish speaking Christians of Bulgaria normally
employed Cyrillic characters to write Turkish, although there were iso-
lated settlements of Karamanlides in the Balkans.8 In this connexion it is
interesting to note that, in the course of a tour in European Turkey in
1827, Leeves came across a small village of some 30 families of Turkish
speaking 'Greeks', without a church or priest, at Havsa, near 'Bourgas'
Burgess, op. cit., ii. 78. Mention is made of some of the activities of British mission-
aries in Asia Minor in J. M. Hornus, 'Les missions anglicanes au Proche-Orient avant la
creation de Pevech6 a Jerusalem', Proche-Orient Chritien, xii (1962), 255-69. G. Jaschke,
op. cit., does not discuss British missionary activity.
Letter of 17 December 1828 in B.F.B.S., 25th Report, 1829, 83.
Ibid., 78.
The Rev. W. B. Lewis was an agent of the London Society for Promoting Christianity
amongst the Jews. One of his reasons for visiting Kayseri appears to have been to
minister to some Jewish converts to Christianity exiled to that city; see W. T. Gidney,
The History of the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews . . ., London 1908,
Letters of 26 July 1830, B.F.B.S., 27th Report, 1831, 87.
Letters of 3 December 1830 and 18 January 1831, B.F.B.S., 27th Report, 1831,
B.F.B.S., 30th Report, 1834, Ixii.
For this small literature, consisting mainly of religious works, in Turkish with
Cyrillic characters, see G. Hazai, 'Monuments linguistiques osmanlis-turcs en caracteres
cyrilliques dans les recueils de Bulgarie', Ada Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae,
xi (1960), 221-31.
(Luleburgaz) , In fact, it would appear that these 'Greeks' were a settle-
ment of Gagauz, the Turkish speaking 'Christian Turks'. The Gagauz
were mainly concentrated in the Dobruja but an isolated community at
Havsa is recorded. 2
In 1834 the Rev. J. Brewer embarked on a tour of Asia Minor in which
he distributed copies of the Society's editions in several of the larger
towns of Asia Minor in which there were communities of Turkish speaking
Orthodox Christians.3 Among the towns he visited were Philadelphia
(Alasehir), 'Koolah' (Kula), 'Sillah' (Sille), 'Aphion Cara Hissar' (Aiyon
Kara Hisar), 'Isborta' (Isparta), 'Buldur' (Burdur), 'Deniglee' (Denizli),
'Serakiu' (Saraykoy), 'Caraman' (Karaman), 'Iconium' (Konya) and
'Michalitch' (Mihahc). 4 The Bible Society's active policy of distribution
must have ensured that their editions, although of considerable size, were
distributed throughout Asia Minor within a relatively short time of
publication. In one year alone, 1845, Leeves reported that 1,078 copies of
the Karamanli scriptures had been distributed in Asia Minor. 5 It is
difficult to estimate the success of the Bible Society in its efforts to distri-
bute and encourage the reading of the Bible among the Orthodox
Christians of Asia Minor. The considerable size of the Society's editions,
the accounts of travellers who found copies in use, the numerous copies of
its publications that have survived in the possession of refugees from
Asia Minor or have found their way into Athenian libraries, and the
energetic efforts, some of which have been described above, on the part of
the Society's agents to ensure a wide circulation, certainly indicate a wide-
spread distribution, even during the first half of the nineteenth century.
Whether the Society's editions were much read by a population that,
despite the educational movement that gathered momentum among the
Orthodox communities during the later nineteenth century, remained to a
considerable extent illiterate is another question altogether.6 The Society's
success or otherwise in encouraging the reading of the Bible among the
Karamanlides is inevitably linked with the general history of Protestant
missionary activity among the Christians of Asia Minor.
The various missionary organisations active in Asia Minor soon
abandoned their initial attempts to secure the conversion of the Muslim
population. Proselytism among the Muslim population was, of course,
strictly forbidden by the Ottoman authorities and any overt attempts in
this direction would have led to the immediate expulsion of all foreign
missions. In 1839, two visiting Scottish clergymen, the Revs. A. A. Bonar
Letter of 18 January 1827, B.F.B.S., 23rd Report, 1827, 66.
See P. Wittek, 'Yazijioghlu Ali on the Christian Turks of the Dobruja', Bulletin of
the School of Oriental and African Studies, xiv (1952), 639.
For Brewer, see S. A. Larrabee, Hellas Observed: the American Experience of Greece
17j5-1865, New York 1957, 179-82, 191-3.
B.F.B.S., 31st Report, 1835, liv.
B.F.B.S., 41st Report, 1845, xcvii. Leeves died later in the same year in Beirut.
Of the twenty-one informants, refugee villagers from Pharasa, consulted by
D. Loukopoulos and D. Petropoulos in the study, 'H Aai'/nj Xon-pda T&V $apdcwv, Athens
1949, nine were either completely illiterate or knew only the alphabet.
and R. M. MacCheyne, were told by the Church Missionary Society
agent in Smyrna, the Rev. J. A. Jetter, that not a single instance of the
conversion of a Muslim had occurred.1 Isolated cases of the conversion of
Muslims to Christianity did, however, occur. In the 1850s, for instance,
an aga of the Kizilba? Kurds was converted by American missionaries.2
Unable to proselytise among the Muslim population, the representatives
of the Bible Society and the various missionary societies directed their
efforts to the evangelisation of the Orthodox and Gregorian Armenian
Christians of Asia Minor. It is clear that a further aim of many of these
missionaries was the conversion of these Christians to Protestantism in one
or other of its manifestations. Again it is not clear how far this aim was
achieved in practice, for relatively little is known of the results of Protestant
missionary activity among the Orthodox Christians of Asia Minor, a
subject that deserves further study as, in the recent words of a Greek
scholar, an 'ISicclrepov Ke<j>d\aiov rrjs veoeXXrjviKrjs icrropCas'.3 Considerably
more is known about Protestant missionary activity, carried out mainly
by American Congregationalists and Presbyterians, among the Gregorian
Armenians, who appear to have converted to Protestantism rather more
readily than their Orthodox co-religionists.4
A certain degree of success is indicated by the recognition of the
indigenous Protestant community within the Ottoman Empire as a
separate millet by an imperial decree of November 1850. The head, or
vekil, of the millet was empowered to conduct negotiations with the Porte
in matters concerning the Protestant community and was to have religious
jurisdiction over his flock in much the same way as the oecumenical
patriarch had jurisdiction in a wide variety of religious and civil matters
over the Orthodox community.5 The granting of the firman was apparently
largely due to the exertions of the British ambassador to the Porte,
Stratford de Redcliffe. His name, anticipated J. H. Skene, somewhat
optimistically, 'will thus be revered in the East from generation to genera-
tion, and must raise a feeling of national pride in the breast of every Briton
A. A. Bonar and R. M. MacCheyne, Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews
from the Church of Scotland in 183Q, Edinburgh 1842, 449.
Missionary Herald, liii (1857), 219 f. cited in F. W. Hasluck, 'Heterodox Tribes of
Asia Minor', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, li (1921), 339.
I. T . Pamboukis, nerepifill, dAiyea Aefeis em rrjs awBiaeajs run> OpTjOKevnKaiv jiifiXliov TTJS
TovpKocfiwvov eAArjvi/djy ^lAoAoyury, A t h e n s 1 9 6 1 , 2 1 .
See, for instance, H. O. Dwight in Oberhummer and Zimmerer, op. cit., 450-
464; J. M. Hornus, 'Le Protestantisme au Proche-Orient . . . L'American Board en
Turquie et le deVeloppement du protestantisme arme'nien', Proche-Orient ChrStien, viii
(1958), 149-67; H. G. O. Dwight, Christianity in Turkey: a narrative of the Protestant
Reformation in the Armenian Church, London 1854; E. D. G. Prime, ed., Forty Tears in the
Turkish Empire or, memoirs of. . . W. Goodell . . ., New York 1876; and L. Arpee, The
Armenian Awakening, Chicago 1909, 93-171. Political considerations appear to have lain
behind the conversion of some, at least, of the Gregorian Armenians to Protestantism;
see R. H. Davison, Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1856-76, Princeton 1963, 122.
The Imperial firman granting these privileges to the Protestant community is
printed in G. Noradounghian, Receuil d'actes intemationaux de VEmpire Ottoman, ii, Paris
1900, 392-4, and L. Hertslet, . . . Treaties and Conventions . . . between Great Britain and
Foreign Powers . .., ix, London 1856, 742-3.
that hears it blessed by the grateful Protestant in so remote an outpost of
his faith'.1 This new Protestant millet seems to have been composed almost
entirely, however, of Protestant converts from among the Gregorian
Armenians. Whether or not the far smaller number of Protestant converts
from Orthodoxy came under its jurisdiction is not clear, although,
according to the theory of the millet, which was organised on the basis of
religious affiliation rather than racial origin, they should have formed a
part of such a community. Certainly the number of Armenian converts
seems to have been fairly high. For example, during the last decade
of the nineteenth century the town of Adapazan had an Armenian
Protestant community of 1,500 people out of a total population of some
Protestant missionary activity got fully under way only in the latter
part of the nineteenth century, although the foundations were being laid
during the first part of the century. Already in the 1830s, Paisios, metro-
politan of Caesarea, was so alarmed by the activities of 'Lutherans' and
'Calvinists' in his diocese that he published a Karamanli translation of
Platon Levshin's Orthodox catechism, Toypov nvlyv raXi^L. (Constantinople
1839).3 He undertook this work, as he wrote in the preface, with the
specific intention of countering the propaganda of 'irreligious Lutherans
and Calvinists' fieaeiral^ AoTovpawaprj fie KaXftivooXapr] who, SO he h a d
learnt from trustworthy Christians and from letters, had already begun
their activities in his diocese. Some idea of the care which the Orthodox
hierarchy took to ensure the faithful translation of theological works can
be gathered from the patriarchal ocTroSoKifiaala of Paisios's draft translation
of the Dogru dinin talimi. Gregorios VI submitted the draft of the Karamanli
translation to a committee of experts who rejected it, considering it
The revised version was, however, approved for publication at the
patriarchal press. The Dogru dinin talimi was the first of a number of
publications in Karamanlidika designed to counter the effects of Protestant
propaganda. Anti-protestant polemical literature, in fact, constituted a
fairly substantial proportion of Karamanli publications during the later
nineteenth century. Among these was the 'Ebt,fSnrl'4 Sivie yidvi TJ-E X*P
'OpOoSotjos xPiaTLCCVVv T'ocmaravXapa fie TTporearavXapa fiipfxeal Ata^/x KeXev
S£e/?a7T. (Religious obligation, that is to say the reply which every Orthodox Christian
J . H. Skene, Anadol; the last home of the faithful, London 1853, 80.
G. Paskhalidis, 'AvaKolvuiois Trepl xtopuov nvum rrjs BiBwLas, Sevo^dvrjs, i (1896), 283.
The Teaching of the True Religion. Platon Levshin was successively archbishop of
Tver and metropolitan of Moscow and his Orthodox catechism gained a considerable
popularity as a concise exposition of Orthodox belief. Originally published in Moscow in
1765 the catechism was soon published in Modern Greek, by Adamantios Korais,
'OpB6ho£os AiSaaKctXia CITOW owo>j>i.s TTJS Xpioruxvucrjs OeoXoyias Leipzig 1782, reprinted Corfu
1827, Constantinople 1835, and G. Vendotis, 'Op66&o£o$ AtSaoxaXCa, IJTOI Xpumavud) 0eoXoyla
h> awoijia, Vienna 1783. Paisios's Karamanli version was one of many translations of this
work, among them the English version by the Rev. R. Pinkerton, The Present State of the
Greek Church in Russia; or a Summary of Christian Divinity . . . , Edinburgh 1814.
M. Gedeon, op. tit., 280-6.
should give to the Papists and Protestants), Constantinople 1864.1 This compila-
tion from Greek sources consisted essentially of three parts, an account of
the separation of the Western Church from that of the East, an account of
the Protestants, and a survey of some of the differences between the
churches of the millet of the Greeks and the millet of the Armenians. In
the section on Protestantism, outlining the Protestant attitude to matters
such as liturgical worship, icons, devotion to Mary and to the saints, some
attempt is made to distinguish the beliefs of the Church of England
('AyyXiKavr) yEi<KXr)cri<xyie ram SXav "IyyXit, LTporeo-TavXaprj) from those of
other Protestant denominations.2 Other works of this genre included the
"EAeyxos Siccfj.apTvpoiJ.€vcov yid^or Te/c^tV-ouA FFpoTsaTav (The Contradiction of
the Protestants), Athens 1876, directed against the 'false missionaries'
(iftevSo-aTrooToAoaAapr)); the Xccfiu 'OpdoSo^icc (The Defender of Orthodoxy),
Constantinople 1883; and the IJXccvwvTes KCU TrXaviLfievoi yiavi 'AXSaSavXap
ySe aXSocvccvXdp (The Leaders Astray and the Led Astray), Constantinople 1898. 3
Several Greek writers on the Orthodox communities in Cappadocia in the
later part of the century also complain of the activities of Protestant
missionaries. The remarks of A. S. Alektoridis who in the 1880s wrote that
'wolves from all sides threaten to dismember the unity of the flock . . .
emissaries of foreign religious beliefs circulate through the country . . . as
they ensnare the people and lead astray their consciences', are by no means
untypical.4 The considerable body of anti-Protestant polemical literature
published in Karamanlidika and the frequent complaints of Greeks con-
cerned with the fortunes of Hellenism in Asia Minor certainly indicate
that the activities of Protestant missionaries were taken seriously by the
Orthodox hierarchy.
The actual number of converts to Protestantism, however, appears to
have been considerably smaller among the Orthodox community than
among the Gregorian Armenian community. Moreover, in many cases
Orthodox conversion to Protestantism proved only temporary. Neverthe-
less, reports such as those of H. O. Dwight do indicate that a not insignifi-
cant number of Orthodox Christians did become Protestants.5 At the end
See S. Salaville and E. Dalleggio, Karamanlidika .. ., ii, 1851-1863, Athens 1966,
• Cf., 49, 55, 59, 63, 66.
See J. Eckmann, Die karamanische Literatur, in J. Deny et al., ed., Philologiae Turcicae
Fundamenta, ii, Wiesbaden 1964, 830-1.
'XVKOI iravraxoOev aneiXovai va SittOTrdaaujt. TTJV evoTtjra TOV TIOIILVLOV . . . a7ro<TToAoi £evwv hoy-
fictTWv xpLOTiayiKwv iTGpnp£xovo1 TVV Xl*>Pav • • • onws ctTTOTrXamjocoat. ras ovv£ihri<jeis Ktxl crayTjvevow<7t
TO TrXrjBijy . . ., A . S. A l e k t o r i d i s , 'At£i\6yu>v TOV ev 0€praKaivois rijs KamraSoKtas yXwaoiKov
ISuoiiaros, 'AeXrtov -rfjs 'loropiicfjs KCU ''EBvoXoyiKrjs 'Ermpeias, i (1883—4), 4 8 1 . S e e also
S. Krinopoulos, 7a <PeprdKcuva..., Athens 1889, 16-17 and S. Pharasopoulos, 7a ZuAara...,
Athens 1895, 10.
I have not seen two works by I. Agapidis, 'UAAijvwa! euayyeAocal KotvoTryres rov IJovrov,
Thessaloniki 1948 a n d 'EXXrjvLKal cvayyehKal KoivoTr/res TTJS Mixp&s 'Aalas, Thessaloniki 1950,
cited in I. T. Pamboukis, op. cit., 21. Useful information about Protestant missionary
activity among the Orthodox is contained in A. M. Levidis, ZvfifioXal els TTJV iaropiav TOU
irpomjXvnaiJiOv ev MiKpq 'Amif, 3evo(f>dvr]s, iii (1905—6), 248—55, 343—51 a n d I. Paras-
keviadis, 3evo<f>dvtjs, ii (1904-5), 223-9.
of the nineteenth century Dwight noted that 'a self-supporting and energetic
community of Greek Protestants at Ordou (Ordu) is one of the most
interesting features of the field of this station. By "self-supporting" is
meant the maintenance of the Pastor and the two schools by the people
themselves, without aid from Mission funds'.1 The Protestant community in
question must have been of some size to support, without outside aid, two
schools. Dwight also recorded that in the region of Ankara and Konya
services in Protestant missionary chapels were conducted in Turkish,
which was intelligible to the mixed congregations of Gregorian and
Orthodox Christians, who were in fact ignorant of their native languages.2
Orthodox converts to Protestantism seem, as was perhaps inevitable, to
have incurred on occasion the hostility of their former co-religionists. The
phenomenon of Orthodox-Muslim crypto-Christianity, that is outward
conformity to Islam while maintaining in secret the rites and practices of
the Orthodox Church, in several regions of the Ottoman Empire, is well
documented. 3 Less well known are the isolated cases of crypto-Protestan-
tism on the part of Protestants outwardly conforming to the Orthodox faith.
H. J. van Lennep records the case of a Greek convert to evangelical
Christianity who had trained as a carpenter. Shunned by his Orthodox
relatives, he was unable to find work and was compelled by the threat of
starvation outwardly to conform to the Orthodox faith 'and to keep away
from Evangelical preaching'. His relatives sought to confirm his apparent
return to their faith by marrying him 'to a pretty young girl who has no
leaven of truth in her heart'. 4
Missionary activity of the kind outlined above got under way on a
large scale only during the second half of the century. But the Bible
Society's numerous editions of the Scriptures in Karamanlidika, appearing
from the 1820s onwards, and the active policy of distribution pursued by
the Society's agents and helpers, must have contributed considerably to
such success as the later missionaries achieved.5 The activities of the British
and Foreign Bible Society in the Orthodox world have in the past been
the subject of much misunderstanding and not infrequently of hostility.
But, whatever view is taken of these activities, it is undeniable that to the
Bible Society and its agents, and to numerous missionaries, British and
H. O. Dwight in Oberhummer and Zimmerer, op. cit., 456.
Roman Catholic missionaries established in Kayseri at this time celebrated the
Liturgy in Latin, but the Psalms were sung in Latin, French and Turkish; see. A. M.
Levidis, op. cit., 406.
See, for example, R. M. Dawkins, 'The Crypto-Christians of Turkey', Byzantion,
viii (1933), 247-75 a n t ^ N. E. Milioris, 01 KpimToxpio-navoi, Athens 1962.
H. J . van Lennep, Travels in little-known parts of Asia Minor, London 1870, ii. 3—4.
During the first half of the century the Bibles distributed were those of the British
and Foreign Bible Society, the American Bible Society purchasing from it the copies they
required. Later editions of the Karamanli Bible were frequently joint undertakings of the
British and American societies, with a joint committee taking part in the revision of the
text. The particular contribution of the British and Foreign Bible Society has not always
been appreciated even by British scholars; see, for example, A. J. Toynbee, according to
whom,'. . . the Turkish Bible in Greek characters was a Protestant gift from the American
missionaries': The Western Question in Greece and Turkey, London 1922, 194.

American, was due the widespread distribution of the Karamanli Bible

among the Turkish-speaking Orthodox Christians of Asia Minor during
the first half of the nineteenth century.1 The tangible results of such an
undertaking are, of course, difficult to assess. It can, however, be said with
some confidence that the free or nearly free distribution of these Biblical
texts improved, at least marginally, both the knowledge of the Holy
Scriptures and the general level of literacy among the Karamanlides.
Moreover, the Society, in its ceaseless quest for linguistic and phonetic
accuracy, pioneered the serious use of special diacritical signs to ensure
the accurate transcriptions of Turkish into Greek characters, thus paving
the way for the relatively sophisticated transcription systems used in
Karamanli literature of all kinds later in the century. Finally, the reports
of the Bible Society's agents and collaborators ensured the survival of much
information which would otherwise have been irretrievably lost about this
interesting and neglected segment of the Orthodox community within the
Ottoman Empire.
As a Greek scholar has recently written, 'Sev ejieive TovpKwjxavos eAAijvurij MrAu/?ij
BijSAov . . . els TOV TrpoTeora.vnaii.6v 6(j>elXovrm Kvplws •q SidSoms xai 17 Sen) yvojms Trjs 'Aylas
rots Tovpicofyuivois "EXXrjm'; I . T . Pamboukis, o p . cit., 22.

4—J.E.H. 193