The Society of Jesus and the Early Modern Christian Orient
(10,034 words)

Robert John Clines

Last modified: December 2016



When Ignatius of Loyola turned away from the courtier’s life toward a more spiritual one, he resolved that a missionary pilgrimage to Jerusalem would be central to his devotion: in 1523, he set off from Spain for the Holy Land. Arriving there via Venice, "his firm intention was to stay in Jerusalem, always visiting the holy sites; and he also intended, beyond this devotion, to help souls."1 His stay was cut short, however, as he was expelled due to growing tensions with the Franciscan custodians of the Holy Sepulcher.2 Despite this setback, over the next two and half centuries the Society of Jesus did not abandon Ignatius’s vision for the Christian Orient,3 as Jesuit missionaries came to work with Christians as far afield as Constantinople, Georgia, Aleppo, Damascus, Baghdad, Ethiopia, and Cairo.

Yet, Jesuit missions to Eastern Christian communities have not played a major role in the historiography of the early modern Society of Jesus. While a noteworthy corpus of studies exists, as does a significant body of archival and published sources that explore these pre-suppression missions, generally speaking it is a fractured historiography when juxtaposed with more thoroughly explored and ostensibly "fruitful" missionary theaters such as New France, Latin America, India, or China, where scholars have explored Jesuit missions in a more holistic manner and, increasingly, in relation to one another.

This historiographical lacuna stems, first, from the fact that studies thus far have cursorily placed the Jesuits into the larger framework of Catholic missions to these communities or vis-à-vis relations between Europe and the Ottomans (or, less so, Safavids and Ethiopians).4 Second, these missions have been linked, as is the case with Ethiopia, to individual European nations’ larger rhetorics of empire.5 Regarding the Levant and Egypt, the scholarship has tended to lean toward the French-backed missions or, in the very least, has been shaped by the predominance of French scholars who have collocated the sources, thus limiting their exposure as well as tinting how those missions have come to be viewed in relation to one another.

This essay aims to provide some coherence to an otherwise disjointed historiographical conversation surrounding the Jesuits’ presence in what we can more broadly call the Christian Orient. I use the term Christian Orient, as opposed to some alternatives such as Near/Middle East or the Ottoman Empire/World. Within this umbrella includes Orthodox Christian communities (e.g. Greek Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, etc.) as well as Eastern Catholics (e.g. the Maronites of Lebanon, Latin Rite communities such as those on Crete,6 and "nations" of European merchants).7 Likewise, with the increased presence of English and Dutch traders, various Protestant sects became a part of the Christian Orient. I therefore believe that Christian Orient casts a wider net and includes all Christians living in the eastern Mediterranean and Indian Ocean Worlds regardless of rite, sect, provenance, and affiliation. This includes Ottoman lands such as Egypt, the Levant, the Balkans, and Greece, as well as points outside of the Ottoman sphere of influence, such as eastern Iraq, Iran, Ethiopia, and Georgia. I recognize that this is not a perfect solution in nomenclature for what were independent Christian communities rather than a collective singular, nor does it assuage the Orientalist preoccupation that has shaped the scholarship as of late. It is nevertheless a term that best captures Christianity beyond the confines of what has come to be known as Christendom—basically, Western Europe—without essentializing it as that which does not derive from the Latin Rite.

This study will begin with an overview of the archival and printed source evidence for the Jesuits’ presence in the early modern Christian Orient, as well as some causal explanations for francophone predominance. The essay will then construct a clearer picture of how the case studies and examinations of the Jesuits throughout the early modern Christian Orient are interrelated, and will speak to larger trends that are both in line with Jesuit missionary work at large as well as the peculiarities of missionizing to the Christian Orient. Lastly, this essay will offer a brief exploration of current lacunae and avenues for future research; I do this with the necessary caveat that, much like in studies elsewhere, Jesuit missionary efforts in the Christian Orient required high levels of cultural accommodation and were not simply top-down processes of Catholicization. Likewise, they were never as simple as Ignatius’s original goal in the quote provided above; that is to say, "saving souls" was only one part of the process. This connected histories approach allows for an exploration of Jesuit missions to the Christian Orient as unique enterprises on one hand while allowing us to connect them to the larger processes of early modern Catholic globalization, empire building (European and otherwise), and the Society of Jesus’s global vision on the other.8


Archival and Printed Sources: An Overview

The archival evidence for the Jesuit presence in the Christian Orient before Pope Clement XIV’s (r.1769–1774) 1773 papal bull Dominus ac Redemptor ordered the suppression of the Society of Jesus is held overwhelmingly in the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu in Rome (hereafter ARSI). There are roughly one hundred volumes of archived manuscripts that lay on the spectrum of full volumes dedicated to particular missions (e.g. Gallia 98 I-II, Missio Aegyptae et Aethiopae, covering 1578–82), volumes tied to particular geographic theaters (e.g. the three-volume Gallia 95 Missio Syriensis, covering 1579–1650), or that contain just a few manuscripts as a part of a larger collection (e.g. Italia, Venetia, Roma, and Sicilia collections). Generally speaking, with some exceptions, the manuscripts are organized according to geographic origin or provincial provenance, sometimes both, e.g. Gallia 101 Missio Constantinopolis 15831616 is from the French Assistency (Gallia), but tied exclusively to the Jesuit presence in Constantinople. Likewise, they vary linguistically. While Latin pervades all, especially Jesuit-papal correspondence, certain collections are almost exclusively in Italian, such as Gallia 95, others are in French, some are in Spanish; most of the manuscripts for Ethiopia, which are often included in the collections concerning Goa, are in Portuguese. Chronologically speaking, Spanish dominates the period before Ignatius’s death (1556), Italian prevails for the rest of the sixteenth century, and French dominates the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This reflects the evolution of the national provenance of the Jesuits as well as the financial backers of the missions (early on, the Jesuits tended to be sent as papal legates; after 1582, their missions tended to be—though not exclusively—backed by the kings of France). And, as the Jesuits were communicating with local Christian communities with highly developed written liturgical traditions, there are more than a few manuscripts written in Arabic, Syriac, or Karshuni (Arabic written in Syriac script). Beyond ARSI, there are manuscripts in archives throughout Italy, as well as outliers in places as far adrift as London and Madrid.9

This organization, as well as the linguistic diversity, presents both opportunities and challenges for the researcher who tackles these collections. On one hand, they are organized in a fashion that allows for excellent case studies of specific missions. On the other hand, whereas other missions, e.g. those to New Spain, New France, and Portuguese outposts and territories in Asia, are linguistically cohesive and tend to be in coherent collections, the organization of sources pertaining to the Jesuits in the Christian Orient requires a certain level of dexterity on the part of the researcher who wants to explore the Jesuit presence there more thoroughly. Nevertheless, there is a large corpus of sources that is ripe for further investigations, particularly for comparisons of Jesuit missions to the various communities of the Christian Orient and for seeing connections across geographic spaces rather than between each mission and Rome.

The documentary fracturing and geographic isolation are likewise reflected in the earliest published sources, which have long tended to focus on specific place names and are predominantly in French. The collocation of these sources dates back to nineteenth-century France, where an interesting combination of philhellenism, French nationalism, and an institutional effort on the part of the Society of Jesus stimulated the drive to provide coherent collections of sources on Jesuits in the Christian Orient. Looming large in this regard is the Jesuit historian and bibliographer, Auguste Carayon. While Carayon is perhaps best known as a historian of missions to New France (including Louisiana), his multi-volume Documents inédits concernant la Compagnie de Jésus included such remote missions as Louis Granger’s mission to Georgia in 1615.10 Likewise important is Carayon’s six-volume Relations inédites des missions de la Compagnie de Jésus a Constantinople et dans le levant au XVIIe siècle, which brings together a wide array of documents pertaining to individual seventeenth-century Jesuit missions throughout Greece and the Levant, such as the 1642 mission to Athens or the 1658 mission to Smyrna (modern-day Izmir, Turkey). In terms of cohesion, Carayon selected missions that he explained took place in "the Orient" and shared the common thread of being connected to an antique Christian past. He further explains: "numerous texts concerning the Indies, China, Japan, Canada, Paraguay, and other parts of the Americas have been written, which tell us of the work of our missionaries and the conversion of these vast counties to the Gospel. The missions of the Levant do not have any historians."11 Nevertheless, the cohesion of the missions in this collection is unclear beyond being missions to "the Orient," thereby not solving the problem of giving these missions—to borrow Carayon’s wording—a history. Also, by including only French sources, Carayon left out a large swath of the source base, in particular the Iberian and Italianate sixteenth century, precluding his collection from being the history that he desired.

This continues with a short collection of sources pertaining to French Jesuit missions in the Levant, published in 1869 by Émile Legrand.12 The nature of the collection reflects Legrand’s training as a Hellenist: The first eight chapters are primary sources pertaining to Jesuit efforts in a variety of classical Greek and early Christian locales,13 whereas the final chapter is a terse three-page summary of "some other places" of Jesuit activity. Coherence here too is lacking, beyond Legrand’s equation of the "Orient" with the Greeks and—as the final three-page synopsis presents it—the rest.

The most concerted effort to move beyond a francocentric or philhellenic approach came in the early part of the last century, with Antoine Rabbath’s two-volume multilingual collection of sources on Catholic missions to the early modern Christian Orient, which includes Jesuit missions as well as the efforts of other orders such as the Carmelites; it also includes letters from Eastern Christians, and adds Egypt to a conversation previously dominated by Greece, Anatolia, and the Levant.14 Rabbath compiled a large corpus of sources covering the years 1561–1825 in what is arguably the first effort to create a cohesive collection of sources for Catholic missionary activity in the Christian Orient. His effort in this regard is clear in the structure of the text: while it remains typical of the rest of the Documents inédits tradition in that the organization (and even the selection) of the sources is somewhat haphazard, Rabbath provided at the end of the first volume a chronological table of contents. While the collection is hardly exhaustive (and chronological gaps, e.g. 1596–1620, leave much to be desired), Rabbath’s work is an important first step away from the traditional survey of monolingual sources stemming from Greece and the Levant that pervaded the Documents inédits volumes published in the nineteenth century.

Much of the first half of the twentieth century provided source collections of ancillary documents tied to Jesuit efforts in the Christian Orient. This is particularly the case with the Maronites of Lebanon, the one group with which the Jesuits found particular success. An important contribution to the study of the Maronites is Tobias Anaissi’s Bullarium Maronitarum, a large collection of papal bulls, letters, and briefs.15 This collection, supplemented by Anaissi’s Collectio documentorum Maronitarum,16 emphasizes the role of the papacy in pushing for the Latinization of the Maronites as well as seeing the Jesuits as agents of papal expansion from the Council of Trent until the latter decades of the seventeenth century. For Anaissi, despite the increased presence of the French throughout the Ottoman Empire due to their alliance with the Ottomans,17 the papacy was an integral part of Jesuit-Maronite relations. This of course runs contrary to how such relationships were presented in the preceding Documents inédits, illustrating again the different ways in which primary-source collections present the Jesuit presence in the Christian Orient. This was the case for collections on Ethiopia as well, such as Camillo Beccari’s multi-volume Rerum Aethiopicarum scriptores occidentales, which brings together a wide array of sources on Catholics in Ethiopia, Jesuits included.18

The papal-oriented view of Jesuit ties in the Christian Orient likewise obtains in the work of Giorgio Levi della Vida, a historian and Semitic language specialist who was well versed in the Vatican’s holdings of ancient Islamic manuscripts. In 1948, Levi della Vida combined a heap of sources pertaining to Pope Gregory XIII’s (r.1572–85)19 attempt to convince the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (Jacobites) and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (in autocephalous communion with one another) to acknowledge papal primacy.20 In 1582, Gregory had sent Jesuits to the Copts, with the support of King Henry III of France (r.1574–1589), and had already been working with the Jacobites toward a more permanent union. This collection explores in particular the sojourn of Ignatius Na‘matallah, the deposed Jacobite patriarch of Antioch who traveled to Rome and even helped Gregory with the calendar that now bears his name. Levi della Vida’s effort thus compels scholars to see Catholic (and by extension Jesuit) activities in the Christian Orient as a complex web of communications between the papacy, European political leaders who patronized the missions, religious orders like the Society of Jesus, and the Eastern Christian communities themselves, rather than as isolated, haphazard missionary encounters—which is how many source collections have presented them.

The most systematic attempt to produce a collection of Jesuit sources on the Christian Orient is the six-volume Monumenta Proximi Orientis. The volumes focus on two geographic areas: Egypt and the Levant. While many of the documents found in Monumenta Proximi Orientis were produced in the previous collections I mentioned above, this collection marks an important break from the inédits tradition, for within its volumes are critical editions of the manuscripts with annotations, as well as details of previous publications and archival citations. The editors (Charles Libois for Egypt; Sami Kuri for the Levant) also included in their respective volumes extensive introductions, maps, historical context, bibliographies, as well as short biographies of key figures. That is not to suggest that the collections are without limitations. First, these volumes focus overwhelmingly on the sixteenth century. While Monumenta Proximi Orientis is a corrective of sorts given that the Documents inédits tended to focus on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries much to the detriment of the sixteenth century, those centuries are not as critically or systematically explored in Monumenta Proximi Orientis. This is particularly the case for the Levant. While the volumes on Egypt go right up to the suppression, the Levant is only explored to 1623.21 Second, the documents selected for these volumes are limited in scope: the Egypt volumes focus overwhelmingly on Jesuit efforts with the Copts, and the volumes on the Levant focus overwhelmingly on the Maronites. While much of this reflects the predominance of Jesuit activity in that time period, as the previous inédits tradition has shown, the Jesuits were in far more places than Egypt and Lebanon. Some locations, such as Babylon and Aleppo get some coverage, but other areas (e.g. Iran, Ethiopia, Greece, Turkey) are conspicuously absent; the Jesuit residence in Constantinople gets hardly any coverage at all. That said, Monumenta Proximi Orientis represents a concerted effort to do more than compile sources, but rather to treat them critically and without an attempt to link them to the types of bias that pervaded previous collections.

In sum, there is a significant corpus of archival evidence surrounding Jesuit activity in the Christian Orient. What becomes apparent given this source base, however, is one key issue: the nineteenth-century preponderance of French scholarship and its effort to compile sources in a systematic way means that much, but not all, of the source base has been presented in a fashion that gives perhaps undue emphasis to the role of the French in the Christian Orient.22 These collocations are in an important sense an extension of the centuries-old intellectual, linguistic, and cultural connections between France and Lebanon.23 These francophone collections suggest at the very least a decidedly French interest in the Christian Orient that, I think, stems from the involvement of the French in the Middle East over the course of the medieval and early modern periods, and is in some way a relic of figures such as William of Tyre and Frankish rule of Lebanon under the Crusader County of Odessa,24 the continual desires of kings like Henry III, Louis XIII (r.1610–1643), and Louis XIV (r.1643–1715) to Catholicize Orthodox Christians and Latinize Eastern Catholics with the help of (increasingly French) Jesuits over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and, finally, French political intervention in the region from Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt in 1798 and beyond the First World War.25

The Maronites themselves likewise came to recognize the benefits of relying on the French, especially as the move toward Latinization served the Maronites’ own political interests against the Ottomans and the Greeks.26 That is not to say that the French had a monopoly, of course: numerous collections—such as Giorgio Levi Della Vida’s as well as the Monumenta Proximi Orientis, mentioned above—counterbalance this by elucidating the importance of the papacy and non-French Jesuits. The next section addresses this fact, and illuminates that the ties between the Society of Jesus and the Christian Orient in particular were not the exclusive domain of the French, but hinged on a pan-Mediterranean network of exchange between Europe and Eastern Christian communities that has only recently been brought to light.


Studies on the Jesuits in the Christian Orient: A Geographical Sketch

Beyond the edited collections of sources, there have been a significant number of geographically specific case studies on the Jesuits in the Christian Orient. What becomes immediately apparent is that, like the sources, the Jesuit presence in the Christian Orient has been an important subject of inquiry in French scholarship, but not to the point of exclusion of Italian, Spanish, and even Portuguese studies. Likewise, English is now starting to find a historiographical voice in this conversation. This section presents an overview of the scholarship in order to lay bare how there are many strands of conversations, but only recently have these strands started to become intertwined. This section takes a clockwise trajectory geographically around the Eastern Mediterranean, beginning in Greece and Constantinople, moving to the Levant (in particular Lebanon and Syria), then to Egypt. It concludes with a short deviation from this in order to treat areas beyond Ottoman influence—Iran and Ethiopia—that have not been treated in relation to other Jesuit missions to Christian communities, but nevertheless should be seen as part of the Christian Orient.

In Ottoman Constantinople, the Society of Jesus had an active role in serving the spiritual needs of the city’s Christians, in particular the Latin community in Galata. The Jesuits were in the city throughout the late sixteenth century, such as the mission in the 1580s led by Giulio Mancinelli, who left behind rich descriptions and drawings of the city itself.27 Much in line with Jesuit scholarship elsewhere, scholars have focused on education in Galata and the Jesuits’ role as teachers.28 When exploring the Jesuits in early modern Constantinople, scholars have also placed particular emphasis on how much of the Jesuits’ activities depended upon French diplomatic power. This is particularly evident in Henri Fouqueray’s magisterial Histoire de la Compagnie de Jésus en France des origines à la suppression, which explores French Jesuits who traveled to Constantinople, particularly in light of their purportedly close alliance with the kings of France and their ambassadors to the Ottoman Empire.29 This partly stems from the relative stability30 that French Jesuits found under the protection of Philippe de Harlay, le Comte de Césy, Louis XIII’s ambassador to Constantinople from 1619 to 1640.31 Likewise, most of the studies of Césy’s embassy explore the Jesuits’ efforts in the city. François Canillac, for example, was the head of the Jesuit residence in the city, and thus has played a prominent role in the historiography, both in Francophone and, more recently, English scholarship.32

In terms of sheer volume, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine are unequivocally the most thoroughly studied areas of Jesuit activity in the Christian Orient. Much of this stems from the centrality of Jerusalem in Ignatian spirituality as well as the longstanding presence of Catholics in the Holy Land, above all the Jesuits’ Franciscan rivals.33 The most thoroughly investigated Christian sect with whom the Jesuits worked is the Maronite Catholics in Lebanon.34 Because of their historic ties to Rome and ostensible recognition of papal authority since at least 1215,35 the Maronites present for scholars interesting case studies of Jesuit missions, such as Girolamo Dandini’s in 1596.36 While eventually there would be splinter Catholic groups such as the Coptic Catholics in the eighteenth century, collectively known as Uniate churches, the Maronites are the only sect of the Christian Orient (save European merchant communities) that willfully submitted to papal primacy in toto.37 Because the Jesuits provided the Maronites with Syriac bibles as well as translations of important texts (e.g. Roman missals and the decrees of the Council of Trent),38 much of the scholarship surrounding the Maronites and their relationships with the Jesuits has focused, from the beginning, on spiritual reformation through textual corrections and book printing.39

Closely tied to this are studies on Maronite seminarians in Rome. As contact between Rome and Lebanon grew over the course of sixteenth century, and Jesuits were sent to the patriarchal monastery at Qannubin in 1577 and again in 1580, the need to train Maronite seminarians in Rome became obvious. By the early 1580s, Maronite seminarians were regularly studying at the Seminario Romano.40 In 1584, Pope Gregory XIII established the Maronite college, which he entrusted to the Jesuits. The central historiographical question surrounding the Maronite College is its role in papal-driven Latinization of the Maronites and how the seminarians studying in Rome impacted the process of moving the Maronites closer to Rome not only in terms of union but also in matters of doctrinal orthodoxy and liturgical orthopraxy.41 This has likewise been augmented by recent studies of how the Maronites themselves desired a stronger union with Rome for their own political ends, and sought union through ecclesiastical reform and Latinization. Scholars have also explored how the Jesuit missions have in some way shaped relationships between the Maronites and "the West."42

After Lebanon, Syria has received the most attention. This is particularly important, as Syria was the economic heart of the Ottoman Empire with important urban entrepôts connecting the Mediterranean to the Silk Road. Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century studies on Syria have surveyed the Jesuits and their experiences in Syria, and have not fully complicated the Jesuits’ efforts there in light of the larger geopolitical struggles that the Jesuits faced or in light of the difficulties that missionary efforts in the Ottoman Empire presented.43 This issue has likewise pervaded much of the recent scholarship.44 Nevertheless, these are foundational sources and provide an excellent overview of the Jesuits in Syria. Important as well are the larger contextual works that place the Jesuits and their efforts in the Christian Orient within the milieux of both Levantine Christian communities and Rome’s efforts to reach them.45

Recent studies have attempted to explore the Jesuits in Syria in more complex terms. In particular, much has been done to explore how the Jesuits—along with other Catholic missionary orders, in particular the Franciscans—navigated the political climate of the Ottoman world. Charles Frazee’s Catholics and Sultans, covering the entire period of Ottoman rule in Constantinople (1453–1923), gives a cursory exploration of the Jesuits’ efforts in the Ottoman world throughout the early modern period, as well as after the restoration.46 However, the Jesuits take a back seat overall and are presented as part of Rome’s efforts to spread its reach to the Christian Orient. This theme continues in Bernard Heyberger’s seminal study of Christians in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Levant, particularly in light of these communities’ relationships with the Catholic Church during the reforms that took place in the wake of the Council of Trent.47 Heyberger provides more than an overview of each community and its relationship to Rome. His focus on two centuries in the Levant rather than the entire Ottoman world over five centuries also allows Heyberger to take a thematic approach in exploring the numerous layers that impacted the experiences of Levantine Christian communities, as well as the Catholic Church’s (and by extension, the Jesuits’) efforts in the Levant. The thrust of the work is what Heyberger calls the "formation of a Catholic East," demonstrating that, by the time of the suppression of the Jesuits, there was a substantial level of success in creating Catholic communities in the Levant in the form of the Uniate churches. For Heyberger, the process of the Catholicization of the Christian Orient, even if incomplete, paralleled quite strongly the process of confessionalization as seen in early modern Europe. Eastern Catholic (but also non-Catholic) confession-building thus has become an important historiographical step in terms of understanding the process of the solidification of the identities of the Christian communities of the Levant as they paralleled similar processes in early modern Europe.48 Thus, Heyberger’s intervention is a significant move toward seeing more cohesion between Catholic missions as well as how Rome and the myriad communities of the Christian Orient interacted with one another on several levels. Yet, the Jesuits remain elements of a dialogue between East and West, rather than as participants in a complex dialogue between confessionalization and religious change in the early modern world. Heyberger’s work has nevertheless paved the way for studies of how the Jesuits navigated the poly-confessional nature of the Levant; it has also opened up avenues for exploring the Jesuits’ efforts in Levantine urban centers as a part of the larger historiographies of both Ottoman urban history as well as Jesuit urban ministries.49 While I am not suggesting that nuanced studies of the Jesuits in Syria did not exist prior to the 1990s (in fact, quite a few did),50 it nevertheless remains true that such studies were the exceptions that proved the rule, and only now is this historiographical turn toward seeing the complexities of these missions taking place.

This trajectory from chronicles to large surveys has also taken place in the historiography of the Jesuits in Egypt. Like most of the historiographies explored thus far, French predominated, and most of the Jesuits’ ties to Egypt have been studied in the context of the French community in Alexandria and the French consuls as the conduits to the Copts.51 Looming large in this regard is Charles Libois, editor of the volumes of the Monumenta Proximi Orientis dedicated to Egypt.52 In addition to his extensive commentaries on Jesuit sources, Libois has also produced important essays and a dissertation on the Jesuits in Egypt.53 He also wrote of their educational efforts in Egypt, but their school did not open until 1882, after two centuries of efforts with the Copts.54 Beyond these studies, however, the Jesuits in Egypt have been tied to the Catholic Church’s larger efforts to woo the Copts into accepting papal primacy or in light of the French monarchy’s efforts to spread its influence.55

Christian communities outside of the Ottoman world, namely those within Safavid Persia and Ethiopia, have likewise been explored on individual bases and in the context of Portuguese expansion, but never in light of Jesuit activity in the rest of the Christian Orient.56 Because the Jesuits were well aware of the connections between the communities of the Christian Orient themselves—Iranian and Ethiopian Christians included—omitting them from this essay would further the perception that, first, Iran and Ethiopia were not a part of the Christian Orient and, second, that early modern Europeans were ignorant of this reality. Regarding the Christian communities of the Safavid world, early studies reflect the chronicled nature of studies elsewhere, and this is the case regardless of language and scholars’ provenance. This is most apparent in the Jesuits’ missionary efforts inland from the Portuguese trading port of Hormuz on the Persian Gulf.57 Jesuits who traveled to Persia have similarly been placed into the context of the larger efforts of the Catholic Church to reach the Christian communities of Iran,58 or Portuguese efforts to circumvent Ottoman and Safavid power in the Persian Gulf.59 Little scholarship exists, however, on the seventeenth-century Jesuit missions to the Assyrian Church of the East, that church’s place throughout the Ottoman and Safavid realms, or its ties with other Christian sects. The Assyrian patriarchate was centered in Baghdad, which changed hands between the Ottomans and the Safavids on numerous occasions in the early modern period. Moreover, even after the city was definitively taken by the Ottomans in the late sixteenth century, the Assyrian Church’s ecclesiological jurisdiction extended well into the Safavid heartland. Thus, more needs to be said about explorations of Jesuit missions there, such as the 1606 mission conducted by the cousins Giorgio and Giovanni di Davit, whose report even includes a chart of travel distances from Aleppo to Baghdad to as far away as Portuguese Hormuz. Such studies would further illuminate the connections between the Jesuits and autocephalous Christian communities that often straddled borders, rather than depending on global sea lanes or imperial boundaries in order to delineate Jesuit activities.60

The other main non-Ottoman center of Eastern Christianity with which the Jesuits had ties was Ethiopia. Because of the manner in which Europeans viewed Ethiopia, that is to say, as the potential home of the famed Prester John,61 and then as an object of Portuguese imperial designs in the wake of Vasco da Gama’s circumnavigation of Africa at the end of the fifteenth century, Ethiopia has not traditionally been seen as a part of the Christian Orient, despite the fact that Ethiopian Christians were Copts under the authority of the Patriarch of Alexandria—and Europeans were fully aware of this by the time the first Jesuits arrived there in the mid sixteenth century.62 Only in the past twenty years, however, has this been taken into account in the scholarship.63 As a result, Ethiopia has remained linked to the historiography of exploration and the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean world. This is particularly evidenced by the fact that many of the sources pertaining to Ethiopia held in ARSI are in collections for Portuguese Goa. Regarding the Jesuits, studies treating missions to Ethiopia are only now starting to detach these efforts from the larger efforts of the Portuguese,64 and there is now better recognition that the larger geopolitical shifts in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean Worlds compelled the Jesuits to travel to Ethiopia with French backing via Ottoman Egypt, not around Africa with Portuguese protection.65 This shift demonstrates that the Jesuits saw Ethiopia as a node connecting the Mediterranean and Ottoman Egypt to the north with Portuguese colonies to the east in Goa and Hormuz, not as a distant land disconnected from the Mediterranean.

In sum, non-Ottoman lands such as Iran and Ethiopia have been explored solely as areas of Jesuit activity tied to Jesuit missions in Asia and India, and have not been adequately linked to the larger nexus of communities in the Christian Orient and the Jesuits’ interactions with them, or with the more complex connections concerning Eurasia and the African horn that have been made elsewhere.66

What becomes apparent in this survey of the Jesuit presence in the Christian Orient is its splintered nature. Studies have tended to be geographically narrow, linked to particular European nations’ evangelizing goals, or sometimes both, with little effort to find larger connections between the Christian communities to whom the Jesuits evangelized. This presents three immediate problems: First it ignores the fact that the Jesuits understood that these Christian communities were often in communion with one another (e.g. Copts and Jacobites), or were rivals, (e.g. Greeks and Copts; Maronites and Jacobites); second, it presumes that Jesuit missions to the Christian Orient occurred solely as dialogues between European sponsors (e.g. particular popes or kings) and individual communities, with Jesuits as their intermediaries; third, it excludes parts or the whole of particular Christian communities, such as the Copts and the Assyrian Church of the East, both of which straddled imperial boundaries. In the next section, I will address these issues as I attempt to explore current lacunae and avenues for future research that will fill in some of the gaps that the current historiographical trends have left.


Toward a Connected History of the Jesuits in the Christian Orient

The exploration above lays bare how the historiography of the Jesuits in the Christian Orient has tended to center on either isolated case studies or as a part of larger surveys. Likewise, studies have overwhelmingly emphasized the papacy’s larger global vision on one hand or European states’ (e.g. France’s or Portugal’s) use of evangelization as a tool of empire on the other. While both historiographical undercurrents are quite useful in unpacking the motivations behind why the Jesuits were sent to the Christian Orient, they are a straightjacket of sorts: they do not help us understand the complexities of why Jesuits were so willing to go to the Christian Orient or what they did while there. For this reason, the historiography of the Jesuits in the Christian Orient is still evolving and is at the point where more studies are needed to enrich the conversation. At the end of the previous section, I stated that three issues have developed out of how the Jesuit presence in the Christian Orient has been studied. In a sense, this current section serves as a corrective of sorts to those three issues and provides avenues for how to move the conversation forward.

The first such issue is that, in a very real sense, no cohesive entity known as the Christian Orient, with communities in universal communion, existed. As I said in the beginning of this essay, there were disparate but interrelated Christian communities in what early modern Europeans called the East or Orient. In some cases, such as with the Copts of Egypt and Ethiopia and the Jacobites of Syria, they were in autocephalous communion; in other cases, such as with the Armenians and the Greeks, there were gradations of mutual antipathy. However, no study of the Jesuits (or any Catholic order for that matter) has taken this reality (and the Jesuits’ recognition of it) into account and explored how the Jesuits played two groups against the middle in order to evangelize both, or how they navigated the reality of alienating one Christian group in order to evangelize another. Or, to cite one example, no analysis of how the Jesuits worked with the Jacobites in Syria in order to woo the Copts (with whom they were in communion) has been undertaken. There is a substantial evidentiary base for such explorations, and triangulations of the Jesuits and multiple sects have only been presented in a cursory way. Given that the Jesuits established missions in places as disparate as Athens, Naxos, Cairo, Aleppo, and Hormuz, it is equally important to recognize how those missions affected the Jesuits’ relationships with Christian communities that shared a mutual antipathy or that were in communion. For example, how would Greeks on Naxos react to Jesuits working with Jacobites in Aleppo, which would have presumably been ill received by Aleppine Greeks? Given the interconnectivity of the eastern Mediterranean and Eurasia, as well as the networks of communication that connected Mediterranean societies with the larger world, the Christian Orient included, studies on the Jesuits’ efforts in the Christian Orient as the product of global encounters or as a part of the history of the Christian Orient itself, particularly in English, are long overdue.

The second issue emanating from these historiographical trends—that Jesuit missions to the Christian Orient occurred solely as dialogues between European sponsors (e.g. Rome, Portugal, France) and individual communities with Jesuits as their intermediaries—has linked the Jesuits to the larger historiographies of confessionalization and empire building. I am not suggesting that this has not been nor cannot be fruitful. In fact, there is still much more to be said about how French Jesuits worked with the French crown and its agents throughout the Christian Orient as an arm of early modern statecraft as well as to combat religious strife from within. Nevertheless, Jesuit missions throughout the Christian Orient have not been studied on their own terms or as part of the Society’s larger apostolic mission. Much work still remains in terms of studying the Jesuits’ efforts on the missions themselves in terms of how they stack up to Ignatius’s original vision for the Society, as well as how the Jesuits’ (both in the Jesuit curia in Rome and on mission) views of the Christian Orient deviated from their papal and royal sponsors’ objectives. As a result, many of the studies have tended to emphasize the Jesuits’ patrons’ goals rather than the larger issues that the Jesuits faced or the Society’s own vision for itself. By linking the Jesuits to their sponsors’ goals, rather than studying the Jesuits’ efforts in terms of cultural accommodation and the respective goals of the Society as well as individual Jesuits, scholars have not properly seen the Jesuits as agents of religious change, nor have they adequately explored the evolution of confessional identities in the Christian Orient. The caveat to this, of course, is that monarchs and popes nevertheless were the Jesuits’ patrons for their missions to the Christian Orient. Thus, new studies on the Jesuits’ efforts in the Christian Orient cannot ignore their relationships with their benefactors. Rather, scholars now have the opportunity to further complicate the Jesuits’ missionary efforts in light of how scholars have treated the efforts of say, France67 and the papacy,68 to extend their influence beyond Europe.

The third issue is the integration of the Christian communities outside of Ottoman influence, namely Ethiopia and Persia, into the rest of the Christian Orient. Because scholars have long oriented these Christian communities toward the Indian Ocean world and Asia—rather than as nodes between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean—they have not been treated as a part of a larger whole. Likewise, organizing studies of Jesuit missions according to sea space is also partly an extension of linking Jesuit missions to particular European nations’ global expansion rather than as a part of the larger process of global interconnectivity in the early modern world.69 While it is undoubtedly true that Europeans only reached Ethiopia and Hormuz en masse after Vasco da Gama’s voyage, and a Jesuit presence there was often contingent upon Portuguese suzerainty, linking these missions to India/Asia while simultaneously ignoring their Mediterranean/Ottoman contacts, as well as how the ebbs and flows of these Christian communities often ignored imperial boundaries, misses three important links. First, as I just mentioned regarding cross-confessional interaction between Christian sects, communication between Ethiopian and Egyptian Copts up and down the Nile was continuous and hardly clandestine. Second, Safavid-Ottoman relations, the ever-shifting nature of their shared border, and the relative stability that the Safavids brought to Persia meant that Christians in Persia were hardly isolated from Christians to their immediate west; in the case of the Assyrians its patriarchate, which the Jesuits visited on multiple occasions, extended across imperial borders. And archival and printed sources articulate this very fact. Likewise, there is a substantial corpus of evidence that the Jesuits tried to reach Ethiopia via the Nile once the Ottomans thwarted the Portuguese in the Arabian Sea;70 there was similarly a steady stream of correspondence between Jesuits in Egypt and their counterparts as far away as Goa, without Rome serving as a missionary metropole. Third, non-Portuguese Jesuits frequented Persia via the Silk Road rather than via the Portuguese routes around Africa, and could count by the day how long the journey was from Aleppo to Hormuz.

Thus, further explorations of these extra-Ottoman Christian communities as points of departure for communication between the Mediterranean theater and Jesuit missions elsewhere would deeply enrich our understanding of the networks that the Jesuits used, especially extra-European ones, such as the Ottoman-controlled Nile River or Eurasian trade networks that provided access to the Silk Road beyond Aleppo.

In sum, despite its fragmentation, the historiography of the Jesuits in the Christian Orient is rich indeed. Nevertheless, enriching it further hinges, I believe, on moving toward more coherence and seeing the Society of Jesus and its relationships with the various sects of the Christian Orient beyond the purview of European empire building or geographical specifics. A complete exploration of the early modern Jesuits in the Christian Orient would perhaps be far more work than one scholar could tackle, and in many ways the microhistorical case-study approach will probably maintain. Nevertheless, this does not preclude seeing the Jesuits in the Christian Orient as a part of a larger inter-confessional dialogue between complex nodes of exchange and interaction, and such explorations are already being undertaken.71 This will help nuance our understanding of how these missions took place and how they were related to one another. The result of such inter-mission connectivity will integrate the Jesuits into the studies of the links between Christian communities, will expand our understandings of the Jesuits’ ties to their patrons, and will help scholars recognize the links between Jesuit missions to Christians in the Mediterranean with those in the Indian Ocean World, Asia, and even the Americas.



In this essay, I have attempted to give an overview of both the source base as well as the historiographical conversation to date concerning the Jesuits in the Christian Orient before the suppression. What becomes immediately apparent, whether because of the organization of manuscripts or the evolution of the historiography, is that the Jesuits’ efforts to Catholicize the early modern Christian Orient have been explored as epiphenomena stemming from individual patrons’ desires to pull Christian communities into their respective spheres of influence. The various missions have thereby been explored as either this, or either that, rather than pieces parts of a more complex whole. While this has not been an unfruitful historiographical undercurrent by any stretch, it nevertheless reflects a resistance of sorts against exploring how the missions functioned together. Likewise, the natural inclination to study geographically specific spheres or particular communities (rarely in light of others), means that, to cite just one example, much of the work of scholars working on the Levant has not adequately been appreciated by scholars working on Egypt, and vice versa. While local peculiarities as well as political and religious differences must be taken into account, it nonetheless obtains that these missions were linked to one another, and not always via Rome, Lisbon, or Paris: often, the Jesuits were sent directly from one Christian community to another, without ever returning to Europe; and they often learned lessons in one theater that they in turn applied in another.

This essay thus calls for, first, an exploration of the Jesuits in the Christian Orient that is cognizant of the historiographical trajectory thus far. It would be a mistake to cast aside the important case studies that have illuminated much about the relationships that the Jesuits established both with their patrons as well as with the Christians whom they attempted to evangelize. Second, this essay calls for a nuanced, syntopical exploration of the Jesuit presence in the Christian Orient that seeks to move beyond provincialized studies of particular missions, toward a fuller assessment of these missions as an interrelated series of interactions between the Jesuits and a wide array of Christians as well as between disparate Jesuit missionary theaters. This will not only help reconstruct the experience of the Jesuits in the Christian Orient; it will also more fully illuminate the nature of the Jesuits’ global evangelizing mission. In so doing, we will see the Society of Jesus’s relationship with the early modern Christian Orient as part and parcel of a wider, increasingly globalized world where historiographically traditional borders and differences are diminished, replaced instead by exchanges and connections between worlds.72


For more bibliographical information, consult Boston College Jesuit Bibliography: The New Sommervogel Online (NSO).


^ Back to text1. Luís Gonçalves da Cȃmara, Acta Patris Ignatii scripta a P. Lud. da Cȃmara, in Monumenta Proximi Orientis, vol. 1, ed. Sami Kuri (Rome: Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, 1989), 5.

^ Back to text2. John W. O’Malley, The First Jesuits (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 24–26.

^ Back to text3. Francisco de Borja Medina, "Ignacio de Loyola y el mar: Su política mediterránea," Revista de historia naval 13, no. 50 (July 1995): 11–56.

^ Back to text4. For example, Charles A. Frazee, Catholics and Sultans: The Church and the Ottoman Empire, 1453–1923 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983).

^ Back to text5. Dauril Alden, The Making of an Enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, Its Empire, and Beyond, 1540–1750 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996).

^ Back to text6. Cf. Sally McKee, Uncommon Dominion: Venetian Crete and the Myth of Ethnic Purity (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000).

^ Back to text7. For an excellent case study on European "nations" in the Ottoman world, see Eric Dursteler, Venetians in Constantinople (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).

^ Back to text8. Cf. Luke Clossey, Salvation and Globalization in the Early Jesuit Missions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

^ Back to text9. E.g. Archivio della Sacra Congregazione di Propaganda Fide, Archivio di Stato di Roma, Archivum Secretum Vaticanum, Archivio di Stato di Venezia, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, Biblioteca de la Real Academia de la Historia in Madrid, and British Library.

^ Back to text10. Auguste Carayon, ed., Documents inédits concernant la Compagnie de Jésus, vol. 20: Missions des jésuites dans Russie (Poitiers: Oudin, 1869), 239–62. Cf. volume 21, Missions des jeìsuites dans l’archipel grec.

^ Back to text11. August Carayon, ed., Relations inédites des missions de la Compagnie de Jésus a Constantinople et dans le Levant au XVIIe siècle (Poitiers: H. Oudin, 1864), xv.

^ Back to text12. Emile Legrand, ed., Relation de l’etablissement des PP. de la Compagnie de Jésus en Levant (Paris, Maisonneuve, 1869).

^ Back to text13. The place names are Constantinople, Chios, Smyrna, Aleppo, Damascus, Naxos, Nafplio, Patras, Paros, and Athens.

^ Back to text14. Antoine Rabbath, ed., Documents inédits pour servir à l’histoire du christianisme en Orient (XVI–XIX siècles), 2 vols. (Paris: AMS Press, 1905; 1910).

^ Back to text15. Tobias Anaissi, ed., Bullarium Maronitarum... (Rome: M. Bretschneider, 1911).

^ Back to text16. Tobias Anaissi, ed., Collectio documentorum Maronitarum... (Livorno: Typ. G. Fabbreschi, 1921).

^ Back to text17. On the Ottomans and the French, see Christine Isom-Verhaaren, Allies with the Infidel: The Ottoman and French Alliance in the Sixteenth Century (London: I. B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2011).

^ Back to text18. Camillo Beccari, Rerum Aethiopicarum scriptores occidentales: Inediti a saeculo XVI ad XIX (Rome: C. de Luigi, 1903–1917). His first name is often also spelled Cammillo.

^ Back to text19. Dates of the reigns of popes, patriarchs, and monarchs appear at the respective individual’s first mention.

^ Back to text20. Giorgio Levi Della Vida, Documenti intorno alle relazioni delle chiese orientali con la S. Sede durante il pontificato di Gregorio XIII (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1948).

^ Back to text21. Sami Kuri’s, three-volume Une histoire du Liban à travers les archives des jésuites (Beirut: Dar el-Machreq, 1985), covers the period 1816–63. But the large window between 1623 and 1816 leaves much to be desired. Given the large source base on the Jesuit missions on the Levant after 1623, those sources are in dire need of a critical edition.

^ Back to text22. Because of the preponderance of French source collections, as well as the numerous studies on French language instruction and the role of French Jesuits, diplomats, and merchants in the Levant as well as Egypt, it appears that French as an instrument of cultural and political ties between France and the Christian Orient are stronger than they actually were. In the sixteenth century, the Jesuits sent to the Christian Orient tended to be Spanish and Italian, not French; yet, scholarship and collections of sources have ignored this fact, or at least presented it as superficial to the role of the French, which did not become predominant within the Society of Jesus until the seventeenth century. Even when monarchs such as Henry III and Henry IV (r.1589–1610) began sponsoring Jesuit missions to Egypt, it was still not until well into the seventeenth century that the Jesuits themselves were French. The most direct examples of this are the Italians, Giovanni Battista Eliano (Lebanon, 1577–79, 1580–82; Egypt, 1561–62, 1582–85), Girolamo Dandini (Lebanon, 1596–97), and Giulio Mancinelli (Constantinople, 1583–85).

^ Back to text23. The scholarship on the role of French as an intellectual language in Lebanon has a long lineage, and disproves the later belief that it was the Mandate itself that allowed French to become the academic language of Lebanon. See Pierre Rondot, Les institutions politiques du Liban: Des communautés traditionnelles à l’état moderne (Paris: Institut d’études de l’Orient contemporain, 1947); Pierre Raphael, Le rôle du Collège Maronite romain dans l’orientalisme aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Beirut: Université Saint Joseph, 1950); Etienne de Vaumas, La répartition de la population au Liban introduction à la géographie humaine de la république libanaise (Cairo: Impr. de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale, 1953); Sélim Abou, "Le bilinguisme arabe-franc̨ais au Liban: Essai d’anthropologie culturelle" (PhD diss, University of Paris, 1962); Jean-Claude Berchet, Le voyage en Orient: Anthologie des voyageurs français dans le Levant au XIXe siècle (Paris: R. Laffont, 1985); Theodor Hanf, Coexistence in Wartime Lebanon: Decline of a State and Rise of a Nation (London: I.B. Tauris, 1993); Henri Lammens, La Syrie: Précis historique (Beirut: Editions Dar Lahad Khater, 1994); William W. Harris, Lebanon: A History, 600–2011 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).

^ Back to text24. Bernard Ghobaïra al-Ghaziri, Rome et l’église syrienne-maronite d’Antioche (517–1531): Théses, documents, lettres (Beirut: Khalil Sarkis, 1906); Robert W. Crawford, "William of Tyre and the Maronites," Speculum 30, no. 2 (April 1955): 222–28; Kamal S. Salibi, "The Maronites of Lebanon under Frankish and Mamluk Rule (1099–1516)," Arabica 4, no. 3 (September 1957): 288–303.

^ Back to text25. This is not to suggest some sort of teleology for the Mandate, rather solely that French interests in the region are longstanding, and the Mandate has thus tinted how we see past French activities there. This is likewise the case for the crusades. See Jonathan Simon Christopher Riley-Smith, The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).

^ Back to text26. On the political landscape of Lebanon before the advent of the Jesuits, see Kamal S. Salibi, “The Muqaddams of Bšarrī: Maronite Chieftains of the Northern Lebanon 1382–1621,” Arabica 15, no. 1 (February 1968): 63–86. On Mamluk rule in Syria, see Michael Winter and Amalia Levanoni, eds., The Mamluks in Egyptian and Syrian Politics and Society (Leiden, 2004). Under the Mamluks, and under the Ottomans in the first half of the sixteenth century, the Maronites faced minimal pressures. However, this began to change after the reign of Suleiman (r.1520–1566). This is apparent in 1577, when Mihail ar-Ruzzy (r.1567–1581), the Maronite patriarch, requested that Pope Gregory XIII send Jesuits to aid the Maronites after Ottoman officials arrested a couple of Maronite monks who had overseen the construction of a chapel without seeking prior Ottoman approval. For this request, see ARSI, Gall. 95 II f. 23r. Sami Kuri, ed., Monumenta Proximi Orientis, vol. I (Rome: Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, 1989), 43.

^ Back to text27. Vincenzo Ruggieri, "Constantinopoli vista da P. Giulio Mancinelli S.J. (1583–1585)," Revue des études byzantines 60, no. 1 (2002): 113–31; Robert John Clines, "Fighting Enemies and Finding Friends: The Cosmopolitan Pragmatism of Jesuit Residences in the Ottoman Levant," Renaissance Studies, forthcoming. For Mancinelli’s description of Constantinople, see ARSI, Vitae 51, ff. 58–64.

^ Back to text28. Eric Dursteler, "Education and Identity in Constantinople’s Latin Rite Community, c. 1600," Renaissance Studies 18, no. 2 (2004): 287–303.

^ Back to text29. Henri Fouqueray, Histoire de la Compagnie de Jésus en France des origines à la suppression (1528–1762), vol. 3 (Paris: A. Picard et Fils, 1922), 606–35.

^ Back to text30. Though this does not suggest that the Jesuits did not find struggles in the capital city under Césy’s protection. See Adina Ruiu, "Conflicting Visions of the Jesuit Missions to the Ottoman Empire, 1609–1628," Journal of Jesuit Studies 1, no. 2 (2014): 260–80 (doi: 10.1163/22141332-00102007).

^ Back to text31. Henri Fouqueray, "La Mission de France a Constantinople durant l’ambassade de M. de Césy," Études 113 (1907): 70–101.

^ Back to text32. Guy Turbet-Delof, "Un jésuite à Constantinople (1609–1612): Le Père François de Canillac," Dix-septième siècle 157 (1987): 427–30. Cf. Ruiu, "Conflicting Visions."

^ Back to text33. Any investigation of the Jesuits in and around Jerusalem must begin with their relations with the Franciscans and their Venetian protectors. See Martiniano Pellegrino Roncaglia, ed., La république de Venise et les lieux saints de Jérusalem: Documents inédits du XVe aux XIXe s.: Tirés des archives privées du Couvent de St. François-de-la-Vigne de Venise (Beirut: Dar Al-Kalima, 1972); Michele Piccirillo, ed., La custodia di Terra Santa e l’Europa: I rapporti politici e l’attività culturale dei francescani in medio oriente (Rome: Il veltro, 1983).

^ Back to text34. There were also Maronite communities scattered throughout the Levant as well as on Cyprus. On the Cypriot Maronites, see Simone Paturel, "Reconstructing the History of the Cypriot Maronites," Journal of Cyprus Studies 15, no. 37 (September 2009): 19–39.

^ Back to text35. On the Maronites’ participation in the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, see John C. Moore, Pope Innocent III (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 228–52.

^ Back to text36. Carmelo Capizzi, "Un gesuita italiano di fine Cinquecento per i maroniti," Studi e ricerche sull’Oriente christiano 1 (1978): 19–36.

^ Back to text37. It is important to note the distinction between recognition of papal primacy and Catholic orthopraxy/orthodoxy. While the Maronites were ostensibly Catholic since 1215 in that they recognized papal authority, Jesuit missionaries throughout the early modern period repeatedly lamented to their superiors that significant heresies obtained in the Maronites’ beliefs and practices, which they believed stemmed from their close proximity to the Greek Orthodox and, most dangerously given their perceived monophysitism, the Jacobites. This is particularly evident in Girolamo Dandini’s travelogue, in which he exhaustively explored the Catholic and non-Catholic elements of the Maronites’ religiosity. See Girolamo Dandini, Missione apostolica al patriarca, e maroniti del Monte Libano e sua pellegrinazione à Gierusalemme alla Santità di N.S. Alessandro VII (Cesena: Neri, 1656).

^ Back to text38. An introduction to Trent is equally important in this regard. See John W. O’Malley, Trent: What Happened at the Council (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013).

^ Back to text39. Alberto Vaccari, "I caratteri arabi della ‘Typographica Savariana,’" Revista degli studi orientali 10 (1923–25): 37–47; Alberto Vaccari, "Una bibbia araba per il primo gesuita venuto al Libano," Mélanges Université Saint Joseph 10 (1925): 79–104.

^ Back to text40. On the Seminario Romano, see Luca Testa, Fondazione e primo sviluppo del Seminario Romano (1565–1608) (Rome: Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 2002).

^ Back to text41. Pierre Raphael, Le rôle du Collège Maronite romain dans l’orientalisme aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Beirut: Université Saint Joseph, 1950); Nasser Gemayel, Les échanges culturels entre les maronites et l’Europe: Du Collège Maronite de Rome (1584) au Collège de `Ayn-Warqa (1789) (Beirut: Impr. Y. et Ph. Gemayel, 1984); Matti Moosa, The Maronites in History (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1986), 267–78.

^ Back to text42. Henry Laurens, "Le liban et l’Occident: Récit d’un parcours," Vingtième siècle: Revue d’histoire, no. 32 (December 1991): 25–32; Elias Azziz, "La reforme monastique au Mont Liban dans son contexte ecclésial (XVIIe–XVIIIe siecles)" (PhD diss., University of Strasbourg, 1998).

^ Back to text43. Louis Axiver Abougit, "Les derniers missionnaires de l’ancienne Compagnie à Alep," Lettres de mold, IV: (1887–1888): 20–30, 170–8; George Levenq, La première mission de la Compagnie de Jésus en Syrie 1625–1774 (Beirut: Imprimerie Catholique, 1925); Gabriel Lebon, Missionnaires jésuites du Levant dans l’ancienne Compagnie, 1523–1820 (Beirut: St. Joseph’s University Press, 1935).

^ Back to text44. Sami Kuri, "Vocations orientales a la Compagnie de Jesus aux XVIe, XVIIe, et XVIIIe siècles," Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu 56, no. 111 (January 1987): 117–54.

^ Back to text45. Giorgio Fedalto, La chiesa latina in Oriente (Verona: Mazziana, 1973).

^ Back to text46. Charles A. Frazee, Catholics and Sultans: The Church and the Ottoman Empire, 1453–1923 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983).

^ Back to text47. Bernard Heyberger, Les chrétiens du Proche-Orient au temps de la Réforme Catholique: Syrie, Liban, Palestine, XVIIe–XVIIIe siècles (Rome: Ecole française de Rome, 1994).

^ Back to text48. Robert John Clines, "Confessional Politics and Religious Identity in the Early Jesuit Missions to the Ottoman Empire," (PhD diss., Syracuse University, 2014).

^ Back to text49. Clines, "Fighting Enemies and Finding Friends," Renaissance Studies, forthcoming. Cf. Thomas M. Lucas, Saint, Site, and Sacred Strategy: Ignatius, Rome and Jesuit Urbanism (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1990).

^ Back to text50. Georg Hofmann, "Apostolato dei gesuiti nell’Oriente greco, 1583–1773," Orientalia christiana periodica 1 (1935): 139–63; Pietro Pirri, "Sultan Yahya e P. Claudio Acquaviva," Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu 13 (1944): 62–76; Roberto Amalgià, "Giovan Battista e Girolamo Vecchietti, viaggiatori in Oriente": Atti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei 9 (1956): 313–50.

^ Back to text51. Raoul Clément, Les français d’Égypte aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Cairo: Impr. de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale, 1960).

^ Back to text52. Libois himself is Dutch, despite his French name.

^ Back to text53. Charles Libois, S.J., "Les jésuites de l’ancienne Compagnie en Egypte," Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu 51, no. 101 (January 1982): 161–89; Libois, "L’Egypte et les jésuites de l’ancienne Compagnie" (PhD diss., Pontifical Gregorian University, 1986).

^ Back to text54. Libois, "L’école des jésuites au Caire dans l’ancienne Compagnie," Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu 82, no. 164 (2013): 355–95. Cf. Catherine Mayeur, "Un collège jésuite face a la société multiconfessionnelle égyptienne: La Sainte-Famille du Caire (1879–1919)," Revue d’histoire de l’eglise de France 78, no. 201 (July 1992): 265–86.

^ Back to text55. Alastair Hamilton, The Copts and the West, 1439–1822: The European Discovery of the Egyptian Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).

^ Back to text56. António da Silva Rêgo, Documentação para a história das missões do Padroado Português do Oriente (Lisbon: Divisão de Publicaçãoes e Biblioteca Agência Geral das Colónias, 1947).

^ Back to text57. Arnold T. Wilson, "History of the Mission of the Fathers of the Society of Jesus Established in Persia by the Reverend Father Alexander of Rhodes," Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies 3, no. 4 (1925): 675–707; Ugo Tucci, "Una relazione di G. B. Vecchietti sulla Persia e sul regno di Hormuz 1587," Oriente moderno (1955): 149–60.

^ Back to text58. Annibale Bugnini, La chiesa in Iran (Rome: Edizioni Vincenziane, 1981); Enrique García Hernán, "Persia e la acción conjunta del papado y la monarquía hispánica: Aproximación a la actuación de la Compañía de Jesús (1549–1649)," Hispania sacra 62, no. 125 (2010): 213–41.

^ Back to text59. Dejanirah Couto, and Rui Loureiro, eds. Revisiting Hormuz: Portuguese Interactions in the Persian Gulf Region in the Early Modern Period (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2008); Floor and Edmund Herzig, eds. Iran and the World in the Safavid Age (London: I.B.Tauris, 2012).

^ Back to text60. For this relazione, see ARSI, Gall. 106, ff. 3r–6r.

^ Back to text61. Charles Beckingham, "European Sources for Ethiopian History before 1634," Paideuma 33 (1987): 167–78.

^ Back to text62. Harold G. Marcus, A History of Ethiopia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002) is an accessible survey of Ethiopian history.

^ Back to text63. Haggai Erlich, Ethiopia and the Middle East (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1994).

^ Back to text64. Leonardo Cohen, The Missionary Strategies of the Jesuits in Ethiopia (1555–1632) (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2009); Andreu Martínez d’Alòs-Moner, Envoys of a Human God: The Jesuit Mission to Christian Ethiopia, 1557–1632 (Leiden: Brill, 2015).

^ Back to text65. Robert John Clines, "Jesuit Thalassology Reconsidered: The Mediterranean and the Geopolitics of Jesuit Missionary Aims in Seventeenth-Century Ethiopia," Mediterranean Historical Review, 31, no. 1 (June 2016): 43–64.

^ Back to text66. Janet L. Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250–1350 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989).

^ Back to text67. A. Lynn Martin, The Jesuit Mind: The Mentality of an Elite in Early Modern France (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988); Gregory Hanlon, Confession and Community in Seventeenth-Century France (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993); Molly Greene, "Beyond the Northern Invasion: The Mediterranean in the Seventeenth Century," Past & Present, no. 174 (2002): 42–71; A.D. Wright, "French Policy in Italy and the Jesuits, 1607–38," Papers of the British School at Rome 75 (2007): 275–86; Cesare Cuttica, "Anti-Jesuit Patriotic Absolutism: Robert Filmer and French Ideas (c. 1580–1630)," Renaissance Studies 25, no. 4 (2011): 559–79; Phil McCluskey, "‘Les ennemis du nom chrestien’: Echoes of the Crusade in Louis XIV’s France," French History 29, no. 1 (March 1, 2015): 46–61.

^ Back to text68. Paolo Prodi, The Papal Prince (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987); Daniele Santarelli, Il papato di Paolo IV nella crisi politico-religiosa del Cinquecento (Rome: Aracne editrice, 2008); Stefania Tutino, Empire of Souls: Robert Bellarmine and the Christian Commonwealth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010); Paolo Broggio, "Roma, la produzione teologica e la vocazione universale del papato: Note critiche," Roma moderna e contemporanea 18, no. 1/2 (2010): 7–23; Massimo Carlo Giannini, Papacy, Religious Orders, and International Politics in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Rome: Viella, 2013).

^ Back to text69. Charles H. Parker, Global Interactions in the Early Modern Age, 1400–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

^ Back to text70. On this development, see Giancarlo L. Casale, The Ottoman Age of Exploration: Spices, Maps and Conquest in the Sixteenth-Century Indian Ocean (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). See also Clines, "Jesuit Thalassology Reconsidered," Mediterranean Historical Review, 31, no. 1 (2016): 43–64.

^ Back to text71. Robert John Clines "How to Become a Jesuit Crypto-Jew: The Self-Confessionalization of Giovanni Battista Eliano through the Textual Artifice of Conversion," The Sixteenth Century Journal, forthcoming.

^ Back to text72. Cf. Massimo Carlo Giannini, Papacy, Religious Orders, and International Politics in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Rome: Viella, 2013).

Cite this page
Robert John Clines, “The Society of Jesus and the Early Modern Christian Orient”, in: Jesuit Historiography Online. Consulted online on 30 March 2017 <>
First published online: 2016

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