Jerusalem, the New See of St James in
Jerusalem, The New See Of St. James In.
The city, sacred alike to the Jew, the Gentile, and the Turk, never felt the influence of Protestant teachings until the opening of the present era, and, strange to say, the destitute condition of the Jews first caused the appointment of two missionaries to Palestine. These were sent in 1818 by the North American Missionary Society, of Boston. In Europe, no action was taken until 1832: in this year the London Jewish Missionary Society also entered the field. In 1840, at last, the expedition of the great European Powers to the East gave rise to the hope that, though Protestantism might not immediately secure a strong foothold, the power of the Mohammedans at least would be broken, and an opening be made for Christian influences on the inhabitants of the sacred land. The great ambition of king Frederick William IV of Prussia was to establish a Protestant bishopric in the holy city; and when, at the ratification (July 15, 1840) of the treaty between the Christian and Mussulman Powers, he failed to obtain the desired support for his propitiation in favor of entire religious liberty for Eastern Christians, he dispatched a special embassy to the queen of England, the archbishop of Canterbury, and the bishop of London (recognizing in them the spiritual heads of the English Church), and proposed a plan for these two great Protestant nations Prussia and England — to establish and support in common a Protestant bishopric in Jerusalem, which should be equally shared in (i.e. alternately) by both the German Evangelical and the Anglican churches. "It was anticipated," says Dr. Hagenbach (Church Hist. 18th and 13th Cent. 2, 397 sq.), "that by this means Protestantism would be more firmly established, and an important center formed for missionary labors. While Prussia had formally united with England in the attainment of great ecclesiastical ends, it now seemed that England, by the position which Providence hall given her, was adapted to the realization of this plan; and the influence which she had gained as a European Power in the East and in Jerusalem, encouraged the hope without, while it was inwardly strengthened by the fixed forms of her ecclesiastical character, and by the halo of her episcopal dignity." Of course, people differed in their opinion concerning the proposition. There were many eminent German theologians who doubted the wisdom of affiliating with the English Church, which they decried as one of exterior formalism, etc., while, amongst the English, many hesitated to cast in their lot with German rationalistic divines. But the plan was, after all, adopted by the higher clergy of England, as well it might be, for it secured to them not only the first selection, but Prussia also stipulated that the bishopric to be formed at the Church of St. James, in Jerusalem, should be after the plan of the Established Church in England, and that the stationed bishop, though he be a German, should receive his appropriate consecration at the hands of the primate of the Anglican Church (the archbishop of Canterbury), and subscribe to the 39 articles of the Establishment. The plea which the English clergy made on its adoption was that it gave rise to the hope of bringing about by this means a reconciliation between the two denominations: the archbishop even expressed, on the occasion, the hope that this would lead to "a unity of discipline as well as of doctrine between our own Church and the less perfectly constituted of the Protestant churches of Europe." The endowment of the bishopric was fixed at £30,000 sterling, to insure the bishop a yearly income of £1200. The bishop was to be named alternately by England and Prussia, the primate of England, however, having the right to veto the nomination of the latter. The protection to be afforded to the German Evangelists is provided for by the ordinances of 1841-2, containing the following specifications: 1st. The bishop will take the German congregation under his protection, and afford them all the assistance in his power. 2d. He will be assisted by competent German ministers, ordained according to the ritual of the Church of England, and required to yield him obedience. 3d. The liturgy is to be taken from the received liturgies of the Prussian Church, carefully revised by the primate. 4th. The rite of confirmation is to be administered according to the form of the English Church. In the meanwhile, an act of Parliament, under date of Oct. 5, 1841, decided that persons could be consecrated bishops of the Church of England in foreign countries without thereby becoming subjects of the crown, but that such would also take the oath of allegiance to the archbishop, in order that they, and such deacons and ministers as they might ordain, may have the right to fulfill the same functions in England and Ireland. In consequence, Dr. M'Caul, of Ireland, having declined the appointment, Dr. Michael Salomon Alexander, professor of Hebrew and Rabbinical literature at Christ's College, London, a converted Jew, and formerly a Prussian subject (having been born in Polish Prussia in 1799), was made first incumbent of the new bishopric. He died Nov. 23, 1845, near Cairo. His successor was Samuel Gobat, of Cremine, canton Berne, a student of the Basle Mission House, nominated by Prussia, and experienced for missionary labors by his residence in Abyssinia. Since then, the news from Jerusalem has been gratifying. Jan. 21, 1849, a newly-created Evangelical church, called Christ Church, situated on Mount Zion, was dedicated. The Gospel is preached there in Hebrew, English, German, French, Spanish, and Arabic. Belonging to it are a burial ground; a school attended by the children of Jews, Mohammedans, and different Christian denominations; a hospital for the Jews, in which they have an opportunity of hearing the Scriptures; a hospital for proselytes, etc., which is attended to by deaconesses; a house of industry for proselytes, and an industrial school for Jewish females. The number of Jewish converts averages from seven to nine annually. In consequence of the firman granting to Protestants the same rights as are possessed by other churches, they have established small schools in Bethlehem, Jaffa, Nablus, and Nazareth.
For accurate accounts, see Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 6, 503 sq.; Abeken, Das evangelische Bisthum in Jerusalem (Berlin, 1842). (J.H.W.)