Friday, September 2, 2016

Basil Stephanoff and the work in European Turkey

Rough draft, temporary post. This will change. Don't rely on it. It's preliminary. Usual rules. You may make a copy for yourself. Do not circulate it. Use this information cuatiously, knowing it will change in final form.

updated:




European Turkey

            The map of Europe as it was in 1880 hardly resembles that of today. Much of Eastern Europe was controlled by an oppressive Turkish government whose representatives robbed, raped and murdered Christians. Regional nationalism embroiled western governments. And at first autonomy and then independence came to that area. Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, a nominally anonymous Watch Tower publication, reported that, “During the late 1880’s, Basil Stephanoff had preached in Macedonia, in what was then European Turkey. Although some had seemed to show interest, certain ones who professed to be brothers made false reports, leading to his imprisonment.”[1]
            This is all drawn from two letters appearing in Zion’s Watch Tower. The real story is far more colorful and certainly more complex – and in places very hard to follow. Born in May 1862, in Macedonia,[2] then ruled by Turkey, we encounter him first in the June 1888, Watch Tower. Writing to Russell, he reported on his mission work in Macedonia:
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