The Biggest Foundation of German Missionary in the Near East: Syrian Orphanage (1860-1917)
Keywords: Germany, Jerusalem, Missionary, Ottoman Empire, Protestant, Syrian Orphanage
The second half of the 19th century and the fi rst quarter of the 20th century were the most active periods of the westerner missioners in the Ottoman Empire. The region that was regarded as the most important in the Ottoman Empire by the missioners was Jerusalem and surrounding which was considered as a holy city by the members of the three religions. The Syrian Orphanage that was founded by German missioner Johann Ludwig Schneller in Jerusalem was the biggest mission foundation of the region with regard to its missioner studies, quality of the education which was delivered to the children as well as the academic units, workshops and agricultural plants which were constituted within the foundation. At the beginning of the orphanage only boys were accepted but after a short time girls and blind children were also accepted and the needs of these children were provided by the foundation from primary education until vocational education. Although the orphanage accepted children from all the religions, the Schneller family, which was trying to constitute an "Arab protestant middle class" converted important part of the children to Protestantism. Furthermore at the beginning of the 20th century the workshops and the agricultural units, those actually belonged to the orphanage which was founded as charity, extended to such a great magnitude that turned into a large-scale commercial business which was active in very diff erent fi elds and Syrian Orphanage played an important role with regard to establishing of German infl uence in Jerusalem and surroundings.