From the Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehquani
Sir, - As a fellow Christian from Iran, I warmly welcome the new
translation of the Bible into Persian (News, 3
October). In bearing the name "the Michaelian translation", it
witnesses to the faithful ministry of one who gave his life for the
Christian faith in Iran.
Allow me to correct, however, the reported quotation from Dr
Yagnasar, whom I, from the Anglican community in Iran, hold in high
regard. In quoting Tertullian, he is right to point to the
important witness of the blood of the martyrs, but is mistaken in
identifying this as "the seed of the gospel". The reference in
Apologeticus, chapter 50, is commonly translated: "The
blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."
The distinction is important in the context of Christianity in
Iran. We hear much about interest in the gospel from Persians
today, but those church members (Anglican and others) who have died
and suffered are part of a small community of the faithful remnant.
All expression of Christian faith is difficult in Iran, but
interest in the message of the gospel is easier than identification
with a community of fellow believers.
The prayers of many are that the blood of the martyrs will
strengthen expression of the gospel message through Christian
witness in faithful church communities.
Commissary of the Bishop in Iran
Bouverie Court, 6 The Lakes
Northampton NN4 7YD