Missonary Activities of Carmelites under Coverage of Medical Services in Safavid Period

Document Type: Original Article


1 PhD student of history and civilization of Islamic nations at the University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 PhD, Associate professor, Faculty member of University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Carmelite missionaries as the Vatican’s ambassadors and representatives arrived in Iran since the reign of Shah Abbas I. They were engaged in the extension of catholic Christianity in Iran in various political, religious, cultural, and social arenas.
Carmelite missionaries came to Iran in order to strengthen the relationship between European states and the Safavids to form a coalition against the Ottoman Empire. As one of the most active missionary groups in Iran, Carmelites were able to identify the needs and shortcomings of the country in that period and penetrated among different classes of Iranian society. Through meeting the requirements of different social groups, Carmelite missionaries were pursuing their own religious and cultural objectives. Medical activities were among the most effective and important activities of Carmelite priests in Iran during the Safavid Period. As the most active Christian missionaries in Iran, Carmelite Fathers endeavored to provide medical and health services for the Safavid Court, ruling classes, and people from different walks of life in order to develop and expand Christianity in the Iranian Society. During their residence in Iran, many Carmelite priests, including Fr. Angelus of St. Joseph, wrote different books in order to introduce Iranian medicine to Europe. Some of them even translated Iranian medical books into European languages and published them in Europe. By taking advantage of analytical methodologies, authors of the present article intend to analyze the medical activities of Carmelite priests in the Safavid Period and then elaborate on the repercussions of such activities.