“Thank you; we have the original.”

Most of the time, on this website, we talk about the history of Orthodoxy in the Americas. But it’s important to remember that, especially in the 19th century, American Protestant missionaries were traveling in the other direction, going to places like Greece and Syria in an effort to convert Orthodox Christians to Protestantism.

I recently stumbled upon an interesting book, Fair Athens, written by Elizabeth Edmonds in 1881. Edmonds recounted a story that I suspect readers of this website will appreciate:

To send missionaries here [to Greece], with the intention of evangelizing, is futile, and the answer of a Greek peasant to some active Americans bent upon his conversion is quite to the point and conclusive. A copy of the Testament was offered to him, in modern Greek. On the title page he read, “Translated from the original Greek.”

“Thank you,” he said, giving it back; “we have the original.”