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LETTEBXSIX THE CHURCH OF KOCHANES
precipitous heights above the Terpai, is a bold group of
rocks, on which the church dedicated to Mar Shalita is
built. The ruins of a former church, dedicated to Mart
Mariam, are higher up the alp. Below the rocks are a
great number of tombstones, with incised ornaments
upon them bearing the general name of crosses. The
church has nothing speci-
ally ecclesiastical in its
appearance. It has some
resemblance to a keep with
out-buildings, and its irreg-
ular form seems to have
been dictated by the con-
figuration of the rock. It
has no windows, and the
cruciform slits at a great
height look like loopholes.
It is indeed the ultimate
refuge of the Patriarch
and the villagers in case of a descent of the Kurds.
I walked all round it, through the poplar grove, with
its mirthful waters, among the tombs, and back by
the edge of the ravine to the west side without finding
a door. In truth the only entrance is up a rude and
very steep ladder, about ten feet high, with a rude door
at the top six inches thick, but only three feet high.
How old and infirm people get up and down I cannot tell.
So difficult is the access that I was glad to avail myself
of the vigorous aid of Mar Gauriel, who, having visited
England, is ready on all occasions with courteous atten-
tions to a lady. The reason of the low doors is said to
be that all may bow their heads on entering the house
of God, and that the Moslems may not stable their cattle
in the church. The entrance harmonises with the obvious
pervading motive of the design, which is inaccessibility.