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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

298                 JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN       LETTER xxix

The door opens into a small courtyard, partly pro-
tected by a wooden roof. At its farther end, in a recess
in its massive wall, is a small altar. Its west wall is
pierced so that the approach can be commanded. In
this courtyard the daily prayers are frequently said during
the warm weather. A few steps lead from this into a
building of two stories, a rude little house in fact, once
occupied by one of the Patriarchs, and latterly by the
late Eabban Yonan, a holy man, almost a hermit, whose
reputation for sanctity has extended far beyond the
limits of Kurdistan.

Eemoving our shoes, we entered the church through a
sort of porch, the lintel of which is ornamented with bas-
reliefs consisting of a cross in knot-work and side orna-
ments of the same, very rudely executed. The threshold
is elevated, and the lintel of the door only three feet
four inches high, so that the worshipper must bend again
before entering. It was a gloomy transition from the
bright October sunshine to the dark twilight within, and
even with the aid of candles the interior was only dimly
seen. It consists of a nave, about thirty-four feet long,
with a sanctuary, and a sacristy which also serves as the
baptistery, at the east end. The nave is lofty and with-
out seats. The worshippers stand during divine service,
even the aged and infirm only rest by leaning on their
cross-handled staffs. In the nave, below the screen of
the sanctuary, are three altars. On one, the " altar of
prayers/' the anthem books are laid; on another, the
" altar of the Gospels," is a copy of the Gospels wrapped
in a cloth, on which is a cross, which it is customary to
kiss; on the third there is also a cross. A very thick
wall separates the nave from the eastern chamber, which
in its turn is divided unequally into two parts. This
wall is pierced by a narrow chancel arch, and there is a
narrow platform behind the altars of prayer, etc., ascended