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300                  JOTJKNEYS IN KURDISTAN      LETTEE xxis

till the annual village festival, at which the Kourlana is
always celebrated.1

The whole interior of the church of Kochanes is
covered by a plain vaulted stone roof. At the west
end of the nave is a row of oblong stone tombs, four
feet high, in which several of the patriarchs are buried;
and a steep narrow stone stair leads from these to a
small door high up in the north wall, which gives access
to a small chamber in which the priest prepares and
bakes the bread for the Holy Communion. The flour
for this purpose is preferably of wheat which has been
gleaned by girls. It is ground in a hand-mill and is
mixed with "holy leaven," handed on from sacrament to
sacrament. The bread is made into round cakes, a
quarter of an inch thick and two and a half inches in
diameter, which are stamped with a cross. Great import-
ance is attached to the elements, and the water used for
mixing with the sacramental wine is always brought from
the purest spring within reach.2

On one side of this upper chamber, at a height of four
feet, there is the mouth of a sort of tunnel which runs
between the flat exterior roof and the vaulted ceiling
of the nave. This is used for concealing the Liturgies
and the other poor valuables of the church in times of
peril. Secret as this hiding-place is, the Kurds dis-
covered it some years ago, and carried off and de-

1  For the correction of my very imperfect investigations into the re-
ligious customs of the Syrians, I am indebted to a very careful and
learned paper by Canon Maclean, Some Account of the Customs of the
Eastern Syrian Churches, originally published in the Guardian, and now
to be obtained at the office of "The Archbishop of Canterbury's Mission to
the Assyrian Christians, 2 Deans Yard, Westminster."

2  A singular legend is told regarding the origin of the sacred leaven
and the sacred oil.

The Syrians say that as our Lord went up out of the Jordan after His
baptism John the Baptist collected in a phial the baptismal water as it
dropped from His sacred person, giving it before his death to St. John the