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

LETTER xxix               DAILY PEAYERS                             301

stroyed whatever of value had been hidden, including
a firman and a knife which (it is said) were given by
Mohammed to a former Catholicos, and which are now in
Stamboul.

The general arrangement of the church is a pathetic
protest .against chronic insecurity and persecution. The
interior, and especially the sanctuary, are as black as
smoke can make them, although very few candles are
ordinarily used, the clergy holding rolls of thin wax
taper in their hands when they require light on the
Liturgies and Gospel. There is little architectural orna-
ment except some sculptured stones, and two recesses
with scallop-shell roofs at the sides of the chancel arch.
The church is in good repair, for if any rain gets into
a sacred building it has to be reconsecrated.

Towards five o'clock the sounding-board is beaten, and
the Patriarch, the two bishops, and some other men, all
in secular dress, saunter down to evening prayers, which
are usually said by the Patriarch himself, and consist of
a few prayers, a short lesson, and some psalms. The
custom is for the people on entering to kiss the Cross,
the Gospels, and the Patriarch's hand, and to lay their
daggers in the church porch. Clerical vestmejits are not
worn at these services. The Liturgies and Gospels are
magnificent specimens of caligraphy, and the Syriac
characters are in themselves beautiful.

Evangelist. At the Last Supper (the legend runs) our Lord gave to John
two loaves, putting it into his heart to preserve one. At the Cross, when
this same apostle saw the "blood and water," he took the phial from his
bosom and added the water from the pierced side to the water of baptism,
dipping the loaf at the same time in the blood. After the Day of Pente-
cost the disciples, before going forth to "disciple" the nations, ground
John's blood-dyed loaf to powder, mixed it with flour and salt, divided
it among themselves, and carried it forth to serve as leaven for ever for
the bread of remembrance. In like manner they took of the mingled
water of the phial, and mixing it with oil of unction, divided it, and pre-
served it for the perpetual sanctification of the waters of baptism.