Skip to main content

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

See other formats

30:!                 JOURNEYS IN KUEDISTAN      LETTER xxix

It is appointed that the whole Psalter be recited in
three days, and though I imagine that some abridgment
is made, the priests and people, contrary to rule, are apt
to sit on the floor during the antiphonal singing of the
psalms, owing to their extreme length. The chanting
is very discordant, as each man adopts the key which
suits himself.

The " kiss of peace" is an interesting and decorous
feature of the daily worship, and is always given at the
beginning, even if it should be omitted at the close. On
entering the church the priest crosses himself and kisses
the Cross, which always lies on the altar on the north
side, saying, " Glory be to God in the highest." After
this the people come forward and kiss first the Cross
and then the priest's hand, and each passing on
touches the hands of those who before him have kissed
the sacred emblem and raises his own hand to his
lips. It is the custom always to kiss the hand of a
bishop or priest on meeting him in the road or else-
where, and the salutation is performed in a reverential

The church furniture and vestments show the great
poverty of the people. The altar cloth is figured white
cotton. Two tarnished and battered candlesticks stand
on the altar, and a very sordid cross in the recess behind
it. The chalice is a silver bowl, tarnished, almost
blackened, by neglect, and the paten is a silver tray in
the same state. There are a bronze censer, an antique,
with embossed scripture figures upon it, and a branched
lamp-stand surmounted by a bird, both of the rudest con-
struction, and greatly neglected. Dust and cobwebs of
ancient date, droppings from candles and bits of candle
wicks offend Western eyes in the sacristy and else-

The clerical dress is very simple and of the poorest