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

LETTER xxix         SYRIAN BURIAL RITES                       303

materials. The priest wears an alb, a girdle, and a stole
crossed over the breast, and at the Kourbana a calico
square with crosses in coloured cotton sewn upon it,
thrown over the shoulders, and raised at times to cover
the head, or to form a screen between him and the
congregation. The deacon wears an alb or "church
shirt" with coloured cotton crosses on the breast and
back, a blue and white girdle, and a stole which is crossed
over the right shoulder and has its ends tucked into the
girdle. The only difference in the dress of a bishop is
that he wears a stole reaching to the ankles and not
crossed upon the breast. The ordinary attire of the
clergy and laity is the same, and the same similarity
pervades their occupations. Even bishops may be seen
hard at work in the fields. The sanctuary is held in
great reverence, and Mar Gauriel, who is more like a
jolly sailor than a priest, put on a girdle and stole before
entering it when he showed it to me. Strange to say,
the priests and deacons officiating at the Holy Com-
munion retain their shoes and remove their turbans.
The graves round the church are very numerous, and are
neatly kept. One burial has taken place since I came.
The corpse, that of a stranger, was enclosed in a rough
wooden coffin, and the blowing of horns, beating of drums,
carrying of branches decorated with handkerchiefs and
apples, and the wailing of the women and other demon-
strations of grief, such as men jumping into the grave,
beating their breasts and uttering cries of anguish, dis-
tressing scenes which are usual at Syrian funerals, were
consequently absent. The burial service is very strik-
ing and dramatic, and there are different "orders" for
bishops, priests, deacons, laymen, women, and children.
The whole, if recited at full length, takes fully five hours !
Besides prayers innumerable both for the departed and
the survivors, there are various dialogues between the