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LETTER xxix      "FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH"                   313

tions of dust, the darkness and the gloom of the Syrian
churches, of which this one is a favourable specimen, typi-
fying, I fear, too truly the gross ignorance, indifference, and
superstition in which bishops, priests, and people are
buried. And yet they are " faithful unto death." My
daily wonder is that people who know so little will for
that little suffer the loss of all things. Apostasy would
be immediate emancipation from terror and ruin, but it is
nearly unknown. Their churches are like the catacombs.
Few things can be more pathetic than a congregation
standing in the dark and dismal nave, kissing the
common wooden cross, and passing from hand to hand the
kiss of peace, while the priest, in dress like their own,
with girdle and stole of the poorest material, moves
among the ancient Liturgies in front of the dusty sanc-
tuary, leading the worshippers in prayers and chants
which have come down from the earliest ages of Chris-
tianity ; from the triumphant Church of the East to the
persecuted remnant of to-day.                          I. L. B.