Page images

Like hovering Fate on wings of Destiny,
Their course right on the heav'nly road pursue.
And such a morn (more bright perchance) arose
When HE, the LAMB of God, our SAVIOUR, died :
What woe, what pain, he felt before the close
Of that sad day, on earth's yet to be tried.
0, Christians, mourn your Lord,-him ceaseless bless,
Who for your good endured such deep distress.

[ocr errors]

29.-EASTER EVE. Particular mortifications were enjoined to the earliest Christians on this day. From the third century, the fast was indispensible and rigid, being protracted always to midnight, sometimes to cock-crowing, and sometimes to the dawn of Easter-day; and the whole of the day and night was employed in religious affairs.-For an account of some singular practices at Rome, see our last volume, pp. 100-103.

The ceremonies of the Greek church at Jerusalem on Easter-eve, are thus noticed by the Rev. J. Connor. 'I went to the church (he observes) to spend the night there, that I might view all the difterent observances. It is a general belief among the Greeks and Armenians, that, on Easter-eve, a fire descends from heaven into the sepulchre. The eagerness of the Greeks, Armenians, and others, to light their candles at this holy fire, carried an immense crowd to the church, notwithstanding the sum which they were obliged to pay. About nine at night, I retired to rest, in a small apartment in the church. A little before midnight, the servant roused me to see the Greek procession. I hastened to the gallery of the church. The scene was striking and brilliant. The Greek chapel was splendidly illuminated. Five rows of lamps were suspended in the dome; and almost every individual of the immense multitude held a lighted candle in his hand.' -See the continuation of these ceremonies under Easter-Day.

e sepo, andied an

light cases of the heaven in that, on a belief am

[ocr errors]

youtueen ollest of alien

30.- EASTER DAY, or EASTER SUNDAY. Much difference of opinion prevailed in the Eastern and Western churches respecting the precise time of observing Easter; till, in 325, the Council of Nice declared that the feast should be kept by all churches on the same day. Easter is styled by the fathers the highest of all festivals, the feast of feasts, the queen of festivals, and Dominica Gaudii, the joyous Sunday. Masters granted freedom to their slaves at this season, and valuable presents were made to the poor. A very singular custom formerly prevailed at Lostwithiel, in Cornwall, on this day: see T.T. for 1822, p. 103. Of the splendid ceremonies at Rome on Easter Sunday, a particular account is given in the same volume, pp. 104-107.

The following pleasing anecdote relative to Easter we copy from a recent traveller. The Emperor of Russia and King of Prussia entered Dresden on Easter-eve, 1813, when the city was illuminated. The words, ' Deliver us from evil, formed one of the inscriptions displayed on the occasion. On the following morning the Russians celebrated Easter. At break of day the soldiers appeared most carefully dressed, and the Cossacks, the strictest observers of the religious rites of their country, were especially observed purchasing eggs to present to their .comrades, or milk to prepare the pascha, or feast of Pentecost. The Russians every where were seen accosting each other in the streets, without distinction of rank, with the salutation, Christos woskres, “ Christ is risen," which was followed by the reply Istinnoe woskres, “ Yes, truly, He is risen." In this manner the elegantly dressed officer saluted the bearded Cossack, covered with his mantle of stuff. The Emperor himself did honour to this custom of his country, and having, after midnight, assisted at the solemn mass of Easter, in the Greek chapel, prepared in an apartment of the Bruhl Palace,

which he inhabited, he addressed this pious salutation to all the officers present. The feast of Easter morning was celebrated by the priests of several Russian regiments, in another chapel prepared at the residence of Prince Maximilian.

From “Mr. Bowring's Specimens of the Russian Poets,' we select the following appropriate lines :

The GOLDEN PALACE, * Sung at Midnight in the Greek Churches the last week before Easter.

The Golden Palace of my God
Tow'ring above the clouds I see:
Beyond the cherubs' bright abode,
Higher than angels' thonghts can be:
How can I in those courts appear
Without a wedding garment on?
Conduct me, Thou life-giver, there,
Conduct me to Thy glorious throve!
And clothe me with Tby robes of light,
And lead me through sin's darksome night,
... My Saviour and my Gov!

of the Russian Churches, sung at Easter
Why, thon never-setting Light,
Is Thy brightness veiled from me?
Why does this upusual night
· Cloud Thy blest benignity?

I am lost without Thy ray,
Guide my wandering footsteps, LORD!
Light my dark and erring way

To the noontide of Thy word !
The procession and service in the Greek church
at Jerusalem are thus noticed by the Rev, J. Con-
nor, as seen in 1820.' I was awakened early in the

morning by the noise in the church; and, on pro10 ceeding to my station in the gallery, I found the

crowd below in a state of great confusion. Some were employed in carring others on their backs round the sepulchre; others in dancing and clapping their hands, exclaiming in Arabic-" This is the Tomb of our Lord !” Sometimes a man passed, standing upright on the shoulders of another; and

[ocr errors]

I saw, more than once, four carried along in this manner, a little boy, seated, forming the fourth, or topmost: others again were busy in chasing one another round the tomb, and shouting like madmen. Whenever they saw in the crowd a man who they thought could pay them, they seized and forcibly carried him, in their arms, two or three times round the church. The whole was a most lamentable profanation of the place! The same happens every year. The noise and confusion increased, as the moment appointed for the apparition of the fire approached. At length, the Turks, who had not hitherto interfered, began to brandish their whips, and to still, in some measure, the tumult. About noon, the Governor of Jerusalem, with a part of his guard, entered the gallery. The eagerness and anxiety of the people were now excessive. They all pressed toward the sepulchre, each person holding a bundle of tapers in his hand. The chief agent of the Greek Patriarch, and an Armenian bishop, had entered the sepulchre shortly before. All eyes were fixed on the gallery, watching for the Governor's signal. He made it, and the fire appeared through one of the holes in the building that covers the tomb! A man lighted his taper at the hallowed flame; and then pushed into the thickest of the crowd, and endeavoured to fight his way through. The tumult and clamour were great; and the man was nearly crushed to death, by the eagerness of the people to light their tapers at his flame. In about twenty minutes, every one, both in the galle ries and below, men, women, and children, had their

unha mures.women and Children the candles lighted. Many of them put their lighted candles to their fąces, imagining that the flame would not scorch them: I perceived, however, by their grimaces, that they speedily discovered their mistake. They did not permit these tapers to burn long; reserving them for occasions of need. The power which they attribute to those candles that

[merged small][ocr errors]



have been touched with the fire from heaven, is almost unbounded : they suppose, for instance, that if, overtaken by a storm at sea, they throw one of these candles into the waves, the tempest will immediately subside. They are chiefly valued, however, in consequence of the superstitious notion, that, if they are burned at the funeral of the individual, they will most assuredly save his soul from future punishment. To obtain these candles, and to undergo a second baptism in the waters of the Jordan, are the chief objects of the visit of the Greek pilgrims to Jerusalem.'

The number of pilgrims who visited Jerusalem in the year 1820, at the time of the Passover, is thus stated by Mr. Connor:

Greeks - -
Armenians .

- - 1300
Copts - -
Catholics - - -

so Schiefly from

- 50 Damascus
Abyssinians .
Syrians - - - - 30

Total - 3131 Mr. Connor (of whose very interesting Journal we have made such liberal use) accompanied the pilgrims in their visit to the River Jordan, who with the muleteers and guards formed a body of about 2300 persons. Their encampment is thus described : 'An able artist (says Mr. C.) might have made a very interesting picture of the scene. He would have introduced the numerous and variously-coloured tentsthe diversified costumes of the pilgrims—the Turkish horse-soldiers, with their elegant dress and long spears, galloping across the plain—with camels and horses reposing. We spent the remainder of the day here. About half past three the next morning, we all set out, by torch light, for the Jordan. The appearance of the pilgrims, moving in numerous detached parties, with their flambeaux, across the

« PreviousContinue »