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MASS IN THE HOLY SEPULCHRE.
closely, to seize the impressions which they leave behind, and to render an account of them to one's self.
For offering my adoration to the Saviour of the world, I love in preference the silence and the darkness of night, when the pilgrims have retired, when I have no light but that of a few lamps, and when I cannot hear my own footfalls.
In squeezing between the pillars which surround the tomb of our Lord, in passing the stone of the Unction, in ascending Golgotha, methinks I hear a voice crying on every side to me as to Moses : “ Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground !”
I have had the happiness to attend every day, and, in general, to take the communion, at the solemn mass which the Fathers perform at five o'clock in the Holy Sepulchre. Those who sing stay outside; but the priest officiates in the tomb itself, on a portable altar which is removed after the ceremony.
I begin to get there too early; and, kneeling before the tomb, I await the arrival of the priest. When he appears, as I am obliged to retire for want of room, I place myself, with a taper in my hand, on the spot where the beloved apostle stooped down to see whether it was true that the body of the Lord had been removed as Magdalen had told him. Presently, those harmonious strains of the singers; those tender or plaintive sighs of the organ; that deep devotion of the monks; that sacred tomb which is before my eyes, and only a couple of paces from my heart, throbbing with gratitude and love; those clouds of incense rising around the altar of the minister of the
Most High-all this penetrates, ravishes, intoxicates me with a sort of happiness, all the transports of which I shall never be able to describe.
Adieu, my very dear friend, adieu !
PILGRIMS AT JERUSALEM CHILDREN OF THE PILGRIMS - PROCESSION
- TOMB OF GODFREY AND BALDWIN - SWORD OP GODFREY – JERUSALEM TAKEN BY THE EGYPTIANS — FAVOUR SHOWN BY THEM TO THE CHRISTIANS-INFLUENCE OF MONEY IN THE COUNTRIES RULED BY THE KORAN.
Jerusalem, Church of the Holy Sepulchre,
December 23d, 1831.
You cannot form any idea, my dear friend, of the number of pilgrims, Greeks, Armenians, Maronites, &c., who flock to Jerusalem to visit the holy places. At this moment they are computed at nearly four thousand, and the number is daily increasing; at Easter it will be much greater
still: some of them come from the remotest countries : St. Petersburg, and even the farthest extremities of Russia furnish their's. They usually pass Lent here, and it is not till after Easter that they set out on their return home.
When I cast my eyes on this multitude, and count the catholic pilgrims, I am astounded, stupified. In four thousand we are ......
Six hundred; four hundred; two hundred, at least, you
- You are wrong. We are ... four : a Polish shoemaker of Odessa, with his wife, another Pole, and your humble servant. And among the ten thousand
who, as I have told you, are likely to be here in Lent, a number that is not exaggerated, I do not suppose that there will be twenty foreign catholics !
Beside this indifference place the following trait : last year there came to Jerusalem a Greek with his wife, who had lost the use of all her limbs. Well, this man was seen everywhere, even in processions, carrying his wife on his back, praying with her and for her. The first time that he crossed the threshold of the Holy Sepulchre, some Turks began to laugh and turn him into ridicule, but this indecent mockery was soon converted into the warmest admiration.
Let people extol as much as they please those two sons whom antiquity exhibits to us harnessing themselves to their mother's car, drawing her to the temple, and then expiring from fatigue ; the husband of this poor cripple is a much greater hero in my estimation. They were certain of gaining admiration, and somewhat of pagan pride might mingle with their filial piety; he had to bear up against ridicule and mockery, and his conduct could not have any other motive than the love of God, and a holy confidence in his infinite goodness.
The pilgrims who have families frequently bring with them three or four children. Nothing can be more interesting than to see these little creatures with their parents. They imitate all their motions; they repeat in particular their numerous salutations, always bowing down to the very ground, and, like them, incessantly making the sign of the cross.
Do not wonder, my dear friend, that I occasionally make mention of the little children: I love them, if I
dare say so, as the kind Jesus loved them .... When I see those innocents, methinks I hear my Saviour saying: “ Suffer the little children to come unto me,” and declaring that whosoever is not or does not become like one of them shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. One day I witnessed the arrival of one of these families, which appeared to me truly worthy of all the admiration of a religious and feeling mind: to me the sight was curious and interesting. Adorned with a rich saddle and panniers, balanced only by four small children, an ass advanced proudly bearing the joyous family. In the middle, on the back of the animal domicile, was seated a graceful girl, not more than seven years old, above her brothers : the father was on foot. Figure to yourself these five pretty little pilgrims, whose light hair floated in the breeze; and then cast your eyes on that worthy father, who, walking by their side, played with them while talking to them of God, and relating to them, in language suited to their comprehension, the history of the infant Jesus; then listening with delight to their infant tongues lisping forth Bethlehem, the stable, the manger, and other remarkable things which they would
and tell me if you, too, would not have been charmed, enchanted.
I know not whether I have already told you that every day different nations successively go in procession to the sanctuaries inclosed in the church of the Holy Sepulchre. The day before yesterday, at that of the Greeks, among the torches borne by the pilgrims, I observed one so much higher than the rest that I conceived it must be in the hands of a giant. I approached, but what was my
TOMBS OF GODFREY AND BALDWIN.
surprise to see that it was only a fine little boy, mounted on his mother's shoulders, and carrying a taper. She was a Greek woman, who, moving on steadily and quietly with her precious burden, prayed devoutly with the other pilgrims.
I had a particular longing to see the tombs of the two great heroes of the Christians-Godfrey, the terror of the Musulmans, who, a thousand times, defied death for the sake of his God; and, when proclaimed king after victory, declared that he would never wear a crown of gold where Jesus Christ had worn a crown of thorns : and Baldwin, his brother, who, nobly walking in his steps, was worthy to succeed him. I desired to be conducted to them, but they had disappeared; not the least vestige of them is left. The Greeks, who have rebuilt the church, not only took no care of those precious monuments which the flames had spared, but have even covered with plaster the following inscriptions, which the pilgrim could not look at or read without respect :
HIC JACET INCLYTUS DUX GODOFRIDUS DE
REGNET CUM CHRISTO. AMEN.
REX BALDUINUS, JUDAS ALTER MACHABEUS, SPES PATRIÆ, VIGOR ECCLESIÆ, VIRTUS UTRIUSQUE, QUEM FORMIDABANT, CUI DONA TRIBUTA FEREBANT, CEDAR ET ÆGYPTUS, DAN, AC HOMICIDA DAMASCUS, PROH DOLOR! IN MODICO CLAUDITUR HOC TUMULO.
In this point, as in many others, the Greeks have acted from passion : these monuments belonged to the