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Sermons being rarely preached among them, in many places never, or but seldom, except in Lent, and catechising being much neglected, what knowledge they still have of Christianity is, thought to be chiefly owing to their strict observation of the festivals and fasts ; "by which,” says Sir P. Ricaut, “ the people are taught as in a visible catechism the history of Christianity."* By these religious solemnities, the memory of our Saviour's birth, death, resurrection, and ascension; the doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity, and other fundamental articles of our faith, are kept alive in their minds ; and, while they commemorate the sufferings of the apostles and others saints, they are animated by such glorieus examples, to undergo the trials and hardships to which they themselves are daily exposed, and to endure patiently the Mahometan yoke.
They use the cross to drive away evil spirits, &c. and many of them abstain from things strangled, from blood, and from such other meats as are forbidden in the Old Testament. But it is not to be imagined, that all the various superstitions of the vulgar, or the particular opinions of every writer on the subject of religion, are, in any country, to be considered as the received doctrines of the church; yet this distinction has not, in all cases, been duly attended to, and particularly in regard to this church, respecting which, in its present state of ignorance and depression, more full and correct information is still a desideratum in the history of religion.
Dr. Mosheim refers us, for the doctrine of the Greek church, to a treatise, entitled, The Orthodox Confession of the Catholic and Apostolic Eastern Church, which was drawn up by Peter Mogislaus, metropolitan of Kioff or Kiow, in the Ukraine, in a provincial council assembled in that city, and originally meant merely for the use of his own diocese. This confession, originally composed in the Russian language, was afterwards trans
lated into Greek, revised, approved, and confirmed, in 1643, * by Parthenius of Constantinople, and the other three Grecian
patriarchs; who decreed, “ that it faithfully followed the doctrine of the church of Christ, and agreed entirely with the holy canons.”
WORSHIP, RITES, AND CEREMONIES.- Much of what should belong to this head is already anticipated, and yet much still
* The present slale of the Greek and Armenian Churches, p 16. Anno, 1678. Dr. Smith also has a very affecting remark on this subject, in his Account of the Greck Church.
" Next to the miraculous and gracious providence of God, I ascribe the preservation of Christianity among them,” says he,“ to the strict and religious observation of the festivals and fasts of the church; this being the happy and blessed effect of those ancient and pious institutions, the toiai neglect of which would soon introduce ignorance, and ä sensible decay of piety and religion in other countries besides those of the Levant," &c. &c. See the whole passage in pp. 18, 19. A passage well wortby the attention of many profersing Christians among nursil os.
remains to be said ; for the public service of the Geek church is so long and so complicated, that it is very difficult to give a clear account of it, and still more difficult to give a short one. The greatest part of it varies every day in the year, and every part of the day, except in the communion-office, where the larger part is fixed, and where, as already observed, three liturgies or offices are occasionally in use.*
The service of every day, whether it has a Vigil or not, begins in the evening of what we would call the preceding day, as among the Jews ; and, for the saine reason, viz. because it is said in the Mosaic account of the creation, that, “ the evening and the morning were the first day.”-The several services for each day, according to the original or monkish insti. tution, are, 1st. The Vespers, which used to be celebrated a little before sunset ; 2d, The After-Vespers, answering to the Completoriuin of the Latin church, which used to be celebrated after the monks had supped, and before they went to bed ; 3d, the Mesonyction, or midnight service ; 4th, The Matins, at break of day, answering to the laudes of the Romish church ; 5th, The First hour of prayer, or priina, at sunrise ; 6th, The Third hour, or tertia, at the third hour of the day ; 7th, The Sixth hour, or sexta, at noon; and 8th, The Ninth hour, or nona, in the afternoon, at the ninth hour of the day.
These are called the canonical hours ; but it was not till a late period that the after-vespers were added, before which, the reason assigned for the number of services being seven, was because David saith, “ Seven times a-day will I praise thee.” The greatest part of the service of this church consists in psalms and hymns, which should all regularly, according to the primary institution, be sung ; and when that was done, these daily services could not possibly have been perforined in less than twelve or fourteen hours.
But the service as it now stands, and was at first drawn up in writing, is calculated for the use of monasteries ; and when it was afterwards applied to parochial churches, many of the above offices or forms, which had been originally composed for different hours of the day and night, were used as one service, without any alterations being made, to avoid repetition ;t and it is now become the practice to read the greatest part of them, especially in parish churches ; yet still they are read in a sort of recitative, and hence the expression in the Rubric, " The Liturgy of St. Chrysostom is sung," or other offices are sang.
* The word Liturgy in this church constantly signifies the commu. nion service, or office of the eucharist only, which was its ancient meaning in English. King Edwards's liturgy contained only that office.
+ Thus, likewise, in the service, of our own church, the malins, the litany, and the communion, which were formerly three distinct services,, read at different times of the day, are now run into one service.
In all the services, except in the communion, prayers and praises are offered to some saint, and to the Virgin Mary, almost as often as to God; and in some of the services, after every short prayer uttered by the deacon or the priest, the choir chants, “ Lord have mercy upon us, thirty, torty, or even fifty times, successively.
But, besides those saints whose festivals are marked in the kalendar, there are other saints and festivals, to which some portion of the service for every day of the week is appropriated Thus, Sunday is dedicated to the Resurrection; Monday to the Angels ; Tuesday to St. John Baptist; Wednesday to the Virgin Mary and the Cross; Thursday to the Apostles ; Friday to the Passion of Christ; and Saturday to the Saints and Martyrs. For these days there are particular hymns and services, in two volumes folio, entitled Ocioechos, to which, and the Menuon, the common service, a book which contains services common to all saints, martyrs, bishops, &c. may be considered as a supplement.
The Psalter and the Hours, i. e. the services of the canonical hours, fill another volume. The book of Psalms is divided into twenty portions, called Cathisms or sessions : sittings, one of which is read at a service, and each cathism is divided into three parts, called Otetes, the stations, standings, at which the Gloria Patri is said, and Allelujah three times, with three reverences.
T'he four Gospels make another volume by themselves ; and whenever the gospel is read in any service, the deacon exclaims, “ Wisdom, stand up. Let us hear the holy gospel." The choir, at the beginning and end of the gospel, always says, “ Glory be to thee, O Lord ! glory be to Thee ;” an ejaculation which was enjoined to be used before the gospel in King Edward's first common prayer-book.
From the Old Testament and the Epistles, extracts only are used in the service ; and these, made from different book's applicable to the day, are collected together in the Menæon or Octoechos, and in reading them, at every change, the deacons call out, attend.
The Ritual, or Book of offices, contains the rites of Baptisin, Marriage, the Buriul Service, &c. And the Book of Prayer, or the Service, as it is called, contains the ordinary daily prayers for the priest and deacon, in the vespers, matins, and communion offices, unless the service be changed, as it very frequently is, on account of the nature of the holiday.
All these different services are mixed together, and adjusted by the directions contained in the book of Regulation ; and it is the difficulty of this adjustment wbich makes the public worship of this church so very intricate, that, as was said of the service of the church of England before the Reformation, “ inany times there was more business to find out what should be read, than to read it when found out."
“ It is well known” says Mr. Thomson, " that they” (i.c.
the Greeks) “ still continue to perform their devotions with their faces towards the east, in which they are scrupulous even to superstition. They seldom pull off their caps in the church, except when the gospel is read, when the elements are carried in procession before their consecration, or during the celebration of the eucharist ; but at these times they all stand uncovered with extraordinary reverence and attention. They have no instrumental music in their churches, and their vocal is mean and artless ; but now and then the epistle and gospel are pretty well sung by the deacons.”*
In regard to the ceremonies of this church, they are numerous and burdensome, so much so indeed, that besides the several books containing the church service as above, Dr. King tells us, that "they have a great number of ceremonies continued upon the authority of oral tradition only.” And hence Dr. Mosheim ventures to say, that “their religion is a motley collection of ceremonies, the greatest part of which are either ridiculously trifling, or shockingly absurd. Yet,” adds he, " they are much more zealous in retaining and observing these senseless rites, than in maintaining the doctrine, or obeying the precepts of the religion they profess.” The ceremonies connected with the seven mysteries or sacraments have already been poticed, under the head of doctrines ; and for an account of that of the Benediction of the waters, on the morning of the Epiphany, the reader is referred to the article Russian Greek Church, below.
In the Greek, as well as in the Latin church, there is a ceremony called The Divine and Holy Lavipedium, observed on Holy Thursday, i. e. the Thursday of Passion Week, in imitation of our Saviour's humility and condescension in washing his apostles' feet.
At Constantinople, Jesus Christ is, on this occasion, personified by the patriarch, and every where else by the bishop of the diocese, or the principal of the monastary, and the twelve apostles by twelve priests or monks, when a ludicrous contest arises who shall represent Judas, for the name attaches for life.t The office for this ceremony is allowed to be ancient, and, if decently performed, must be atfecting. It may be seen in Dr. King's *Tiites and Cereinonies of the Greek Church in Russia," where he has given the principal offices and services of the Greek church at full length.
It must be acknowledged, that a great similarity subsists between the burdensome ceremonies of this and the Romish
* Mr. Thomson likewise observes that the women “are always apart from the men in their religious assemblies.”
Ť This mark of our Lord's humility is likewise commemorated on this day by most Christian kings, who wash the feet of a certain number of poor persons, in a very acceptable way, not with their own roval hands, but by the hands of their Lord Almoner, or some other deputy.
church ; a natural consequence of their union for nearly nine hundred years : whence every Protestant may learn to set a due value on that reformation which is established in his own.
CHURCH-GOVERNMENT, DISCIPLINE, REVENUES, &c.-This churcb bears a striking resemblance to that of Rome, with regard likewise to its government and discipline. Both are episcopal, and in both there is the same division of the clergy into secular and regular ; the same spiritual jurisdiction of bishops and their officials ; snd the same distinction of offices and ranks.
The supreme head of the Greek church is the Patriarch of Constantinople, whom they style the 13th Apostle ; and whose usual title, when he subscribes any letter or missive, is, “by the mercy of God, Archbishop of Constantinople, the New Rome, and Oecumenical Patriarch.” The right of electing him is vested in the twelve bishops who reside nearest that samous capital ; but the right of confirming the election, and of enabling the new chosen patriarch to exercise his spiritual functions, belongs only to the Turkish emperor.
The office is very uncertain, for it is often obtained, not by merit, but by bribery and corruption ; and when a higher bidder appears, the possessor is often displaced.* It is notwithstanding both honourable and lucrative ; and of high trust and influence ; for, besides the power of nominating the other three patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, and all episcopal dignitaries, the Constantinopolitan Patriarch enjoys a most extensive jurisdiction and dominion, comprehending the churches of a considerable part of Greece, the Grecian Isles, Walachia, Moldavia, and several of the Europeall and Asiatic provinces that are subject to Turkey. He not only calls councils by his own authority, to decide controversies, and direct the affairs of the church ; but, with the permission of the emperor, he administers justice, and takes cognizance of civil causes among the members of his own communion. For the administration of ecclesiastical affairs, a synod, convened monthly, is composed of the heads of the church resident in Constantinople.
In this assembly he presides with the patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem, and twelve archbishops. Seniority nught to take the lead in these councils, but is often oveborne by superior talents, or habits of intrigue ; and a majority is commanded by that prelate, whose influence promises most to those who support him.
The Patriarch of Alexandria resides generally at Cairo, and exercises his spiritual authority in Egypt, Nubia, Lybia, and part of Arabia. Damascus is the principal residence of the
*"In the space of two years that I stayed at Constantinople,” says M. Grelot, “ two different patriarchs gave for the patriarchship, the one 50,000, the other 60,000 crowns, as a present to the Grand Signior."--Voyage to Constantinople, p. 138.