Page images
PDF
EPUB

Father Boucher (1610), is so extravagantly pious, that it is impossible to quote him. Benard writes with great sobriety, though no more than twenty years of age at the period when he travelled; but he is diffuse, insipid, and obscure. Father Pacifico (1622) is vulgar, and his narrative too concise. Monconys (1647) pays attention to nothing but medical recipes. Doubdan (1651) is clear, learned, and well worthy of being consulted; but prolix, and apt to lay too much stress on trivial objects. Roger, the friar (1653), who was for five years attached to the service of the holy places, possesses erudition and judgment, and writes in a lively, animated style; his description of the Holy Sepulchre is too long, and on this account I have excluded it. Thevenot (1656), one of the most celebrated French travellers, has given an excellent account of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, and I would advise the reader to consult his work: but he implicitly follows Deshayes. Father Nau, a Jesuit (1674), added to a knowledge of the oriental languages the advantage of visiting Jerusalemn with the Marquis de Nointel, our ambassador at Constantinople, and the same gentleman to whom we are indebted for the first drawings of Athens : but it is a pity that the learned Jesuit. is so insufferably prolix. Father Neret's letter, in the Lettres Edifiantes, is excellent in every respect, but omits too many things.

The same may be said of Du Loiret de la Roque (1688). As to travellers of very recent date, such as Muller,

و

Vanzow, Korte, Bescheider, Mariti, Volney, Niebuhr, and Brown, they are almost totally silent respecting the holy places.

The narrative of Deshayes (1621), who was sent to Palestine by Louis XIII, appears therefore to me the fittest to be followed :

1st, Because the Turks themselves were solicitous to shew this ambassador whatever was curious at Jerusalem ; and he might even have obtained admission, had he pleased, into the mosque of the Temple.

2dly, Because he is so clear and so precise, in the style, now somewhat antiquated, of his secretary, that Paul Lucas has, according to his usual custom, copied him, verbatim, without acknowledging the plagiarism.

3dly, Because d'Anville, and this, indeed, is the primary reason, has taken Deshayes' map for the subject of a dissertation, which is, perhaps, the master-piece of that celebrated geographer.* Deshayes will, therefore, furnish us with the description of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, to which I shall subjoin my observations.

“ The Holy Sepulchre, and most of the sacred places, are attended by Franciscan friars, who are sent thither every three years ; and though they are of all nations, yet they all pass for French or Venetians, and they could not maintain their ground were they not under the king's protection. About sixty years ago, they had a habitation without the city, on Mount Sion, on the spot where our Saviour instituted the Lord's Supper with his disciples ; but their church having been converted into a mosque, they have since resided in the city on Mount Gihon, upon which stands their convent, called St. Saviour's. Here dwells their superior, with the members of the family, which supplies with monks all the places in the Holy Land that stand in need of them.

* This dissertation, which is very scarce, is given in the Appendix.

“ From this convent the church of St. Sepulchre is, but two hundred paces distant. It comprehends the Holy Sepulchre, Mount Calvary, and several other sacred places. It was partly built by direction of St. Helena, to cover the Holy Sepulchre ; but the Christian princes of succeeding ages caused it to be enlarged so as to include Mount Calvary, which is only fifty paces from the Sepulchre.

“ In ancient times, Mount Calvary, as I have already observed, was without the city ; it was the place where criminals, sentenced to suffer death, were executed; and that all the people might attend on these occasions, there was a large vacant space between the eminence and the wall of the city. The rest of the hill was surrounded with gardens, one of which belonged to Joseph of Arimathea, who was, in secret, a disciple of Jesus Christ : here he had constructed a sepulchre for himself, and in this the body of our Lord was

[ocr errors]

deposited. The Jews were not accustomed to bury their dead in the manner that we do. Each, according to his ability, had a kind of little closet excavated in some rock, where the body was laid at length upon a table, also hewn out of the rock, and this receptacle was closed by a stone placed before the entrance, which was generally no more than four feet in height.

“ The church of the Holy Sepulchre is very irregular, owing to the nature and situation of the places which it was designed to comprehend. It is nearly in the form of a cross, being one hundred and twenty paces in length, exclusive of the descent to the Discovery of the Holy Cross, and seventy in breadth. It has three domes, of which that covering the Holy Sepulchre serves for the nave of the church. It is thirty feet in diameter, and is covered at top like the Rotunda at Rome. There is no cupola, it is true; the roof being supported only by large rafters, brought from Mount Lebanon. This church had formerly three entrances, but now there is but one door, the keys of which are cautiously kept by the Turks, lest the pilgrims should gain admittance without paying the nine sequins, or thirty-six livres, demanded for this indulgence : I allude to those from Christendom; for the Christian subjects of the Grand Signor pay no more than half that sum. This door is always shut; and there is only a small window, crossed with an iron bar, through which the people without hand provisions to those within, who are of eight different nations. " The first is that of the Latins or Romans, which is represented by the Franciscan friars. They are the keepers of the Holy Sepulchre; the place on Mount Calvary, where our Lord was nailed to the cross ; the spot where the sacred cross was discovered; the Stone of Unction, and the chapel where our Lord appeared to the Blessed Virgin after his resurrection.

“ The second nation is that of the Greeks, who have the choir of the church, where they officiate : in the midst of it is a small circle of marble; the centre of which they look upon as the middle of the globe.

“ The third is the nation of the Abyssinians, to whom belongs the chapel containing the pillar of Impropere.

“ The fourth nation is that of the Copts, who are Egyptian Christians : these have a small oratory near the Holy Sepulchre.

“ The fifth nation is the Armenian. They have the chapel of St. Helena, and that where the soldiers cast lots for, and divided, the apparel of our Lord.

" The sixth nation is that of the Nestorians, or Jacobites, who are natives of Chaldea and of Syria. These have a small chapel near the spot where our Lord appeared to Mary Magdalen, in the form of a gardener, and which is, on that account, denominated Magdalen's Chapel.

“ The seventh is the nation of the Georgians, who inhabit the country between the Euxine and

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »