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stout bulwarks of the outer walls, which, thanks to their protection, had but little effect in delaying the transit of the morsel between my fingers into the ready gulf provided by nature for its reception." The monks of the Greek Church are diminished in number and wealth, and the monasteries are no longer the seats of learning. Few of the monks can read the Hellenic or ancient Greek. The author tells a story of a traveller who had taken great trouble to get to a monastery in Bulgaria, from a report that it contained very valuable books and manuscripts. The agoumenos however informed him that they had no library at all-no aλaia πраɣpara-no antiquities—no manuscripts; but, going into the choir to join in the service, he found each of the monks standing upon a great folio volume, to protect his naked feet from the damp floor. These were of the greatest value; one was in uncial letters, another full of illuminations of the earliest date; and all these he was allowed to carry away in exchange for some coarse little hassocks and footstools, which were more agreeable than the antiquarian bindings ornamented with nail-heads and bosses, which inconvenienced the toes of the shoeless brethren, who stood on them for so many hours in the day.

The description given by Mr. Curzon of the monastery of Barlaam may be taken as a general type or model of the others in this country, and may therefore excuse a more lengthened extract:


"This monastery stands on the summit of an isolated rock, on a flat or nearly flat space of perhaps an acre and a half, of which about one half is occupied by the church and a smaller chapel, the refectory, the kitchen, the tower of the windlass, where you are pulled up, and a number of separate buildings containing offices, and the babitations of the monks, of whom there were at this time only fourteen. These various structures surround one tolerably large irregularly shaped court, the chief part of which is paved; and there are several other small open spaces. Greek monasteries are built in this irregular way, and the confused mass of disjointed edifices is usually encircled by a high bare wall; but in this monastery there is no such inclosing wall, as its position effectually prevents the approach of an enemy. On a portion of the flat space which is not occupied by buildings they have a small garden, but it is not cultivated, and there is nothing like a parapet wall in any direction to prevent your falling over. The place wears an aspect of poverty and neglect; its best days have long gone by, for here as everywhere else the spirit of asceticism is on the wane. The church has a porch before the door, vápenέ, supported by marble columns, the interior wall of which on each side of the door is painted with representations of the last judgment and the tortures of the condemned, with a liberal allowance of flames and devils. These pictures of the torments of the wicked are always placed outside the body of the church, as typical of

the unhappy state of those who are out of its pale; they are never seen within. The interior of this curious old church, which is dedicated to All Saints, has depicted on its walls on all sides portraits of a great many holy personages, in the stiff conventional early style. It has four columns within, which support the dome, and the altar or holy table, αγια τραπεζα, is separated from the nave by a wooden screen called the iconostasis, on which are paintings of the Blessed Virgin, the Redeemer, and many Saints. These pictures are kissed by all who enter the church. The iconostasis has three doors in it; one in the centre, before the holy table, and one on each side. The centre one is only a half-door, like an old English butteryhatch, the upper part being screened with a curtain of rich stuff, which except on certain occasions is drawn aside, so as to afford a view of the book of the gospels, in a rich binding, lying upon the holy table beyond. A Greek church has no sacristy. The vestures are usually kept in presses in this space behind the iconostasis, where none but the priests, and the deacon or servant who trims the lamps, are allowed to enter, and they pass in and out by the side doors. The centre door is only used in the celebration of the holy mass. This part of the church is the sanctuary, and is called in Romaic ayio, Bημo, or Onuo. It is typical of the holy of holies of the Temple, and the veil is represented by the curtain, which divides it from the rest of the church. Everything is symbolical in the Eastern Church; and these

symbols have been in use from the very earliest ages of Christianity. The four columns which support the dome represent the four Evangelists, and the dome itself is the symbol of heaven, to which access has been given to mankind by the glad tidings of the gospels which they wrote. Part of the mosaic with which the whole interior of the dome was formerly covered in the cathedral of St. Sofia at Constantinople, is to be seen in the four angles below the dome, where the winged figures of the four Evangelists still remain. Luckily for the Greek Church their sacred buildings are not under the authority of lay churchwardens-grocers in towns, and farmers in villages-who feel it their duty to whitewash over everything which is old, and venerable, and curious, and to oppose the clergymen in order to shew their independence. The Greek Church, debased as it is by ignorance and superstition,

has still the merit of carefully preserving and restoring all the memorials of its earlier and purer ages. If the fresco painting of a saint is rubbed out or damaged in the lapse of time, it is scrupulously repainted, exactly as it was before, even to the colour of the robe, the aspect of the countenance, and the minutest accessories of the composition. It is this systematic respect for everything which is old and venerable, which renders the interior of the ancient Eastern churches so peculiarly interesting. They are the unchanged monuments of primeval days. The Christians who suffered under the persecution of Dioclesian may have knelt before the very altar which we now see, and which was then exactly the same as we now behold it, without any additions or subtractions either in its form or use."

Mr. Curzon was not very particular in his day's sport of book-hunting in the library, and the agoumenos, like a sly old keeper, took care to let little game leave the manor.

"The library contains about a thousand volumes, the far greater part of which are printed books, mostly Venetian editions of ecclesiastical works, but there are some fine copies of Aldine Greek classics. I did not count the number of the manuscripts; they are all books of divinity and the works of the fathers; there may be between one and two hundred of them. I found one folio Bulgarian manuscript which I could not read, and therefore was, of course, particularly anxious to purchase. As I saw it was not a copy of the Gospels, I thought it might possibly be historical: but the monks would not sell it. The only other manuscript of value was a copy of the Gospels, in quarto, containing several miniatures and illuminations of the eleventh century; but with this also they refused to part, so it remains for some more fortunate collector. It was of no use to the monks themselves, who cannot read either Hellenic or ancient Greek; but they consider the books in their library as sacred relics, and preserve them with a certain feeling of awe for

their antiquity and incomprehensibility. Our only chance is when some worldlyminded agoumenos happens to be at the head of the community, who may be inclined to exchange some of the unreadable old books for such a sum of gold or silver as will suffice for the repairs of one of their buildings, the replenishing of the cellar, or some other equally important purpose. At the time of my visit the march of intellect had not penetrated into the heights of the monastery of St. Barlaam, and the good old-fashioned agoumenos was not to be overcome by any special pleading; so I told him at last that I respected his prejudices, and hoped he would follow the dictates of his conscience equally well in more important matters. The worthy old gentleman therefore pitched the two much-coveted books back into the dusty corner whence he had taken them, and where to a certainty they will repose undisturbed until some other bookworm traveller visits the monastery; and the sooner he comes the better, as mice and mildew are actively at work," &c.

From Barlaam Mr. Curzon went to Hagios Stephanos, in the church of which is the iconostasis or screen most beautifully carved in the style of Grinlin Gibbons, with foliage, flowers, and birds in alto-rilievo, cut out of a light-coloured wood in the most delicate manner. In this monastery were not only monks, but several women! The view was very fine. The village of Kalabaki was at the foot of the rock; to the east stretches a rude level plain watered by the river, which has its sources in Mount Pindus. Beyond this a sea of distant blue hills extends to the foot of Mount Olympus, whose summit, clothed in perpetual snow, towers above all other mountains.

The next monastery of Agia Triada offered nothing, and to that of Hagia Roserea he could not get an entrance, the monks being all out, and only two women being left as the guardians of the place. Neither flattery nor abuse, each of which was liberally used in its turn, induced the duennas to admit the stranger; so, finding all hope of entrance denied, "we told them that they were the ugliest old wretches in the country, and that we would not come near them if they asked us upon their knees; upon which they screamed and chattered louder than ever, and we walked off in high indignation!"

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In the monastery of Meteora, which was next visited, was a picture ascribed to St. Luke, which, whatever may be its real history, was an ancient and curious painting.

"The books are preserved in a range of low-vaulted and secret rooms, very well concealed in a sort of mezzanine: the entrance to them is through a door at the back of a cupboard in an outer chamber, in the same way as at St. Stephanos. There are about two thousand volumes of very rubbishy appearance, not new enough for the monks to read, or old enough for them to sell; in fact they are almost valueless. I found, however, a few Aldines and Greek books of the sixteenth century, printed in Italy, some of which may be rather rare editions, but I saw none of the fifteenth century. I did not count the number of the manuscripts ; there are, however, some hundreds of them, mostly on paper: but, excepting two, they were all liturgies and church books. These two were poems. One appeared to be on some religious subject, the other was partly historical, and partly the poetical effusions of St. Athanasius of Meteora. I searched in vain for the manuscripts of Hesiod and Sophocles menioned by Biornstern; some later anti

quarian may, perhaps, have got possession of them and taken them to some country where they will be more appreciated than they were here. After looking over the books on the shelves, the librarian, an old grey-bearded monk, opened a great chest in which things belonging to the church were kept; and here I found ten or twelve manuscripts of the Gospels, all of the eleventh or twelfth century. They were upon vellum, and all, except one, were small quartos; but this one was a large quarto, and one of the most beautiful MSS. of its kind I have met with any. where. In many respects, it resembled the Codex Ebnerianus * in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. It was ornamented with miniatures of the same kind as those in that splendid volume, but they were more numerous and in a good style of art. It was, in fact, as richly ornamental as a Romish missal, and was in excellent preservation, except one miniature at the beginning, which had been partially smeared over by the wet finger of some ancient sloven. Another volume of the Gospels,

* A specimen of the "Codex Ebnerianus" is given in Mr. Shaw's Illuminated Manuscripts, No. V. and we avail ourselves of the description which accompanies it : "This volume, well known by the title of the Codex Ebnerianus,' from its once having formed part of the library of Hieron; W. Ebner ab Eschenbach (to whom it was bequeathed by his uncle C. J. Imhoff), has been especially described by Schoenleben in 1738, and subsequently by De Murr in his account of the Public Libraries at Nuremberg, published in 1786. It is a quarto of 425 leaves, written on stout vellum at the end of the eleventh or early part of the twelfth century (some judges assign it even to the tenth), and contains the text of the New Testament in Greek, as read in the Constantinopolitan churches. Figures of the evangelists and apostles, splendidly executed, precede each book, and afford a very favourable specimen of the Greek miniature school of painting at the period of its execution. The Apocalypse is wanting, but in other respects the volume is well preserved, and bears on the cover (which Ebner caused to be remade of silver) an ivory diptich representing Jesus Christ in the attitude of benediction. At the beginning of the MS. has been added by a more recent hand a typicon or rule for reading the four Evangelists yearly, a table of lessons, and a synaxarion or menology,-all which, as appears by a note appended, were written in A.M. 6899, corresponding to A.D. 1391, by Joasaph, a bibliographist who is mentioned by Montfaucon in his Palæographia, pp. 74, 101. The subsequent history of this book, or how it became transferred from the library at Nuremberg to the Bodleian, where it is now preserved, is unknown."-Rev.

in a very small, clear hand, bound in a kind of silver filagree of the same date as the book, also excited my admiration. Those who take an interest in literary antiquities of this class, are aware of the great rarity of an ornamental binding in a Byzantine manuscript. This must doubtless have been the pocket volume of some royal personage. To my great joy the

librarian allowed me to take these two books to the room of the agoumenos, who

agreed to sell them to me, for I forget
how many pieces of gold, which I counted
out to him immediately, and which he
seemed to pocket with the sincerest satis-
faction. Never was any one more welcome
to his money, although I left myself but
little to pay the expenses of my journey
back to Corfu. Such books as these would
be treasures in the finest national collec-
tion in Europe."

However, unfortunately, such a quarrel took place among the reverend brethren for the distribution of the traveller's money, and such a vehement desire to have an equal share of the spoil, that, after crying and stamping, chattering, gesticulating, and wagging their long beards, the monks felt they could not agree, and the manuscripts were again to be deposited among the enemies-the worms. Who does not share in the sorrows of the author, when he reads the following pathetic description of his last farewell. "Sunt lacrymæ rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt."

"I sat down on a stone in the courtyard, and for the last time turned over the gilded leaves and admired the ancient and splendid illuminations of the larger manuscript, the monks standing round me as I looked at the blue cypress trees, and green and gold peacocks, and intricate arabesques, so characteristic of the best time of Byzantine art. Many of the

pages bore a great resemblance to the
painted windows of the earlier Norman
cathedrals of Europe. It was a superb
old book. I laid it down upon the stone
beside me, and placed the little volume
with its curious silver binding on the top
of it, and it was with a sigh that I left
them there, with the sun shining on the
curious silver ornaments."*

The author says that he had been for some time enjoying the hospitality of Lord Ponsonby at the British palace at Therapia, when he determined to put in execution a project he had long entertained of examining the libraries in the monasteries of Mount Athos. As no traveller had been there since the days of Dr. Clarke, he could obtain but little information about the place before he left England. However, the Archbishop of Canterbury gave him a letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople, in which he requested him to furnish the traveller with all facilities in his researches among the Greek monasteries that acknowledged his power. This patriarch, we must observe, proved to be rather a young man, certainly not more than thirty-five years old, with a reddish beard, an uncommon colour for a beard in the East. He was dressed, when Mr. Curzon was introduced to him, in purple silk robes, like a Greek bishop, and took his seat in the corner of a divan, said nothing, and stroked his beard, in the approved manner of a pasha. After smoking a pipe, drinking a cup of coffee, and eating a spoonful of lemon-peel preserve, the letter missive from Lambeth was presented and read aloud both in English and Greek.

*The margin was illumined al with golden railes,
And bice empictur'd with grasshoppes and waspes.
With butterflies and fresh pecocke tailes,

Englored with flowres and slymey snayles.
Envyved pictures well touched and quickely,

It would have made a man hole, that had be right sickly.

These lines afford no contemptible proof of the book-love old Skelton had, and of his eye for the beauties of this fascinating branch of the art of painting.-REV,



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"Here all my English friends and myself were taken aback sadly; we had not imagined that the high-priest before us could be ignorant of such a matter as the one in question. The patriarch of the Greek church, the successor of Gregory Nazianzen, St. John Chrysostom, and the heresiarch Nestorius, seemed not to be aware that there were any other denominations of Christians besides those of his own church and the Church of Rome. But the fact is that the Patriarch of Constantinople is merely the puppet of an intriguing faction of the Greek bankers and usurers of the Fanar, who select for the office some man of straw whom they feel secure they can rule, and whose appointment they obtain by a heavy bribe paid to the sultan; for the head of the Christian church is appointed by the Mahomedan emperor. We explained, and said that the Archbishop of Canterbury was a man

eminent for his great learning and his Christian virtues; that he was the primate and chief of the great reformed Church of England, and a personage of such high degree, that he ranked next to the bloodroyal; that from time immemorial the Archbishop of Canterbury was the great dignitary who placed the crown on the head of our kings-those kings whose power swayed the destinies of Europe and of the world; and that this present Archbishop and primate had himself placed the crown upon the head of King William IV. and that he would also soon crown our young Queen.


Well,' replied the patriarch, 'but how is that? how can it happen that the head of your church is only an archbishop? whereas I, the patriarch, command other patriarchs, and under them archbishops, archimandrites, and other dignitaries of the church? How can these things be? I cannot write an answer to the letter of the Archbishop—of—of ’—

"Of Canterbury,' said I.

"Yes, of Canterbury; for I do not see how he who is only an archbishop can by any possibility be the head of a Christian hierarchy; but as you come from the British embassy I will give my lettters as you desire, which will ensure your reception into every monastery which acknowledges the supremacy of the orthodox faith of the Patriarch of Constanti. nople."

The firman thus obtained, is written, it appears, much in the style of the epistles of the early patriarchs to the archbishops and bishops of their provinces; and it was incumbent on all to which it was addressed to pay to it implicit obedience. As a firman from the Greek patriarch may be somewhat more novel and interesting than a charge from an English bishop, we give it in a note below.* Fortified with this letter, the author assumed the character which alone gives a traveller honour, and dignity, and safety in

→ Direction.-To the blessed Inspectors, Officers, Chiefs, and Representatives of the holy community of Monte Santo, and to the holy Fathers of the same, and of all other sacred converts, our beloved sons:

"We, Gregorios, Patriarch, Archbishop Universal, Metropolitan of Constantinople, &c. &c. &c.

Blessed Inspectors, Officers, Superiors, and Representatives of the Community of the Holy Mountain, and other holy Fathers of the same, and of the other holy and venerable convents subject to our holy universal throne. Peace be to you!

"The bearer of the present, our patriarchal sheet, the honourable Robert Curzon, of a noble English family, recommended to us by most worthy and much-honoured persons, intending to travel and wishing to be instructed in the old and new philology, thinks to satisfy his curiosity by repairing to those sacred convents which may have any connexion with his intentions. We recommend his person, therefore, to you all: and we order and require of you that you not only receive him with every esteem and every possible hospitality in each and in the several holy convents; but to lend yourselves readily to all his wants and desires, and to give him precise and clear explanaGENT. MAG. VOL. XXXII. C

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