תמונות בעמוד

or Hossein's Feast. He was son of Ali and of Fatima, daughter to Hussein's Feast.

Mahomet, and was killed in a battle, which he lost, disput

ing for the dignity of Khalif. Hassein, his brother, lost his life with him. The death of these Mahometan prophets, or heroes, is still mourned for, where some are seen half-naked, and daubed over with blood, in memory of their tragical end; others black their faces and loll out their tongue, with convulsive motions of the body and rolling their eyes, because these two brothers, as the Persian legend relates, suffered so much by drought that they became black, and their tongues came out of their mouths. In the intervals of those pious contortions, they call aloud with all their might, Hussein! Hassein! Hassein! Hussein ! The

present state and extent of the Mahometan religion is most amply delineated by Mr. Mills, in the last chapter of his excellent book ; in

which he traces it through the extensive regions of Tartary ; Present state.

the vast empire of China ; the various districts of Hindoostan; from the southernmost point of which this religion iš traced through the Eastern islands ; along the coasts of the Malayan peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, the Manillas, and the Celebezean islands. The little isle of Goram, one of the Spice islands (between Ceram and Papua), is the eastern boundary of the Mahometan world.

The sword of the Mahometans has for ages ceased to alarm the world, and the fire of their fanaticism has been spent ; but their religion has suffered no visible diminution of followers : for although the Christians have triumphed over the Moors in Spain, and checked the advancement of Islamism in Siberia, yet in the middle and lower Asia, and also in Africa, the professors of the Moslems' creed have gradually increased. It is impossible to estimate, with any approach to accuracy, the number either of Mussulmans or of Christians; but, considering for a moment the subject of religion in a geographical sense, it may be generally remarked, that as Christianity has unlimited influence in Europe, so Islamism is the dominant religion in Asia ; and that, as the Christian faith has considerable weight in America, Mahometanism has its proportionate sway in Africa.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]





[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The Greek Church may be considered, in regard to its antiquity, as coeval with the Roman or Latin Church ; and for the first eight centuries,

the two churches were assimilated, not only in regard to Greek Church the peculiar doctrines of their faith, but also to their coeval with the Latin Church. acknowledgment of the supremacy of the Roman pontiff.

The schism of these two churches is a most memorable epoch in ecclesiastical history, as it forms the most distinguishing picture of the two religions at the present day. The members of the Greek or eastern church, as contra-distinguished to the Roman or western church, are to be found in various parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and are again subdivided into tlıree distinct classes :--Ist, those who agree on all points of worship and doctrine with the patriarch of Constantinople, and reject the supremacy of the Roman pontiff; 2d, those who adopt the doctrines and ceremonies of the Greek church, and are entirely independent of the patriarch of Constantinople; and 3d, those who are still subject to the see of Rome, though not conforming in all points to the worship of that church.

The Greek church is considered as separation from the Latin. In the middle of the ninth century, the controversy relating to the procession

of the Holy Ghost (which had been started in the sixth toise and sepa- century) became a point of great importance, on account of

the jealousy and ambition which at that time were blended with it. Photius, the patriarch of Jerusalem, having been advanced to that see in the room of Ignatius, whom he procured to be deposed, was solemnly excommunicated by Pope Nicholas, in a council held at Rome, and his ordination declared null and void. The Greek emperor resented this conduct of the pope, who defended himself with great spirit and resolution. Photius, in his turn, convened what he called an ecumenical council, in which he pronounced sentence of excommunication and deposition against the pope, and got it subscribed by twenty-one bishops and others, amounting in number to a thousand. This occasioned a wide breach between the sees of Rome and Constantinople. However, the death of the Emperor Michael, and the deposition of Photius subsequent thereupon, seem to have restored peace ; for the Emperor Basil held a council at Constantinople, in the year 869, in which entire satisfaction was given to Pope Adrian : but the schism was only smothered and suppressed for a while. The Greek church had several complaints against the Latin ; particularly it was thought a great hardship for the Greeks to subscribe to the definition of a council according to the Roman form, prescribed by the pope, since it made the church of Constantinople dependent on that of Rome, and set the pope above an ecumenical council : but, above all, the pride and haughtiness of the Roman court gave the Greeks a great distaste ; and, as their deportment seemed to insult his Imperial Majesty, it entirely alienated the affections of the Emperor Basil. Towards the middle of the eleventh century, Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, opposed the Latins with respect to their making use of unleavened bread in the eucharist, their observation of the sabbath, and fasting on Saturdays, charging them with living in communion with the Jews. To this Pope Leo IX. replied ; and, in his apology for the Latins, declaimed very warmly against the false doctrine of the Greeks, and interposed, at the same time, the authority of his see. He likewise, by his legates, excommunicated the patriarch in the church of Santa Sophia, which gave the last shock to the reconciliation attempted a long time after, but to no purpose ; for from that time the hatred of the Greeks to the Latins, and of the Latins to the Greeks, became insuperable, insomuch that they have continued ever since separated from each other's communion *.

As the numerous sects which are now subsisting in the Levant are of Greek origin, and as their principles and ceremonies, except in some few

particular points, are nearly the same, it will be necessary Greek church.

to treat on the religion of the Greeks (properly so called),

before we descend to the different branches that have issued from it.

The Greek church, which is now dependent on the patriarch of Constantinople, was not formerly so extensive as it has been since the emperors of the East thought proper to lessen or reduce the other patriarchates, in order to aggrandize that of Constantinople; a task which they accomplished with the greater ease, as they were much more powerful than the emperors of the West, and had little or no regard to the consent of the patriarchs, in order to create new bishoprics, or to confer new titles and privileges. Whereas, in the western church, the popes, by slow degrees, made themselves the sole arbiters in all ecclesiastical concerns ; insomuch that princes themselves at length became obliged to have recourse to them, and were subservient to their directions, on every momentous occasion.

There are several catalogues or lists now extant of the churches which are dependent on that of Constantinople; but as most of them are very ancient, and do not sufficiently illustrate the vast extent of which that church at present boasts, we shall not quote any of them in this place ; but merely state, that the number of metropolitans amounts to upwards of one hundred bishoprics.

State of the

* Buck's Theolog. Dic.; art. Greek Church.

is which

The Greek churches, at present, deserve not even the name of the shadow of what they were in their former flourishing state, when they were so remarkably distinguished for the learned and worthy pastors who presided over them ; but now nothing but wretchedness, ignorance, and poverty, are visible amongst them. “ I have seen churches," says Ricaut, were more like caverns or sepulchres than places set apart for divine worship; the tops thereof being almost level with the ground. They are erected after this humble manner for fear they should be suspected, if they raised them any considerable height, of an evil intention to rival the Turkish mosques.” It is, indeed, very surprising that, in the abject state to which the Greeks at present are reduced, the Christian religion should maintain the least footing amongst them. Their notions of Christianity are principally confined to the traditions of their forefathers, and their own received customs; and, among other things, they are much addicted to external acts of piety and devotion, such as the observance of fasts, festivals, and penances : they revere and dread the censures of their clergy; and are bigoted slaves to their religious customs, which have been irrefutably proved to be absurd and ridiculous; and yet it must be acknowledged, that, although these errors reflect a considerable degree of scandal and reproach upon the holy religion they profess, they nevertheless prevent it from being entirely lost and abolished amongst them. A fire which lies for a time concealed under a heap of embers, may revive and burn again as bright as ever; and the same hope may be conceived of truth, when obscured by the dark clouds of ignorance and error." Tenets of the I. They rebaptize all those Latins who are admitted into

their communion. II. They do not baptize their children till they are three, four, five, six, ten, and even sometimes eighteen years of age.

III. They exclude Confirmation and Extreme Unction out of the Seven Sacraments.

IV. They deny there is any such place as Purgatory, notwithstanding they pray for the dead.

V. They do not absolutely acknowledge the Pope's supremacy, nor that of the Church of Rome, which they look upon as fallen from her supremacy, because, as a Greek schismatic historian expresses himself, she had abandoned the doctrines of her fathers.

VI. They deny, by consequence, that the Church of Rome is the true Catholic Mother Church. They even prefer their own to that of Rome; and on Holy Thursday excommunicate the pope and all the Latin prelates, as heretics and schismatics, praying that all those who offer up unleavened bread in the celebration of the Sacrament may be covered with confusion.

VII. They deny that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.

VIII. They refuse to worship the Host consecrated by Latin priests with unleavened bread, according to the ancient custom of the Church of Rome, confirmed by the Council of Florence. They likewise wash the altars on which the Latins have celebrated mass; and will not suffer a Latin priest to officiate at their altars, pretending that the sacrifice ought to be performed with leavened bread.

IX. They assert that the usual form of words, wherein the Consecra

Greek church.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

tion, according to the Latins, wholly consists, is not sufficient to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, without the use of some additional prayers and benedictions of the fathers.

X. They insist that the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper ought to be administered in both kinds to infants, even before they are capable of distinguishing this spiritual food from any other, because it is a divine institution. For which reason they give the Sacrament to infants immediately after baptism, and look upon the Latins as heretics for not observing the same custom.

XI. They hold that the laity are under an indispensable obligation, by the law of God, to receive the Communion in both kinds, and look on the Latins as heretics who maintain the contrary.

XII. They assert that no members of the Church, when they have attained to years of discretion, ought to be compelled to receive the Communion every Easter, but should have free liberty to act according to the dictates of their own conscience.

XIII. They show no respect, no religious homage, nor veneration for the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, even at the celebration of their own priests; and use no lighted tapers when they administer it to the sick. Moreover, they keep it in a little bag or box, without any farther ceremony than fixing it to the wall, where they light up lamps before their images.

XIV. They are of opinion that such Hosts as are consecrated on Holy Thursday are much more efficacious than those consecrated at other times.

XV. They maintain that the Sacrament of Matrimony is a union which may be dissolved.

For which reason, they charge the Church of Rome with being guilty of an error, in asserting that the bonds of marriage can never be broken, even in case of adultery, and that no person upon any provocation whatsoever can lawfully marry again. But the Greeks preach up a wholly different doctrine, and practise it daily.

XVI. They condemn all fourth marriages.

XVII. They refuse to celebrate the solemnities instituted by the church and the primitive Fathers, in honour of the Virgin Mary and the Apostles ; and, independently of their different manner of celebrating them, they wholly neglect and despise the observance of several Saints' days which are of ancient institution. They reject likewise the religious use of graven images and statues, although they admit of pictures in their churches.

XVIII. They insist that the canon of the mass of the Latins ought to be abolished, as being full of errors.

XIX. They deny that usury is a mortal sin.
XX. They deny that the subdeaconry is at present a holy order.

XXI. Of all the general councils that have been held in the Catholic
Church by the popes at different times, they pay no regard to


after the sixth, and reject not only the seventh, which was the second held at Nice, for the express purpose of condemning those who rejected the use of images in their divine worship, but all those which have succeeded it, by which they refuse to submit to any of their institutions.

XXII. They deny auricular confession to be a divine precept, and pretend it is only a positive injunction of the Church.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »