Page images
PDF
EPUB

European brethren; many of them have come to the Holy City in order that they may die there and be buried with their people. There are several admirable institutions for the benefit of poor Jews in Jerusalem, founded by Sir Moses Montefiore and other wealthy and benevolent European Jews.

The Christians of Jerusalem are composed of various sects, the most powerful being those of the Greek Church, whose patriarch has his residence and episcopal throne there. They possess some of the largest and richest monasteries and foundations in the city. The Armenians, whose patriarch is styled “Patriarch of Jerusalem,” and lives at the monastery next to Zion Gate, are a branch of that church and nation whose members are spread so widely over the various provinces of the Turkish Empire. The Armenians and the Greeks are better disposed towards the Protestants than towards their chief opponents—the Roman Catholics. The Copts, the sole representatives of the ancient race that built the Pyramids, who intermarry only with their own sect, are not numerous, but they have a monastery which is the residence of a bishop. The Syrians of the ancient church (Jacobites) are under the protection of the Armenians, but have a bishop and a few priests; and the poor Abyssinians, who live from hand to mouth, have a monastery beside the Church of the Sepulchre.

The Latins, or Roman Catholics—the deadly enemies of the Greeks-number about 1,500 souls, and are possessed of considerable wealth and influence. Affiliated to them are the Oriental churches of the Greek Catholics and the United Armenians, numbering about 50 souls.

It is hardly necessary to say that the Protestants are not a numerous community in Jerusalem. A Mission of Inquiry was instituted in 1820 by the Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews, and in 1824 Dr. Dalton, the first missionary, took up his residence there. In 1811 the Governments of England and Prussia entered into an agreement to establish a bishopric there, the diocese to embrace Mesopotamia, Chaldea, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Abyssinia. In connection with the evangelical work of the mission is a school for proselytes and Jewish children, a boys' school for natives and Protestant Arabs, an Arabic church and school, a Hospital of the Deaconesses of Kaiserswerth—an admirable institution open to every suffering human creature of whatever faith-two orphanages, a leper hospital, a children's hospital, and the Hospital of St. John. The English church, for many years under the care of Bishop Gobat, is situated on Mount Zion.

The best approach to Jerusalem is from the Mount of Olives, when the whole city bursts upon the view and presents an appearance more imposing than from any other spot, every building of importance standing out sharply, and the walls and other surroundings giving to it a vastness which is not seen elsewhere. The next best approach is from the hill Scopus, the route taken by travellers from the north; while the least impressive first-view of the city is that seen by those who come from Jaffa, the effect of the general appearance being greatly marred by huge blocks of modern buildings, chiefly Russian.

Jerusalem is enclosed by a wall nearly forty feet high, irregular, and conformed to the lills over which it passes, massive in appearance, but in reality very far from substantial; it was built in the sixteenth century, and only a few courses of its stone belong to the wall of an ancient date. Around the walls are thirty-four towers, and in the walls are seven gates, five open and two closed—the former are the Jaffa Gate, on the west, called by the Arabs Bâbel-Khalîl, or the Gate of the Friend, leading to Hebron ; the Damascus Gate, leading to Samaria and Damascus; St. Stephen's Gate, leading to Olivet and Bethany; the Dung

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

Gate, or Gate of the Western Africans, leading to Siloam ; and Zion Gate, or Gate of the Prophet David, on the ridge of Zion. The closed gates are the Golden Gate in the eastern wall of the Harâm, and the Gate of Herod.

The town itself covers an area of 209.5 acres, of which 35 are occupied by the Harâm-eshSherîf—the plateau of the Temple. The remaining space is divided into different quarters,

a

the Christian quarter, including the part occupied by the Armenians, taking up the western half; the Mohammedans have the north-east portion; the Jews the south-east. “The circumference is nearly two and a quarter miles, while the extent of the city-small as it is, it now seems too large for the population-may be illustrated by the fact that it would nearly occupy the space included between Oxford Street and Piccadilly on the north and south, and Park Lane and Bond Street on the east and west."* The streets are narrow, badly paved, and crooked as a corkscrew; the principal being the Street of David, leading from the Jaffa Gate to the Harâm; the Street of the Gate of the Columns, running from the Damascus Gate to the Street of the Gate of the Prophet David, under which name it continues to Zion Gate; Christian Street, running from the Street of David to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; and the Via Dolorosa, running from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to St. Stephen's Gate.

There are very few open spaces, and not one street in which a carriage can be driven ; the bazaars are poor, and not to be compared for a moment with those of Cairo or Damascus ; they are in narrow lanes, for the most part vaulted over, and exhibit the usual articles to be found in Eastern bazaars-shoes, pipes, tobaccos, hardware, jewellery, cutlery, and so fortheach stall being under the superintendence of a man in flowing robes and turban, who sits cross-legged and smokes while the crowd buzzes unceasingly around him. There are two good hotels, the “Mediterranean” and the “Damascus ;” and several hospices—the Casa Nova of the Franciscans, the Austrian Hospice, and the Prussian Hospice of St. John-but the majority of travellers who are making the tour of Palestine camp outside the city, as indeed do many of the inhabitants in the summer-time for the sake of the purer air. house in Jerusalem has a cupola, with a flat space on the roof to allow a stroll round it, and all the houses are of stone. Very few of them exhibit any traces of architectural beauty; in fact the dwelling-houses generally suggest poverty and dirt.

Let us now in imagination enter Jerusalem by the Jaffa Gate, and, after looking round, make our way to Christian Street, the principal bazaar-street of the city, and thence to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

If it is the “season”—that is to say, the spring or the autumn, but more especially the spring-a startling scene will be witnessed as soon as the Jaffa Gate is passed and the large open space beyond it reached. The scene resembles a fair, or carnival, at which representatives of all sorts and conditions of men, of all nations and kindreds and peoples and tongues, are gathered together, dressed in every conceivable and outlandish costume, wrought in every shade of colour. Here are veiled women in bright blue, or yellow, or scarlet; Turks in embroidered clothes and startling turbans; Bedouins with glittering weapons in their girdles; Albanians in plaited petticoats and jackets abounding in gold and silver thread work; Nubians in white tunics; Syrian Jews with pale faces and hair in ringlets; Russian pilgrims wrapped in fur as if they anticipated the climate of Jerusalem to turn to that of Moscow ; Englishmen in tourist garb; fellaheen almost destitute of garb; dragomans ; Turkish soldiers ; Greek priests with round black caps; Armenian monks with pointed black hoods; high-capped and black-habited Copts; French, Germans, Italians, all crowded together; while amongst them run and plead a

Almost every

a

“Our Work in Palestine," p. 28.

legion of beggars droning or screaming the everlasting cry of “Backsheesh ! ” Rows of stalls line the way, at which men and boys with loud voices are calling out their waressherbet, nuts, oranges, sweetmeats, and cooked food of doubtful aspect; while a row of small shops and cafés appear to be doing a roaring trade, especially in those where a tempting placard announces “English beer sold here."

On the right hand the eye rests at once upon a massive square tower, forming part of the citadel. It is the Tower of Hippicus—the tower described by Josephus—the tower about which there has been endless controversy. The substructures are very solid and of great antiquity; the stones, many of them ten feet in length, are bevelled, with rough surfaces. Over the height of thirty-nine feet the masonry is of a different character, and it is supposed by some that the lower part is a portion of the fortress erected by King David, or, according to others, of the Tower of Hippicus, built by Herod. Whichever it may have been-or it may have been both—there is every probability that this tower was standing in the days when our Lord was on earth. Josephus tells us that Titus left this tower standing when he destroyed the city; and it was the last place to yield when Jerusalem was taken by the Franks. “There is not one house standing,” says MacLeod, “on which we can feel certain that our Lord ever gazed, unless it be the old tower at the Jaffa Gate.”

Close by is the English church on the site of Herod's palace, a substantial and pretty building, and the interior simple and in good taste—a striking contrast to many of the other churches.

Turning now into Christian Street, where the shops more resemble those of European cities than in the other streets, a narrow turning brings us to one of the most interesting spots in the world, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Rivers of ink have flowed in controversies over the sites of holy places in Jerusalem generally, and of the Church of the Sepulchre in particular. The site of Golgotha, as indicated in the Scriptures, was outside the walls of the city; the site of the Church of the Sepulchre is far within the present walls. The question is, Could the present site ever have answered to the requirements of the sacred narrative in which it is said that Golgotha was “nigh to the city” (John xix. 20); that our Lord was crucified “without the gate” (Heb. xiii. 12); and that "in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid ; there laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand”? (John xix. 41-2). Opinions are divided upon this topographical controversy ; De Vogüé, Williams, and many others being in favour of the present site; Dr. Robinson, Fergusson, and others taking the opposite view. The next important point of controversy is that of historical evidence; and it is agreed that there is no evidence whatever that this site was held in reverence during the early centuries of the Christian era. It is not mentioned by any of the apostles ; nor—with the exception of a passage in Eusebius, in which he states that over the sepulchre, “that illustrious monument of immortality,” had been erected a Temple of Venus—is anything known of it until the Emperor Constantine caused the Temple of Venus to be overthrown and the holy cave laid bare. Subsequently, so it is said, Helena, the mother of Constantine, discovered, by a divine vision, the true Cross and all the localities connected with the death and burial of our Lord.

[ocr errors]

That is certain is that on this site a magert burcb w26 emmenced in 122 and completed 4.1. 595, and from that time to the present there have been saresse enurebef (il the same sit, notwithstaning destruction lur tbe Persians, the Moslems, ad Tire

lu tit Christian quarter of the cit, in a nut) (Toked street chied Pane Siret, staudit int Church of the Hudy Separure. A few ragh side steps lead down to a large Opel pur-yard, paved with set wish slabs of me; and the sait sich beisbe ere, if the season be one of a greai festival, is erri 125 in the extreme A coud Japie, creased in a the c hours of the railbot, add composed of almost eTEIT

IS under the su: Tendora of rejcs, rosaries, charons, crucises, and a raritis of aber artis; rrun by the front wiering ther melaars eres, which seemn peculiar to Stra: grans,

not fightert. ait, priests-ibest in themst!res present a eurions pritacje; tat iz tut bertente pent-rurd, or, it may be drawn ap in a line oth the restituie of ide

m, sase a Frog zur of Takib süjers-a guard of armed Moslems-o keep the jourse i rra. Cristian serta!

Titre Las out an imposing aspect from the exterior, por is ibere ans spot ir wie for portions ean be seen, sanding as it does in the midst of a crowded

It is, buwerer, a Dornas branding, T series of boungs, 350 feet 1:32 og T2 wide, aod contains “sevelty sacred localities presided over to seventeen d. Erret seats in separate chapels inside the edisice."

Witboat pazing to describe the architecture of the exterior, or the bas-reliefs over the main portal, let us pass the Moslem custodians on their bench in the portal, where they Fuke their pipes and drink their ofte in utier indiference, as Do "backsbeesbo can be demanded at the times when the church is open, and commence our tour of the church, Doting only the principal places of interest and the legends connected with them. And, in dog by, let us remeber that we are following the footsteps of milhons of pious pilgrims wby, from all countries, through many centuries, hare come hither, in a spirit of faith, devotion, and self-sacrifice, to worship.

The first thing we observe is a large stone, around which, at all times, there are many koeeling worbippers. It is the Stone of Unction, on which it is said the body of our Lord tras laid from anointing when taken from the Cross. Notwithstanding the fact that the str.De har often been charged, that it belonged at one time to the Corts, at another to the Gorgians, then to the Latins, and afterwards to the Greeks, and that the present stone was only placed in position in the year 190s, it is positively worn down in parts by the lips of migrims sbs hare kissed it. All the Christian sects hare free access to this part of the church; and over the Sve of l'action, Armenians, Latins, Greeks, and Copts have hung ları,j's and iarze wrator, which are always kept burning. A few paces farther on is another state, in a rale escorre, indicating the spot where the mather of our Lord Fond the bride of Jesus was being an inted, and where she afterwards stood watching Hieta). Sats of mare, irad aud radiating from the central stane, mark the very spot kow as the station of Mary. Turing Dow to the right, a few steps bring us to the Rotunda of the Suprem Twe, in the centre of which stands the Holy Sepulchre itself. The dome, kinulegttien piers, over which run two pairs of arcades, is sixty-five feet in Caser**t, gerenrand : Dosaics, and is open at the top like the Pantheon at Rome.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »