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their place in the Translation. The quotations from Scripture are given in the words of our received version, wherever the Greek of Cyril admitted of it; when otherwise, it has been signified in the margin.
The feast of St. Matthew, 1838.
J. H. N.
Notice concerning the Churches in which the Lectures were delivered.
IT has already been observed, that St. Cyril delivered the following Lectures in the year 347 or 348. He delivered them without book, in the Churches raised over the spot made sacred by our Lord's death, burial, and resurrection; those addressed to the Catechumens, excepting the Introductory Lecture, in the evening, that being the usual time for religious meetings during Lent; and those on the Mysteries, at
It may be interesting to the reader to be put in possession of Eusebius's description of the Basilica and Church, which Constantine erected, in which the Lectures were delivered. The circumstance of its being contemporaneous history will be considered perhaps to compensate for the turgidness of the style. In his panegyric upon Constantine, he briefly noticed the buildings in question thus:
66 As regards Palestine, in the midst of the royal home of the Hebrews, at the very place of the Saving Witness', he employed himself in ornamenting richly and with munificent earnestness a vast House of prayer and Holy Temple to the Saving Sign; and paid honour to the Great Saviour's tomb of eternal memory, His very trophy raised over death, with decorations not to be described." c. 9.
And more at length in his life of the same Emperor. "He considered it his duty to constitute that most blessed spot in Jerusalem of the Saving Resurrection, an object of admiration and reverence to all. Accordingly he gave orders to construct there a House of Prayer, not projecting it apart from God, but moved in spirit by the Saviour Himself. For in former
a Vid. Cyril, Lect. xiv. 6.
days irreligious men, or rather the whole race of evil spirits by means of them, had made it a point to consign over that divine monument of immortality to darkness and oblivion. . . . Not sparing their labour in the work, and bringing earth from other places, they conceal the whole place; and then raising it up high and paving it with stones, they bury the divine treasure somewhere beneath under this vast mound. Then as though nothing more was to be done, above that ground, they contrive a sepulchre, dreadful indeed for souls; by building a dark shrine of dead idols to the unchaste spirit called Venus. And there they offered impure sacrifices upon profane and guilty altars..... No one ever, governor, or general, or emperor himself, was found equal for the overthrow of this daring deed, but one, the favoured of the All Sovereign God. Influenced then by a Divine Spirit, he bore not that the place aforenamed should be hidden under that unholy mass, by the counsels of enemies, forgotten and unknown; he yielded not to the wickedness of the perpetrators of the deed; so, invoking God his Helper, he bids purify the place, deeming it fitting that what had been the most polluted by our enemies, should receive the noblest work of good through him. And upon the word the structures of falsehood began to fall upon the ground from their height above; and images, evil spirits, and the whole edifice of error fell into pieces and were demolished. Nor did the Emperor's zeal rest here; but he orders to carry off and cast away, far away from the spot, the materials, wood and stone. Deeds followed upon word; yet even at this point was he not satisfied. Again, divinely moved, he commanded to dig deep and carry out the soil itself, together with the mound, far away, as having been polluted by the mire of devilish sacrifices. This too was instantly done; on which another foundation instead of the first came to light, one in the depth of the earth, and the awful and all-holy Witness of the Saving Resurrection came to light beyond all hope; and then that cave, a holy of holies, began to image forth the scene of the revival of the
Saviour. Thus after its setting in darkness, it again came forth to the light; and to those who came to see, it afforded a manifest view of the history of the things done there, witnessing by facts more vocally than any voice the Saviour's resurrection. All this being done, immediately the Emperor by pious edicts and unsparing contributions, commands to build about the Saving Cave, a House of prayer, worthy of God, with rich and royal magnificence, having long proposed this, and contemplated the future with special eagerness;-sending to the Governors of the Eastern provinces, by unsparing and loving contributions to accomplish an extraordinary, great, and rich work; and to the then Bishop of Jerusalem, [Macarius,] the following letter, &c. . . . .
"First of all, he set about the decorations of the Sacred Cave itself, that divine monument, by which an Angel dazzling with light once told good tidings of the regeneration manifested to all through the Saviour. This then first, as the beginning of the whole, the Emperor's devotion enriched with choice pillars and much embellishment, beautifying it with ornaments of every sort.
"Next he passed over an ample space opened to the sky; which was paved with shining stone, and surrounded on three sides with long porticos.
"But on the fourth side which was opposite the Cave, and looked eastward, was added the Royal Temple, [the Basilica,] an extraordinary work, rising to an immense height, and spread out in exceeding length and width. The inner walls were covered with marble slabs of various colours, and the outside face of the walls, shining with polished stones closely fitted together, was a specimen of supernatural beauty not inferior to the look of marble. The roof without was protected with lead, as a defence against the weather; and the roof within was composed of carved fretwork, and by means of compartments stretched its vast expanse over the whole Basilica, and was covered throughout with resplendent gold, so as to make the whole Temple dazzling as with a blaze of light.
"On each side ran a portico with two ranges along the length of the Temple, both above and under ground; and of this too the roof was enriched with gold. The outside ranges consisted of enormous columns; and the inside of quadrangular buttresses highly ornamented. Three handsome doors on the East let in the multitude who would enter.
"At the opposite end, was the perfection of the whole work, a hemisphere, at the top of the Basilica; girt with twelve pillars according to the number of the Apostles of the Saviour, with capitals ornamented with large silver cups, which the Emperor himself gave as a most beautiful offering to his God.
"Hence, as one goes forward to the entrances lying before the Temple, he interposed an open court; and on each side, first a hall, then porticoes, and then hall doors. Next, reaching into the broad marketplace, was placed the vestibule of the whole tastefully fashioned, affording to those who were passing outside a striking view of the wonders within.
"This Temple then the Emperor raised as a conspicuous Witness of the Saving Resurrection, beautifying it with rich and royal materials. And he embellished it with innumerable gifts of undescribable splendour, with gold, silver, precious stones of every kind; of which the exquisite workmanship in particular, whether in size, number, or variety, does not admit of being recounted here." (iii. 25—40.)
A ground-plan of the Church and Basilica is subjoined :—
bi. e. the Apsis where the Altar was.