FRANCE.--The cornerstone of the new American "Church of the Holy Trinity," in the Rue Bayard, Paris, was laid on Saturday, Sept. 12, the fifth anniversary of the commencement of services. No American Bishop being present, the Rev. Dr. Caswall, of Figheldean--so long connected with the Church of America--was invited to take the chief part in the services. Besides the Rev. Mr. Lamson, the Rev. Drs. Littlejohn and Clarkson were present, as well as the Rev. Messrs. Forbes and Gurney, English clergymen resident in Paris. What was still more remarkable, the Abbe Guettee--the learned Gallican divine, editor of L' Union Chretienne and L' Observateur Catholique, and three ministers of the Russo-Greek Church in Paris, M. Wassilieff, Arch-priest, his brother, and the deacon, M. Opotsky, were also present. Anglican, Roman, and Oriental clergymen, all gathered to do honor to an American Church enterprise: surely this looks more like Christian fellowship than any one incident we have ever read of before in modern times. Sit omen benedictum.
November 4, 1863
OUR AMERICAN CHURCH IN PARIS.--Our readers will well remember the most interesting circumstance of the attendance of two ecclesiastics of the Russo-Greek Church, and the learned and truly Catholic-minded Abbe Guettee, of the Church of France, at the laying of the cornerstone of our new church in Paris, of which the Rev. Mr. Lamson is rector. The incident is thus mentioned editorially in L' Union Chretienne, a weekly religious paper, conducted by the ecclesiastics of the Russo-Greek Church who were present on that occasion:--
'An interesting ceremony took place last Saturday in Paris. The first stone of an American Episcopal Church was laid. The Rev. Priest of this church, Mr. Lamson, conceived the happy idea of inviting the clergy of the Russo-Greek Church who are in Paris, to be present on the occasion. These gentlemen made it their duty to respond to this cordial invitation; and have thus proved that the sincerest attachment to Catholic doctrines inspires neither intolerance nor fanaticism.'
'It is known that the American Episcopal Church, in its last Triennial Council, resolved that it would make serious overtures to the Oriental Church for the union of the two Churches. The Anglican Church, in the last Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, has applauded this movement by the mouth of her most learned theologians, and in particular the venerable and profound Canon Wordsworth. We have already laid before our readers some extracts from the speech of that eminent priest.'
'It was then a duty for priests of the Catholic Church to respond to the invitation of the Rev. Mr. Lamson, and thus to prove to the American Episcopal Church that they cherish the liveliest sympathy for her; that they look upon the new church to be built at but a little distance from the Russo-Greek church, as a sign of a spiritual approximation so desirable between two Churches, both well worthy of coming to a mutual understanding, and of uniting in the pure doctrine of the first Christian centuries.'
'The prayers and the liturgy on the occasion were interspersed with several addresses. That of Mr. Lamson was chiefly devoted to an explanation of the symbolic meaning of the ceremony itself. He pointed to the Cross, carved in relief upon the cornerstone of the new edifice, and presented that as the foundation of every Christian Church, as it should also be its crown, shooting up into the air far above all the rest of the building. The other orators unfolded, with eloquence, good and pious thoughts. Dr. Littlejohn, a distinguished priest of the Diocese of New York, remarked that this ceremony awakened the fairest hopes for union, since there, standing beside the clergy of the American Episcopal Church, were seen not only priests of the Episcopal Church of England, but also priests of that so venerable Oriental Church, with which the Episcopal Church of both America and England was so desirous to unite.'
'Let us hope that these edifices of the Oriental Church and of the Non-Roman Episcopal Church, standing so near to one another within the vast circumference of Paris, may be the first steps towards that union which would be such an important aid in the establishment of the Kingdom of God and of His Christ in the world.'
Surely there could be no more beautiful or cordial manifestation of a fraternal spirit than this. Moreover, it must be remembered that this Journal, L' Union Chretienne, was expressly established for realizing the happy idea embodied in its name, and is not only conducted by ecclesiastics of the Russian Church high in favor at home, but has also received the cordial written approbation of the Patriarchs of Constantinople and of Alexandria, with the leading members of the Synod of the former. We have every reason, therefore, to believe that it fairly represents the spirit in which overtures for intercommunion will be received from the Churches of England and America.
The Rev. Mr. Lamson has returned to this country to raise the remainder of the amount needed for the construction of this new church of ours in Paris, an undertaking now doubly dear to all who have at heart the reunion of great branches of the Church Catholic, unhappily alienated from each other through so many centuries.
May 18, 1864 COMMUNICATION
CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY, PARIS.
Messrs. Editors:--The funds required for the completion of this church having been secured, there was a congratulatory reunion of its friends on Tuesday evening last, May 10, at the house of Benjamin R. Winthrop, Esq., in this city. It was an occasion of unusual interest, being under the auspices of the Home Committee, and partaking both of a social and ecclesiastical character. The Rev. Dr. Francis Vinton, President of the Committee, took the chair, the Rev. Dr. Morgan of S. Thomas's church (Secretary), and Benj. R. Winthrop, Esq. (Treasurer), assisting. Beside these, and the Rev. Rector of Holy Trinity, William O. Lamson, M.A., there were present the Rev. Drs. Littlejohn, Ogilby, Gallaudet, and the Rev. Mr. Walker of Calvary chapel, Messrs. A. A. Low, B. H. Field, Draper, Elliott, Coddington, Niblo, Warner, Mayo, the Hon. Geo. Folsom, and other prominent gentlemen, who have been unwavering friends to the establishment of this church in Paris.
Upon taking the chair, Dr. Vinton, in eloquent terms, stated the object of the meeting. It was to recognize the blessing of God, and interchange hearty congratulations, in view of the complete success which at length had crowned a most important work. The formation of a church in Paris, had been authorized in General Convention, as altogether desirable, and the wing of its sanction and fostering care had been spread above it, and he (Dr. Vinton) called upon all present to unite in hailing a financial result equal to the comprehensive action of the American Church. A chaste and beautiful building was not only in the process of erection in the metropolis of France, but would be unencumbered. The means to make it not only free from debt, but forever free as a House of Prayer and Holy Worship, were obtained, and he regarded this fact, as enough to awaken joy and gladness in every heart. In concluding these introductory remarks, Dr. Vinton called upon the Rev. Mr. Lamson for his Report, confirming the announcement of success just made. As this Report, with its items and aggregate, will shortly be given to the Church, it is unnecessary to recite it in this notice. It was most satisfactory, and as soon as read, its acceptance was moved by the Rev. Dr. Morgan, who proceeded, in a speech of some length, to express his gratification at the happy result, and to award honor to whom honor was due. He paid a warm and well-deserved compliment to the Rev. Chairman, whose interest in this church from the beginning had been steadfast, and who had followed it through every vicissitude with a hopeful and determined spirit, having been its zealous champion in the General Convention, the chairman of the Home Committee, the friend and counsellor of the Rector, and an active promoter of the effort to secure needful contributions. The great and ceaseless devotion of Mr. Winthrop, the honored host and Treasurer of the Home Committee, was also fittingly acknowledged. He had been untiring, and his liberal contributions of money had only been exceeded by his painstaking and invaluable services from first to last; services which could not have been dispensed with, and which must forever identify him with the American Church in Paris, as one of its most constant friends. Dr. Morgan went on to say that there were other lay-gentlemen present, and many who were not there, whose names and generous gifts would be inseparably connected with this foreign church. But he reserved his chief commendations for one, who more than any other, had produced the gratifying result, over which they rejoiced. He did not believe that an American Episcopal Church would have been erected in Paris, during this year of grace or during the next ten or twenty, had it not been for the tact, the self-sacrifice, the patience, the persistency, the indomitable energy of the faithful Rector, Mr. Lamson. Dr. Morgan proceeded to mention the services, difficulties, and obstacles which Mr. Lamson had overcome, arising from the distractions of the country, as well as from narrow and inadequate views of his objects, and concluded by saying that but one occasion now remained which could exceed this in gladness and profound significance--that was the consecration of the church to its holy ends and influences. It would indeed be an hour of transcendant interest, not only to the Rector, and those present, but to the whole Church; and it would be a happy circumstance could gentlemen whom he saw around him be present and partakers of the joy. He had learned with satisfaction that the Treasurer, Mr. Winthrop, was expecting to be in Paris at the time of the consecration, and should it please God to favor him, he (Dr. Morgan) hoped to be there himself, for it had long been his most earnest desire to behold upon the Continent of Europe a branch of our own Catholic and Apostolic Church, pure in doctrine, free from State entanglements, breaking the Bread of Life to the stranger and sojourner, and extending the hand of unity and concord toward dissevered flocks of the same fold, scattered abroad.
Mr. Winthrop followed with a most interesting statement of his connection with this noble enterprise. His conviction of its importance was the result of his residence in Paris. There were other churches in that city, and he would not detract from their usefulness and respectability; but nothing could compensate him for the absence of that Church which he loved as an American Episcopalian. Acting upon this natural predilection, he resolved to do what he could to further the erection of a decent and suitable place of worship, where none as yet existed, which might be as grateful and welcome to others of the same Communion, as it would be to him, and accordingly he favored the appointment of a Home Committee, and accepted the office of Treasurer. In describing the early hopes and anticipations of the Committee, Mr. Winthrop fell into a strain of irresistible humor. The earliest pledges were the largest, as they proved to be the most illusive. Two subscriptions of $1500 were then made, but never realized. A lengthy and elaborate appeal to the Church in the United States was lithographed and scattered all over the land, with scarcely a response. He had occasion about the same time to make a tour through the Southern States, then in the Union, and deemed it a fair opportunity to promote the object he had so much at heart. In every city he was met with large promises. Any amount could be raised--ten thousands--and then tens of thousands. His visit happening to fall in with Diocesan Conventions, he was, in two instances, invited to present the cause of the Church in Paris. Great interest was manifested, especially in the Convention of Louisiana, over which Bishop Polk presided. But of substantial aid, not a cent had ever gladdened the eyes of the travelling Treasurer. The handsome aggregate over which we lingered with some little complacency to-night, had been secured in the loyal States of the North, and a very large proportion of it in New York City. It had been raised poco a poco, little by little. But it mattered not how or where it was contributed inasmuch as the spiritual necessity, and the desire of many hearts, had found their accomplishment.
Mr. Lamson, in order to confirm the statement of Mr. Winthrop, in his closing remarks, called attention, for a moment, to his Subscription Book, from which it appeared that with a few notable exceptions, the amounts recorded had been limited to $100 and to $50 and lesser sums, showing the slow and painful steps, by which the sufficiency had been reached.
At this moment a note from the Rev. Dr. Coxe of Calvary church was received, enclosing a cheque for over $500, and expressing his regret that circumstances detained him at home.
The chairman, in calling upon the Rev. Dr. Littlejohn (who during a recent visit to Europe had been in Paris at the laying of the cornerstone of the American church and taken part in the solemnities) paid a passing tribute of gratitude to Mr. A. A. Low, who was also present on the same interesting occasion. I ascribe, said Dr. Vinton, the consummation of our hopes this night very much to our honored friend Mr. Low. A sojourn in Paris with his family had made him acquainted with our humble foothold as a Church in the gay metropolis, and when these parlor gatherings were inaugurated he was easily persuaded to attend, although not a Churchman. After noticing our halting and indecisive action, and the fears and doubts which clogged our progress, he arose one evening and administered to us a salutary rebuke: in fact, a sound drubbing. He told us that as ministers we were afraid of our people, even while our people were waiting to do our behests. In his denomination all good objects were liberally sustained if the pastor endorsed them, but we who claimed to be The Church hesitated and stammered as we pressed upon our flocks their solemn duty. As an outsider, he appreciated our present work. He believed it to be good, and although not seeing eye to eye with Churchmen, he was quite in favor of an American Episcopal Church in the great metropolis of France; and "suiting the action to the word," he came forward and subscribed $500.
In his brief and graceful reply to the chairman, Mr. Low disclaimed the encomiums which had been so lavishly awarded him, and proceeded to say that he had received great comfort and edification in foreign cities, while attending English and other Protestant chapels, and had always found himself refreshed by the liturgical services of the Episcopal Church in Paris. He rejoiced most cordially that he had been allowed to promote its larger influence and efficiency in any measure.
The Rev. Dr. Littlejohn succeeded, and after pausing for a moment to explain a ludicrous incident which had been adverted to as happening in the chapel of the Oratoire, he went on to say that while Paris was a gay and pleasure-loving and godless capital, it was also the intellectual oracle of the world. It is not to be denied that with all the frivolity and dissipation which abound there, she leads all cities in sustained mental activity, as well as in philosophical and material progress. This fact would continue to attract thousands who had no sympathy with her Atheism and folly, and hence the importance of having our Church there, in all her completeness, not merely to enfold transient visitors from our Communion in America, but to represent that primitive faith and order and simplicity of worship which characterize our Branch of the True Vine. Whatever might be said, men of taste and intellectual culture would flock to Paris, as well as those who were governed by lower motives, and the Church could in no wise be dispensed with. He had not always taken this view, but his recent visit had satisfied him completely that this effort to rear a commodious and attractive church in Paris was eminently wise. It was his good fortune to be present at the laying of the cornerstone, and to take part in the solemnities of that occasion, and he could say that seldom, if ever, had he been so deeply interested or impressed. During a brief address which he delivered, bearing in part upon the inter-communion of Churches now unhappily isolated, he had the great satisfaction of observing the Abbe Guettee, and an eminent Greek Priest who stood opposite, nodding assent to almost every word. He moreover took that opportunity to declare that the recent movement on behalf of Christian unity in this city could in no way be more effectually advanced than through the support of this very church. It would be a centre, not only of light, but of brotherly kindness and charity. Before concluding his remarks, Dr. Littlejohn bore his unqualified testimony to the loyalty and perfect sympathy with our Government (not only of the rector, but) which were touchingly manifest in the Sunday services of the American church in Paris. There was no reservation to please chance worshippers from the Confederacy. The supplication for the President and for the righteous cause were full and hearty, and he desired to add that if his brother the rector had deserved the flattering eulogium pronounced upon him by Dr. Morgan, he deserved it in still larger measure for the prudence and wisdom which marked his action and intercourse at home.
Dr. Littlejohn having resumed his seat, the chairman begged permission to introduce two distinguished gentlemen from Philadelphia, who at his request had honored the meeting with their presence. Messrs. Harrison and Claghorn; after mentioning their special claims to consideration, and alluding to the long residence of Mr. Harrison in Russia, this latter gentleman arose and gave a most instructive and pleasing account of his efforts in years past, to provide for and sustain the worship of God in St. Petersburg.
As the evening was far advanced the chairman observed that he had but one other matter with which to detain the meeting from the elegant hospitalities of their host. It was well known to him, as it was to many beside, that Mrs. Lamson, the accomplished wife of the rector, had deserved the admiration and the gratitude of all who were interested in the American church at Paris. Great praise had been accorded to the husband--in his judgment quite as much was due to the wife for her unselfishness, her singular discretion, her strict and vigilant attention to every minute interest of the church. He would accordingly offer a resolution of appreciation and thanks, which, if adopted, should be sent to Mrs. Lamson in due form by the Secretary. The resolution was adopted unanimously, upon which the company adjourned, and were presently gathered in a less formal way around a most sumptuous and most appetizing repast. Hearty congratulations were exchanged, and both the meeting and the entertainment were pronounced by all as most delightful and long to be remembered. SCRIBE.
October 5, 1864
FRANCE.--We are indebted to a correspondent in Paris for the following interesting letter:--
Messrs. Editors:-The consecration of the American Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity, in Paris,--an event to which many have looked forward with the deepest interest,--has taken place; and your correspondent thinks it better to send you a brief account of the proceedings, rather than wait for leisure to make it more full. The 12th of September has thus become thrice memorable in the history of this noble enterprise of our American Church. The 12th of September, 1858, saw the beginning of this work in the setting up of the altar of our worship in Paris, since which time that worship has never been interrupted here. The 12th of September, 1863, is marked by the ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone: a service of great interest and solemnity, which your readers will remember. Again, the 12th of September returns to witness the crowning of the work in the consecration of a beautiful church, erected after much prayer, patience, and labor, as a perpetual memorial of the value the children of our beloved Church set upon her hallowed worship and spiritual care. It is, besides, a work of patriotism, and wrought out amid the fearful struggles at home; and, therefore, so much the more significant of our loyalty as American Churchmen.
The church is located in the Rue Bayard, a retired street leading from the Avenue Montaigne, near its junction with the Champs Elysees. The location is, therefore, nearly upon the Champs Elysees, central and easily accessible from all points. The church presents a front of 35 feet, and the lot has a depth of about 87 feet. The front recedes some four feet from the railing that encloses it, and rises 65 feet to the cross that crowns the gable. Above the heavily moulded doorway runs a frieze supporting a deep set triple lancet window, each lancet divided with stone mullion, forming two windows with rounded heads, and supporting a circle filling the head of the lancet arch. Beneath the sill of the triplet lancet the front is panelled in small arches. Above the lancets is a fine large rose window, with rich stone mullions forming the leaves of the rose. The gable rises sharply and is crowned with a richly carved but well defined cross. The buttresses terminate in rich finials, and the eaves are supported by arched bracket works. The lancets and the rose are embraced in a well marked arch sculptured in relief. The sculpture generally of the facade comes out with fine effect in the cream colored stone of Paris. The interior presents, to speak generally, a faithful observance of the style of the Church, which is that of the 13th century. The space is broken by the columns supporting the clerestory wall; they are triple below the galleries, which are narrow and single above, terminating in a rich capital, from which spring the arches whose points touch the frieze running below the clerestory windows. These arches are well moulded and of very graceful form. The side arches over the gallery are supported on the wall side by rich corbels.
The roof of the nave is neatly groined diagonally, and rises to a height of 48 feet from the floor. The clerestory wall is pierced on each side by five rose windows, which, with that in the front, and one over the chancel arch, make twelve, which it is designed to fill with stained glass, embodying the symbolism of the Twelve Apostles. Four of these are already in place. That over the chancel arch contains the symbol of the Trinity together with the eagle and chalice of S. John, whose writings most fully declare this fundamental doctrine. S. Matthew and S. Mark support this window on either side in the first clerestory roses, while in the front we have the apostolicity of the Church declared in the keys and the closed book of S. Peter, together with the family crest and letter of the generous giver of this beautiful window, who has added this to the many proofs of his warm and zealous interest in the church. The S. John window is the gift of a devoted daughter of the Church, and is but one of the beautiful and liberal proofs of her zeal for the Church of her love. The windows of S. Matthew and S. Mark, are likewise gifts, and the remaining eight are waiting for others to manifest a similar desire to serve the Lord with their substance in the advancement of His temple. The chancel is sufficiently large, and is enclosed with a light gilded rail of gothic pattern. Within the decorations are simple, but in beautiful taste. The rear wall is done in ultra marine blue, from the wood work to the roof, and the roof of the same color, sprinkled with golden stars. On the deep blue of the wall, over the Communion table, is a fine fresco of the Resurrection, about five feet high, and bordered with fillets of gold, over which rises a beautiful golden cross. This fresco is supported on either side by tablets, containing the Lord's Prayer, and the Apostles' Creed, done on zinc, in polychrome and gilt, and in old English text. They are the skilful handiwork and generous gift of Miss Caswall, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Caswall of England. The furniture of the chancel is all rich, made for the most part by Frank Smith & Co. of London, and the gifts of different members of the congregation. The pulpit, made by the same house, is the gift of a divine in your diocese. The organ chamber is beside the chancel, and contains a fine organ of abundant power and exquisitely rich tone. It was built to order by Jos. W. Walker & Co. of London, and is the gift of the ladies of the congregation. In effect, variety, and sweetness, it is all that could be desired. The robing room is on the other side of the chancel. The church is furnished with very comfortable benches, and the passages are tiled. There are about 500 sittings in the church: all that are or will be needed for many years--if ever they prove insufficient.
Such is the church, briefly described, and it is a beautiful and satisfactory realization of the hopes of all who have prayed and wrought for the prosperity of this work. A more costly and imposing building would have seemed pretentious, and would scarcely have been justifiable, especially in the present circumstances of our country, amid which God's providence decreed it should be raised. It gives great and universal satisfaction, and should become a treasured and cherished offspring of its mother Church, looking to her ever with filial right and affection for that support and protection which it will ever need. I will now proceed to some account of the consecration services.
On Monday, Sept. 12th, the venerable Bishop of Ohio, who had come from his home for this especial work, under appointment by the Presiding Bishop, assembled with the clergy at a house opposite the church. The Rev. Dr. Morgan, who had come also under appointment to preach the consecration sermon, the Rev. H. B. Sherman, the Rev. Mr. McIlvaine (son of the Bishop), the Rev. Mr. Seymour, and the Rev. Mr. Pinckney, together with the Bishop and the rector (the Rev. Mr. Lamson), represented the American Church; while the Rev. Edward Forbes and the Rev. Mr. Gurney, of the English churches in Paris, together with the Rev. R. C. Caswall, and the Rev. Mr. Delevante, represented the Church of England. At 12 o'clock, these clergy, in surplices, crossed the street in procession, and with the Bishop at their head entered the church repeating the Psalms appointed for the consecration service. While the clergy entered the chancel and made their devotions the organ gave out a sweet strain. The service then proceeded, the Senior Warden, John Punnett, Esq., handing the Bishop the Letter of Donation, which was read by the Rector: the Rev. Dr. Morgan reading the Letter of Consecration. The Rev. Mr. McIlvaine began Morning Prayer, Dr. Morgan reading the First Lesson, and the Rev. Mr. Forbes the Second Lesson. The Rev. Mr. Sherman said the Prayers. The 100th Psalm was sung, after which the Bishop proceeded with the Ante-Communion service, the Rev. Mr. Gurney reading the Epistle. After the 101st Hymn had been sung, the Rev. Dr. Morgan ascended the pulpit and discharged the duty he had come to perform in a manner that has put the whole Church under great obligation to him, and meeting most fully, and to the minutest detail, the requirements of the occasion. The text was taken from the fifth chapter of Ezra, 9th and part of the 11th verses: "Then asked we those Elders and said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house and to make up these walls? . . . And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth." I will not attempt the slightest comment upon this noble apology for our spiritual heritage and its extension, and of the especial obligations of this its work in Paris. It was an able, manly, honest, and winning assertion of every principle and obligation we cherish as American Churchmen, and a most faithful, happy, and ringing application of them to the work in question. The sermon will speedily be published at home, and will give as universal satisfaction there as it has done here among such as love the Church and understand her principles and her high mission.
The Communion service concluded the services of the day, and a numerous congregation separated after an occasion as memorable as any yet recorded in the history of our American Church.
Both the Bishop and Dr. Morgan are in excellent health, and now that the high duty that brought them from home is accomplished, they are turning their thoughts in longing affection to those from whom the service of the Church has thus temporarily separated them.
October 12, 1864 THE BISHOP OF OHIO IN PARIS.
PARIS, Sept. 22d, 1864. Messrs Editors:--I sent you last week a brief account of the memorable service at the consecration of our American Church in Paris, on the 12th inst., with some notice of the church itself. Other pens have doubtless been busy with the same subject, and have perhaps, with more leisure and fulness, handled it more satisfactorily. I will not therefore go again over the same ground. Other matters of interest preceding and following the consecration service, arising from the presence here of the Bishop of Ohio, the Rev. Dr. Morgan, and other American clergymen, would be well worth a place in your columns. I confine myself at present, however, to one incident, which it seems to me, should not be withheld from the Church at home, especially in view of the interest felt in the inquiries set on foot by our General Convention touching the possibility of a more fraternal understanding with the Russo-Greek Church. It will be remembered that the clergy of the Russo-Greek Church in Paris were present at the ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone of the church just consecrated, and gave every proof of their intelligent sympathy in this large-spirited and catholic movement of the American Church. In the same spirit they again presented themselves at the recent service of consecration, giving fresh testimony of their warm interest in all that concerns the welfare of our branch of the Church, and receiving a new exhibition of the simple dignity of our incomparable worship. With them, as before, was the learned Abbe Guettee, who has found with them a refuge from the uncatholic claims and corrupt condition of the Church of Rome, which an enlightened mind and honest conscience have forced him to forswear. These men are rapidly learning how much common ground we occupy with them, and are certainly not less than ourselves disposed to accept all overtures to a better understanding of our resemblances and differences. Whatever be the nature or gravity of these differences, we certainly know less than we both should and may know of them, and without avowing any belief as to the essential purity of their faith and worship, it may at least be suggested that to judge them from appearance, and by our occidental ideas and tastes would be unsafe, and might be very unjust. For the moment, I ask your attention only to their thoroughly unreserved and fraternal attitude towards us. We have had this evinced repeatedly, but never in so cordial and touching a manner, as in the incident I desire now to relate.
A few days ago the Bishop of Ohio and the Rev. Dr. Morgan met some of these clergy at the house of the rector of our church in Paris, and gave many tokens of their profound respect for the Episcopate in the person of the former. On some desire being expressed to attend a service to be held the next evening at the Russian church, these Sclavonic brethren at once invited the Bishop with Dr. Morgan and the Rev. Mr. Lamson to occupy places in the sanctuary, where priestly feet alone enter. The invitation was cordially accepted, and the next evening the three persons named found themselves at the church, but a moment too late to receive before the beginning of the service the intended courtesy. At a convenient point in the Offices, however, the sacristan was sent to induct them into the screened enclosure. They passed before the people assembled, during the progress of the service, and as they entered the side door of the sanctuary, the Bishop leading, they were received in turn by the Arch-Priest Wassilieff with both hands and embraced with a fraternal kiss on either cheek. Seats had been provided, and the three guests were in true courtesy desired to sit, no observances being required of them, of the significance of which they understood little. At the close of the service the other clergy were equally cordial in their greetings, and the Arch-Priest exhibited to the Bishop and the reverend visitors the vessels of the service, vestments, and other objects of interest, accompanied with explanations of their uses and significance. Every attention and mark of respect was paid to the visitors, in full recognition of their catholic position and ecclesiastical dignity, and the simplicity of manner and fraternal warmth of these men of truly evangelical spirit inspired their guests with a respect and confidence, such as, could it be communicated to their brethren at home, would go far to throw down the barriers, at least, that shut them from our better knowledge, and perhaps from intercommunion.
To meet properly such a spirit as this, involves no sacrifice or danger on our part. No man of sense can expect or desire to precipitate a movement of the magnitude of that looking to a readjustment of the broken divisions of the Universal Church. Impetuous and unsafe minds on one side may disturb overtimid and cautious minds on the other. But he who stops to take the measure of the work that proposes to heal the deep and gaping wounds of more than ten centuries will not be found capable of the folly of dreaming that his brief life will see it compassed or much visible progress made therein. Yet this should neither discourage nor make us afraid--and as little should it tempt us to undervalue the worth of such dispositions and faculties as are made apparent by the interesting facts I have just narrated. Unless we dread knowledge, there is certainly nothing to fear; and if the spirit of the Gospel printed on the life, manners, and sentiments of men be any recommendation of their opinions and systems of religious truth, we certainly have this preliminary assurance in our approaches to the study of the Russo-Greek Church, added to cordial acceptance of our own claims to hold the truth and the power of a true branch of the Church Catholic. Such at least were the instructive perceptions of the Bishop and clergy of our own Church above named; and they were neither ashamed nor afraid to testify their respect for the observances of these oriental brethren.
When the Bishop had inspected the beautifully embossed and illuminated volume of the Gospel, which it is a part of their worship for the people reverently to kiss while it is held by the priest, and when he had received the explanation of the ceremony, that it was a mark of respect and sign of loyalty to the Word of God, our prelate pressed his lips, unprompted, to the sacred volume, and was followed in the act of reverence by the two presbyters with him. And I have reason to know that this unpremeditated compliance with their usages went far to remove from the minds of our Russo-Greek brethren the impression that our dread of such external acts of homage is too radical and unconquerable to distinguish between an enlightened and rational symbolism and a materialistic worship. Now these are circumstances trifling in themselves, but they supply suggestions which it would be well for us to receive and ponder. Let it be remembered that our worship may seem to their ardent temperament and oriental ideas and traditions, as bald and uninspiring as theirs may appear to us overloaded with formalism and superstitious observances; they have confessed that our ritual is simple, dignified, and impressive, but their honest tribute has evidently implied that their imagination, trained to more fervid appeals, would not be satisfied with so much simplicity. Yet it does not occur to them on that account to insist that theirs is best for us, or that ours betokens the presence of more serious deficiencies,--a want of full adhesion to Catholic truth and order upon which all hopes of Catholic unity must be based. Why then should we be more ready in our ignorance of them to conclude that the accumulation of perhaps objectionable practices in a more elaborate ceremonial argues a corruptness of doctrine that should forbid all approach to them.
Let us be reasonable, honest, and manly in our maintenance of the Church's heritage; and not be afraid to compare ourselves with all else outside of ourselves. Let us at least not be outdone in the exhibition of the true spirit of Christ in seeking the reunited power of His Church on Earth, by such as we believe or think have fallen away from the simplicity and purity of that truth. We may safely follow the directions of God's providence, and enter every door He opens that may lead to a better knowledge and more fraternal understanding among the venerable bodies of un-papal christendom. I will add a request that the Church papers at home generally will find this communication worth the copying for the Church's sake.
W. O. L.