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the Pontificate of Pope Eugenius IV., when long-standing differences
between the Greek and Latin Churches were brought to an end in a most
amicable manner. Alas! for the Greeks, that they did not accept the
decisions of that day as final. On the 22d of January, 1439, Cosmo de
Medici, then Gonfaloniere of Florence, received the Pope and his
cardinals, with a pomp and splendor unknown to the history of modern
Europe. On the 12th of the following month came the Patriarch, Joseph
of Constantinople, and his bishops and theologians. On the 15th arrived
the Greek Emperor, John Paleologus, who was received at the Porto San
Gallo by the Pope and all his cardinals, the Florentine Signory, and a
long procession of the members of the monastic orders. "A rare and very
remarkable assemblage," says a chronicler [1] "of the most learned men
of Europe, and, indeed, of those extra European seats of a past
culture, which were even now giving forth the last flashes from a once
brilliant light on the point of being quenched in utter darkness, were
thus assembled at Florence."

[Footnote 1: T. A. Trollope, in "History of the Commonwealth of
Florence," Vol. III., pp. 137-8.]

This was the inauguration of the far-famed Council of Florence, which
had the result of settling the points at issue between the Eastern and
Western Churches. "The Greeks confessed that the Roman faith proceeded
rightly (_prociedere bene_), and united themselves with it by the
grace of God." Proclamation was accordingly made in the Cathedral, then
called Santa Reparata, that the Greeks had agreed to hold and to
believe the five disputed articles of which the fifth was, "That he who
dies in sin for which penance has been done, but from which he has not
been purged, goes to Purgatory, and that the divine offices, Masses,
prayers, and alms are useful for the purging of him."

In the history of Ireland, as might be expected, we come upon many
instances wherein the dead are solemnly remembered from that period,
when still pagan, and one of the ancient manuscripts gives us an
account of certain races, it calls them, which were held for "the souls
of the foreigners slain in battle." This was back in the night of
antiquity, and was no doubt some relic of the Christian tradition which
had remained amid the darkness of paganism. But to come to the
Christian period. The famous Hugues de Lasci, or Hugo de Lacy, Lord of
Meath, and one of the most distinguished men in early Irish annals,
founded many abbeys and priories, one at Colpe, near the mouth of the
Boyne, one at Duleek, one at Dublin, and one at Kells. The Canons of
St. Augustine, as we read, "in return for this gift, covenanted that
one of them should be constantly retained as a chaplain to celebrate
Mass for his soul and for those of his ancestors and successors." We
also read how Marguerite, wife of Gualtier de Lasci, brother of the
above, gave a large tract in the royal forest of Acornebury, in
Herefordshire, for the erection of a nunnery for the benefit of the
souls of her parents, Guillaume and Mathilda de Braose, who with their
son, her brother, had been famished in the dungeon at Windsor. In the
account of the death in Spain of Red Hugh O'Donnell, who holds a high
place among the chivalry of Ireland, it is mentioned that on his death-
bed, "after lamenting his crimes and transgressions; after a rigid
penance for his sins and iniquities; after making his confession
without reserve to his confessors, and receiving the body and blood of
Christ; after being duly anointed by the hands of his own confessors
and ecclesiastical attendants," he expired after seventeen days'
illness at the king's palace in Simancas. "His body," says the ancient
chronicler, "was conveyed to the king's palace at Valladolid in a four-
wheeled hearse, surrounded by countless numbers of the king's State
officers, council and guards, with luminous torches and bright
flambeaux of wax lights burning on either side. He was afterwards
interred in the monastery of St. Francis, in the Chapter, precisely,
with veneration and honor, and in the most solemn manner that any of
the Gaels had been ever interred in before. Masses and many hymns,
chants and melodious canticles were celebrated for the welfare of his
soul; and his requiem was sung with becoming solemnity."

On the death of the celebrated Brian Boroihme, historians relate how
his body was conveyed by the clergy to the Abbey of Swords, whence it
was brought by other portions of the clergy and taken successively to
two monasteries. It was then met by the Archbishop of Armagh, at the
head of his priesthood, and conveyed to Armagh, where the obsequies
were celebrated with a pomp and a fervor worthy the greatness and the
piety of the deceased monarch.

In view of the arguments which are sometimes adduced to prove that the
early Irish Church did not teach this doctrine of prayer for the dead,
it is curious to observe how in St. Patrick's second Council he
expressly forbids the holy sacrifice being offered up after death for
those who in life had made themselves unworthy of such suffrages. At
the Synod of Cashel, held just after the Norman conquest, the claim of
each dead man's soul to a certain part of his chattels after death was
asserted. To steal a page from the time-worn chronicles of Scotland, it
is told by Theodoric that when Queen Margaret of Scotland, that gentle
and noble character upon whom the Church has placed the crown of
canonization, was dying, she said to him: "Two things I have to desire
of thee;" and one of these was thus worded, "that as long as thou
livest thou wilt remember my poor soul in thy Masses and prayers." It
had been her custom in life to recite the office of the dead every day
during Lent and Advent. Sir Walter Scott mentions in his Minstrelsy of
the Scottish Border "a curious league or treaty of peace between two
hostile clans, by which the heads of each became bound to make the four
pilgrimages of Scotland for the benefit of those souls who had fallen
in the feud." In the Bond of Alliance or Field Staunching Betwixt the
Clans of Scott and Ker this agreement is thus worded: "That it is
appointed, agreed and finally accorded betwixt honorable men," the
names are here mentioned, "Walter Ker of Cessford, Andrew Ker of
Fairnieherst," etc., etc., "for themselves, kin, friends, maintenants,
assisters, allies, adherents, and partakers, on the one part; and
Walter Scott of Branxholm," etc., etc., etc. For the staunching of all
discord and variance between them and so on, amongst other provisions,
that "the said Walter Scott of Branxholm shall gang, or cause gang, at
the will of the party, to the four head pilgrimages of Scotland, and
shall say a Mass for the unquhile Andrew Ker of Cessford and them that
were slain in his company in the field of Melrose; and, upon his
expence, shall cause a chaplain to say a Mass daily, when he is
disposed, in what place the said Walter Ker and his friend pleases, for
the weil of the said souls, for the space of five years next to come.
Mark Ker of Dolphinston, Andrew Ker of Graden, shall gang at the will
of the party to the four head pilgrimages of Scotland, and shall gar
say a Mass for the souls of the unquhile James Scott of Eskirk and
other Scots, their friends, slain in the field of Melrose; and, upon
their expence, shall gar a chaplain say a Mass daily, when he is
disposed, for the heal of their souls, where the said Walter Scott and
his friend pleases, for the space of the next three years to come." We
may mention that the four pilgrimages are Scoon, Dundee, Paisley, and
Melrose. This devotion of praying for the dead seems, indeed, to have
taken strong hold upon these rude borderers, who, Sir Walter Scott
informs us, "remained attached to the Roman Catholic faith rather
longer than the rest of Scotland." In many of their ancient ballads, at
some of which we have already glanced, this belief is prominent. The
dying man, or as in the case of Clerk Saunders, the ghost begs of his
survivors to "wish my soul good rest." This belief is intermingled with
their superstitions as in that one attached to Macduff's Cross. This
cross is situated near Lindores, on the marsh dividing Fife from
Strathern. Around the pedestal of this cross are tumuli, said to be the
graves of those who, having claimed the privilege of the law, failed in
proving their consanguinity to the Thane of Fife. Such persons were
instantly executed. The people of Newburgh believe that the spectres of
these criminals still haunt the ruined cross, and claim that mercy for
their souls which they had failed to obtain for their mortal existence.

Thus does the historian [1] mention the burial of St. Ninian, one of
the favorite Saints of the Scots: "He was buried in the Church of St.
Martin, which he had himself built from the foundation, and placed in a
stone coffin near the altar, the clergy and people standing by and
lifting up their heavenly hymns with heart and voice, with sighs and

[Footnote 1: Walsh's Hist, of the Cath. Church in Scotland.]

In the treasurer's books which relate to the reign of James IV. of
Scotland, there is the following entry for April, 1503: "The king went
again to Whethorn." (A place of pilgrimage.) "While there he heard of
the death of his brother, John, Earl of Mar, and charged the priests to
perform a 'dirge and soul Mass' for his brother, and paid them for
their pains."

In Montalembert's beautiful description of Iona, he mentions the
tradition which declares that eight Norwegian kings or princes, four
kings of Ireland, and forty-eight Scottish kings were buried there, as
also one king of France, whose name is not mentioned, and Egfrid, the
Saxon King of Northumbria. There is the tomb of Robert Bruce, the tombs
of many bishops, abbots, and of the great chiefs and nobles, the
Macdougalls, Lords of Lorn; the Macdonalds, Lords of the Isles; the
Macleods, and the Macleans. Nowhere, perhaps, has death placed his seal
on a more imposing assemblage, of truly royal stateliness, of
astonishingly cosmopolitan variety. In the midst of it all, in the very
centre of the burying-ground, stands a ruined chapel, under the
invocation of St. Oran, the first Irish monk who died in this region.
The church was built by the sainted Margaret, the wife of Malcolm
Canmore, and the mother of St. David. Its mission there was obvious.
From its altar arose to the Most High, the solemn celebration of the
dread mysteries, the psalm and the prayer, for prince and for prelate,
for the great alike in the spiritual and temporal hierarchy.

The Duke of Argyle, in his work on Iona, seems astonished to find that
St. Columba believed in all the principal truths of Catholic faith,
amongst others, prayers for the dead, and yet he considers that he
could not be called a Catholic. The process of reasoning is a curious

Mention is made in the history of Scotland of a famous bell, preserved
at Glasgow until the Reformation. It was supposed to have been brought
from Rome by St. Kentigern, and was popularly called "St. Mungo's
Bell." It was tolled through the city to invite the citizens to pray
for the repose of departed souls.

In the great cathedrals of Scotland, before the Reformation, private
chapels and altars were endowed for the relief of the dead, while in
the cities and large towns, each trade or corporation had an altar in
the principal churches and supported a chaplain to offer up Masses and
prayers as well for the dead as for the living. The following incident
is related in the life of the lovely and so sadly maligned Mary Queen
of Scots. In the early days of her reign, when still struggling with
the intolerant fury of Knox and his followers, - it was in the December
of 1561 - Mary desired to have solemn Mass offered up for the repose of
the soul of her deceased husband, the youthful Francis. This so aroused
the fury of the fanatics about her, that they threatened to take the
life of the priests who had officiated. "Immediately after the Requiem
was over, she caused a proclamation to be made by a Herald at the
Market Cross, that no man on pain of his life should do any injury, or
give offense or trouble to her chaplains."

The poet Campbell in his dirge for Wallace, makes the Lady of
Elderslie, the hero's wife, cry out in the first intensity of her

"Now sing you the death-song and loudly pray
For the soul of my knight 'so dear.'"

We shall now leave the wild poetic region of Scotland, and with it
conclude Part First, taking up again in Part Second the thread of our
narrative, which will wind in and out through various countries of
Europe, ending at last with a glance at our own America.



In Austria we find an example of devotion to the dead, in the saintly
Empress Eleanor, who, after the death of her husband, the Emperor
Leopold, in 1705, was wont to pray two hours every day for the eternal
repose of his soul. Not less touching is an account given by a
Protestant traveller of an humble pair, whom he encountered at Prague
during his wanderings there. They were father and daughter, and
attached, the one as bell-ringer, the other as laundress, to the Church
on the Visschrad. He found them in their little dwelling. It was on the
festival of St. Anne, when all Prague was making merry. The girl said
to him: "Father and I were just sitting together, and this being St.
Anne's Day, we were thinking of my mother, whose name was also Anne."
The father then said, addressing his daughter: "Thou shalt go down to
St. Jacob's to-morrow, and have a Mass read for thy mother, Anne." For
the mother who had been long years slumbering in the little cemetery
hard by. There is, something touching to me in this little incident,
for it tells how the pious memory of the beloved dead dwelt in these
simple hearts, dwells in the hearts of the people everywhere, as in
that of the pious empress, whose inconsolable sorrow found vent in long
hours of prayer for the departed.

In the will of Christopher Columbus there is special mention made of
the church which he desired should be erected at Concepcion, one of his
favorite places in the New World, so named by himself. In this church
he arranged that three Masses should be celebrated daily - the first in
honor of the Blessed Trinity; the second, in honor of the Immaculate
Conception; and the third for the faithful departed. This will was made
in May, 1506. The body of the great discoverer was laid in the earth,
to the lasting shame of the Spaniards, with but little other
remembrance than that which the Church gives to the meanest of her
children. The Franciscans, his first friends, as now his last,
accompanied his remains to the Cathedral Church of Valladolid, where a
Requiem Mass was sung, and his body laid in the vault of the
Observantines with but little pomp. Later on, however, the king, in
remorse for past neglect, or from whatever cause, had the body taken up
and transported with great pomp to Seville. There a Mass was sung, and
a solemn funeral service took place at the cathedral, whence the corpse
of the Admiral was conveyed beyond the Guadalquivir to St. Mary of the
Grottoes (Santa Maria de las Grutas). But the remains of this most
wonderful of men were snatched from the silence of the Carthusian
cloister some ten years later, and taken thence to Castile, thence
again to San Domingo, where they were laid in the sanctuary of the
cathedral to the right of the main altar. Again they were disturbed and
taken on board the brigantine Discovery to the Island of Cuba, where
solemnly, once more, the Requiem for the Dead swelled out, filling with
awe the immense assembly, comprising, as we are told, all the civil and
military notables of the island.

In the annals of the Knight Hospitallers of St. John, it is recorded
that after a great and providential victory won by them over the Moslem
foe, and by the fruits of which Rhodes was saved from falling into the
hands of the enemy, the Grand Master D'Aubusson proceeded to the Church
of St. John to return thanks. And that he also caused the erection of
three churches in honor of Our Blessed Lady, and the Patron Saints of
the city. These three churches were endowed for prayers and Masses to
be offered in perpetuity for the souls of those who had fallen in
battle. This D'Aubusson was in all respects one of the most splendid
knights that Christendom has produced. A model of Christian knighthood,
he is unquestionably one of the greatest of the renowned Grand Masters
of St. John. There is a touching incident told in these same annals of
two knights, the Chevalier de Servieux, counted the most accomplished
gentleman of his day, and La Roche Pichelle. Both of them were not only
the flower of Christian knighthood, but model religious as well. They
died of wounds received in a sea fight off Saragossa in 1630, and on
their death-beds lay side by side in the same room, consoling and
exhorting each other, it being arranged between them, that whoever
survived the longest should offer all his pains for the relief of his
companion's soul.

We have now reached a part of our work, upon which we shall have
occasion to dwell at some length, and notwithstanding the fact that it
has already formed the subject of two preceding articles. It is that
which relates to England, and which is doubly interesting to Catholics,
as being the early record of what is now the chief Protestant nation of
Europe. To go back to those Anglo-Saxon days, which might be called in
some measure the golden age of Catholic faith in England, we shall see
what was the custom which prevailed at the moment of dissolution. In
the regulations which follow there is not question of a monarch nor a
public individual, nor of priest nor prelate, but simply of an ordinary
Christian just dead. "The moment he expired the bell was tolled. Its
solemn voice announced to the neighborhood that a Christian brother was
departed, and called on those who heard it to recommend his soul to the
mercy of his Creator. All were expected to join, privately, at least,
in this charitable office; and in monasteries, even if it were in the
dead of night, the inmates hastened from their beds to the church, and
sang a solemn dirge. The only persons excluded from the benefit of
these prayers were those who died avowedly in despair, or under the
sentence of excommunication.

"... Till the hour of burial, which was often delayed for some days to
allow time for the arrival of strangers from a distance, small parties
of monks or clergymen attended in rotation, either watching in silent
prayer by the corpse or chanting with subdued voice the funeral
service.... When the necessary preparations were completed, the body of
the deceased was placed on a bier or in a hearse. On it lay the book of
the Gospels, the code of his belief, and the cross, the emblem of his
hope. A pall of linen or silk was thrown over it till it reached the
place of interment. The friends were invited, strangers often deemed it
a duty to attend. The clergy walked in procession before, or divided
into two bodies, one on each side, singing a portion of the psalter and
generally bearing lights in their hands. As soon as they entered the
church the service for the dead was performed; a Mass of requiem
followed; the body was deposited in the grave, the sawlshot paid, and a
liberal donation distributed to the poor." [1]

[Footnote 1: "Lingard's Antiquities of the Anglo Saxon Church," Vol.
II, pp. 46-47.]

In the northern portico of the Cathedral of Canterbury was erected an
altar in honor of St. Gregory, where a Mass was offered every Saturday
for the souls of departed archbishops. We read that Oidilwald, King of
the Deiri, and son of King Oswald, founded a monastery that it might be
the place of his sepulture, because "he was confident of deriving great
benefit from the prayers of those who should serve the Lord in that
house." Dunwald the Thane, on his departure for Rome to carry thither
the alms of his dead master, King Ethelwald, A.D. 762, bequeathed a
dwelling in the market in Queengate to the Church of SS. Peter and Paul
for the benefit of the king's soul and his own soul.

As far back as the days of the good King Arthur, whose existence has
been so enshrouded in fable that many have come to believe him a myth,
we read that Queen Guenever II., of unhappy memory, having spent her
last years in repentance, was buried in Ambreabury, Wiltshire. The
place of her interment was a monastery erected by Aurelius Ambrose, the
uncle of King Arthur, "for the maintenance of three hundred monks to
pray for the souls of the British noblemen slain by Hengist." Upon her
tomb was inscribed, "in rude letters of massy gold," to quote the
ancient chronicler, the initials R. G. and the date 600 A.D.

In the Saxon annals Enfleda, the wife of Oswy, King of Northumbria,
plays a conspicuous part. Soon after her marriage, Oswin, her husband's
brother, consequently her cousin and brother-in-law, was slain. The
queen caused a monastery to be erected on the spot where he fell as a
reparation for her husband's fratricide, and as a propitiation for the
soul of the departed. This circumstance is alluded to by more than one
English poet, as also the monastery which Enfleda, for the same
purpose, caused to be erected at Tynemouth. Thus Harding:

"Queen Enfled, that was King Oswy's wife,
King Edwin, his daughter, full of goodnesse,
For Oswyn's soule a minster, in her life,
Made at Tynemouth, and for Oswy causeless
That hym so bee slaine and killed helpeless;
For she was kin to Oswy and Oswin,
As Bede in chronicle dooeth determyn."

The most eminent Catholic poet of our own day, Sir Aubrey de Vere, in
his Saxon legends, likewise refers to it. He describes first what

"Gentlest form kneels on the rain-washed ground,
From Giling's Keep a stone's throw. Whose those hands
Now pressed in anguish on a bursting heart.
... What purest mouth

"Presses a new-made grave, and through the blades
Of grass wind shaken, breathes her piteous prayer?
... Oswin's grave it is,
And she that o'er it kneels is Eanfleda,
Kinswoman of the noble dead, and wife
To Oswin's murderer - Oswy."

Again, describing the repentance of Oswy:

"One Winter night
From distant chase belated he returned,
And passed by Oswin's grave. The snow, new fallen,
Whitened the precinct. In the blast she knelt,
She heard him not draw nigh. She only beat
Her breast, and, praying, wept. Our sin! our sin!

"So came to him those words. They dragged him down:
He knelt beside his wife, and beat his breast,
And said, 'My sin! my sin!' Till earliest morn
Glimmered through sleet that twain wept on, prayed on: -
Was it the rising sun that lit at last
The fair face upward lifted?
....... Aloud she cried,
'Our prayer is heard: our penitence finds grace.'
Then added: 'Let it deepen till we die.
A monastery build we on this grave:
So from this grave, while fleet the years, that prayer
Shall rise both day and night, till Christ returns
To judge the world, - a prayer for him who died;
A prayer for one who sinned, but sins no more!'"

In the grant preserved in the Bodleian Collection, wherein Editha the
Good, the widow of Edward the Confessor, confers certain lands upon the
Church of St. Mary at Sarum, occurs the following:

"I, Editha, relict of King Edward, give to the support of the Canons of
St. Mary's Church, in Sarum, the lands of Secorstan, in Wiltshire, and
those of Forinanburn, to the Monastery of Wherwell, for the support of
the nuns serving God there, with the rights thereto belonging, for the
soul of King Edward." [1]

[Footnote 1: "Phillips' Account of Old Sarum."]

This queen was buried in Westminster Abbey, her remains being removed
from the north to the south side of St. Edward's shrine, on the
rebuilding of that edifice, and it is recorded that Henry III. ordered
a lamp to be kept burning perpetually at the tomb of Editha the Good.

It is related of the celebrated Lady Godiva of Coventry, the wife of
the wealthy and powerful Leofric, that on her death-bed she "bequeathed
a precious circlet of gems, which she wore round her neck, valued at
one hundred marks of silver (about two thousand pounds sterling) to the
Image of the Virgin in Coventry Abbey, praying that all who came
thither would say as many prayers as there were gems in it." [1]

[Footnote 1: Saxon Chronicle, Strickland's "Queens of England Before
the Conquest, etc."]

The following is an ancient verse, occurring in an old French treatise,

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