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DEVIL WORSHIPPERS IN ARMENIA

to flew Gustav Pauli, who recently made a j lurney from Tabriz to Lake Van, the Neatorian Christians grace with the name of Devil, Worshippers a number of communities scattered through Russian and Turkish Armenia, and m the Valley of the Tigris down to Mosul. Near Mosul, m the outspnrs of Kurdistan, ließ Ba Hasani, the holy city of the Jeslds or Devil Worshippers, and containing tbe temple and mausoleum of their Sheik Adi, and not far thence the village of Ba*hiyka, tha residence of their civil and religious head. According to tradition their faith had its origin m oertai i apostate members of the Armenian Ohuroh, and their name is variously derived from Jeaa, or Jeßid one of their chiefs, and from the town Jezi. Their faith has probably, however, a much earlier origin, deriving from the influence of all those religious successively holding away m those regi ns, from Zoroastrianism to Islam, They address prayers to tbe eun at his rising, and kiss the place first touched by his beams. At certain festivals they warm the fingers of their right hand at the holy taper, then draw them over their right eyebrows and kiss them. Tbe Eupreme Being they call Allah, and reverence the founder of Islam as a prophet, while they reverence Christ as a great angel, naming Him Ben Isal Nuranl (Jeans, son of the Light),' who one day will come to rule the. world. They desire to live In eood understanding with Shattan (Satan ?), the devil, and so great Is their respect for him that they do not presume to prononnoe his name, but oall him " Melek.Taup," and pay honor to him symbolically as a llght-glver (Lucifer), and In the figure of a bird. Our Thursday Is their sabbath. They fast forty days m the spring, bnt are not over striot In the observance of snob fast, preferring rather to do it by proxy. One member of the family fasting will do for all tbe others as well as himself, Children are | Immediately after birth baptUed with the | water of the holy spring at tbe grave of tbe Bhelk Adi. To this end that water is fetohed to plaoes very remote from tbe holy well by mendicant monks, (Kftwfl, 1 ), all belonging to one tingle family. Tho alms gathered by these monks on their pilgrimages are divided into three parts. Half goes to the maueoleom of the Sheik Adi, a quarter to the bead of the sect, and a quarter to the Kairal himself. Besides these mendicant monks, tbe Jeslds have high priests, or sheiks, and a subordinate olass of servants of the Temple, or fakirs, as also another olass, the so-oalled "Djlrs" (" Old, Eldest," Presbyter), held m high respect by the faithful, and, by reason of their plcos life and pretended power to onrs diseases, standing m the savor of special sanotity. He who by his alms gives to the priest sufficiency of wealth nay acquire eternal happiness. Olroum* oislon Is not a stringent requirement, but is left to tbe choice of the head of the I family* The Jestds have a horror of the color of blue (flame of sulphur I), and esohew all attire of that hue. They have the repntatlon of being strictly honest and moral. They show great respeot to women, so that a woman may acquire the priestly dignity. Polygamy is allowed only with tribal chiefs. The common man m»y have but one wife, for whom he has often to pay tbe mother a rather high prlos. Priest and Kawal may cot marry out of their caste. A widow dresses m white, and etiquette requires of her even to strew dust on her head and smear her face with day. Corpses are first washed and then burled with the face towards the Polar Star. In the killing of animals all the blood is drained off by onttlng tbiough the artery of the neok, as with the Jews and Mahomednns. Tbey cling with great tenaolty to their faith, but refuse the adoption of any proselytes Into their ranks.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890204.2.27

Bibliographic details

DEVIL WORSHIPPERS IN ARMENIA, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2054, 4 February 1889

Word Count
682

DEVIL WORSHIPPERS IN ARMENIA Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2054, 4 February 1889

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