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At the Ionian islands processions of a like nature take place. At Corfu all the officers of the garrison and the public departments who are not on duty, with a guard of one captain, two subalterns, and eighty rank and file, are ordered to attend the procession of St. Spiridione with the Lord High Commissioner. (See the Corfu Garrison Orders annexed.) When the procession leaves the church, several of the principal British field officers are ordered, bare-headed, to assist in carrying the six poles which bear a canopy over the remains of a dead body, superbly dressed, exposed in a case, said to be the remains of St. Spiridione. The Lord High Commissioner follows close to the relict, with his hat off; all the other officers follow him some with their hats off; and some, to whom the priests choose to deliver lighted candles, have to carry them in their hands. This procession continues out several hours. The Greeks flock from all parts to worship this object, expecting the greatest blessings through its power and protection. More than sixty of these deluded people have been counted prostrate on the earth in the way of the procession, that the mummy, or the shadow of it, may pass over them, and communicate the benefits they are led to expect from their prostration to it. The people in the windows are seen melted into tears as it approaches them.*
After the procession the body is placed at the altar of the church dedicated to it, (the principal one of the city) and a part of the case is lifted up to expose the feet in order that they may be kissed by its worshippers, who are admitted one by one within the rails to have this privilege, and to deposit the gifts which are brought to propitiate its good offices. The multitudes are so great who go to kiss the relict that an officer's guard from the British forces is appointed to mount at the church (see the Orders annexed) for three days, and to place two sentinels at the altar to keep good order. This body is the property of a family of rank in the island, of the name of Bulgari, which reaps a considerable revenue from the offerings made after the processions, and from the bequests which are left to it. Some say the priests have a share.
A short time before I arrived at Malta, the General officer, his staff, and other principal officers of the garrison, used to attend the processious of the host and of reliques round the streets with their hats off, and some, if not all, with lighted candles in their hands; the streets lined at the time by the British regiments in garrison.
* This procession, thus assisted and attended by British officers takes place about three times a year. A letter from Corfu states that the procession in the month of May last was attended by the Lord High Commissioner, and the British officers with more than usual particularity,
Roman Catholics are enjoined by their priests not to enter a Protestant place of worship, and they come under severe censures from their Church if they do so ; and, in deference to their wishes, His Majesty has ordered (very justly,) that no soldier of this persuasion shall be compelled to attend the worship of the church of England. See the King's order, p. 23, note. | When considering this exemption, it is well to compare the objections of Roman Catholics with those of Protestants. A Roman Catholic soldier has not to object to any thing he sees in the worship of the church of England; for he is, I believe, taught to admit all its points, excepting that it is conducted in his own tongue, instead of a dead language.
-His objections are, that our worship has not some additional matters which he thinks so indispensable, that he is taught to believe it is deadly heresy for a religion to be without them.
Now the chief of these indispensable matters are, the transubstantiation, and the worship of the host, and the expiatory masses from purgatory; prayers, and reading of the Scriptures in Latin ;-confession to the priest, penances, &c.—But principally a Roman Catholic objects to the Protestant creed because it denounces these additional matters as blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits, (Church of England Art. XXXI.) to be superstitious and idolatrous.
In this singular posture of mutual objections, a Roman Catholic is respected in his adherence to his tenets, and it is ordered that he shall not be compelled to attend our worship, while a Protestant is compelled not only to attend, but to assist the very rites, and to perform outward acts of worship, which it is his peculiar religious name and distinction before the world to PROTEST AGAINST as grossly idolatrous : in which his mind, judgment, and conscience, must be deeply concerned, (if he has examined the subject ;) and which the word of God teaches him to flee from, and in no wise to countenance.
Some persons have urged that our Government are under an obligation to perform these religious functions for the Maltese. Now, as Sir Manley Power has ceased to order the military to form part of the processions of the host and reliques round the town, and as the Marquis of Hastings has abandoned the patteraro salutes to the priests; as also the order on which I have been tried, contained Sir Manley Power's refusal to grant the salute required from St. Michael's Tower :—these circumstances all prove there has been no obligation in the case. Moreover, all the proclamations on the subject guarantee nothing but the protection and free exercise of their own religion to the Maltese ; there is no word of performing their religious functions for them.
Malta, Brigade Major's Office, September 22nd, 1823. Division Orders, No. I.
A guard of honour consisting of one captain, four subalterns, and one hundred and fifty rank and file of the 18th, or Royal Irish Regiment. with a due proportion of non-commissioned Officers, the band and king: colour of that corps, will parade to-morrow morning at Saint John's Cathedral, at a quarter before nine o'clock in red clothing, under the command of the field officer of the day. The men of this guard to be selected from the Catholics of the regiment.*
No. II. The Royal Artillery will furnish two field-pieces for t. above guard, which are to be placed at the entrance of the Cathedral Saint John. Major Addams of the Royal Artillery will be pleased to make the necessary arrangements.
No. III. Minute guns will be fired from the saluting battery (St. Angelo) to-morrow morning; and further directions will be given to Major Addams for that duty.
No. IV. The whole of the Military Staff, with heads of departments and commanding Officers of regiments and corps, are requested to be at the Palace at a quarter before nine o'clock; and to appear with embroidered uniform and loose trowsers, a crape round the left arm. :
Extract from the Malta Government Gazette, September 26th, 1823.
We have published the mournful intelligence of the death of His Holiness Pope Pius VII.; and we have now to record the solemn and imposing funeral ceremonies which have taken place in this Island in consequence of this lamentable event.
Tuesday last, the 23rd instant, was the day appointed for the celebration of these funeral obsequies, pursuant to an edict issued by the Right Reverend the Archbishop, Bishop of the diocese. On the evening of the preceding day, the doleful tolling of the great bell of the Con-Cathedral Church of St. John, as also the bells of all the Churches within the diocese, announced that the mournful ceremonies would be performed on the next day.
The morning of Tuesday was ushered in by the discharge of thirty minute guns at sunrise from the saluting battery of Fort St. Angelo ;
* In the following Order, Oct. 31st, Catholics were not ordered to be selected.