Life of Mar Aba – chapter 39

Mar Aba may be dead; but the political situation was still difficult.  The fire-priests had not forgotten their old adversary.  For Zoroastrians were not buried, and Mar Aba had been a noble Persian.

39.  Then the magians made so much fuss, that nobody dared to bury him until the King commanded it.  When he was laid on the bier (λεκτίκιον) and brought out, with great difficulty because of the crowd of believers, who threw onto it many handkerchiefs (σουδάριον) or coats and took them back again, as means of grace and blessing, until it reached the cathedral of Koke, the magians ordered that he should be thrown to the dogs.

Then the believers in droves shouted, “If anyone approaches the body of the saint, we will begin a bloodbath.”  They came en masse seized the litter (? BSPK’) and took it as a relic, and left nothing except the coffin (γλωσσόκομον) in which was the body of the saint.

The details seem rather gruesome to us.  But funerals in the East are political events, even today.

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