WITH THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA MINOR. 35
imperial seraglio. The sultan, rendered only more importunate by her opposition still
persisted in his proposal, but was finally and firmly rejected; and he, whose look was
death, whose nod consigned 40,000 formidable Janissaries in one day to utter annihilation,
was unable to overcome the reluctance of a timid girl, and dared not violate the sanctity
of that protection which the Asme Sultana had afforded her; so she was ultimately
allowed to follow the bent of her own inclination, and select a lover for herself.
REMAINS OF THE CHURCH OF ST. JOHN—PERGAMUS.
Among the first edifices, erected by Constantine the Great to Christianity, in his
new city, was one dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, whom the Greeks hold in the
highest veneration, and distinguish by the appellation of "The Great Theologian."
It was situated in the Hebdomum, or great plain, and was one of its most striking
ornaments. In the subsequent reign of Theodosius the Great, the heart of St. John
the Baptist, or, as the Greeks call him, the Prodromus, or " fore-runner" of Christ, was
discovered, and the precious relic solemnly deposited in this church of his namesake by
the emperor. He then directed other edifices to be built to the great theologian in
the cities where his churches of the Apocalypse were founded, and one of extraordinary
dimensions at Pergamus.
This church was, next to that of Santa Sophia, the best model of a Greek Christian
edifice. Its remains at this day are of gigantic proportions, and afford a melancholy
memorial of the vast Christian population that required so large an edifice, where now
the existence of Christianity is hardly known. It stands near the great khan of the city,
and rises above all the other buildings, on which it seems to look dowm. The length of
the ruin is 225 feet, and its height about half its length. It is built of layers of Roman
brick and masses of marble; and everywhere abounds in the fragments of architectural
ornaments, which seem to have been drawn away from other edifices to adorn it. Twro
rows of granite columns still stand, dividing it into two aisles, and supporting the gallery
designed for females. In the Greek church they are always separated. An Oriental
feeling secludes them behind close lattices above, while men only occupy the body
of the church below. The altar still stands in a semicircular recess, flanked by copolas
on either side, forming a spacious area of 160 feet in circumference, crowned with domes
100 feet in height, towering far above the external walls. The doors are very lofty,
fronting a spacious curve in the opposite wall, which leads to a vaulted apartment
supported by a massive pillar.
The Turks entertain for the name of St. John a considerable respect and veneration.
He is recognized in the koran as the son of Zacharias, and the account of him resembles
that in the Gospel. His father was promised a child, and, from the age of his wife, he