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He Whose Loss Is Laughter

“To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna.”

—Revelation 2:17

Around the turn of the 20th century, the hieromonk Arsenios, parish priest of Farasa in Cappadocia, had secretly baptized one of the wives of a Turk living in his Christian village.  Soon after, she lay on her death bed, and he sent her the viaticum.  Cutting a hole in a small apple, he placed the Holy Sacrament therein and stopped it up again.  “Christ, love of my soul,” whispered the neophyte now named Eleftheria, as a Christian servant proffered her the hidden manna.  In 1924, when the villagers of Farasa had to flee their ancient Roman Christian Cappadocia in the dreadful “exchange of populations” between Greece and Turkey, Eleftheria had been long dead and buried in the Orthodox Christian cemetery.  And so she remains to this day.

In his Dialogues with a Muslim, the Christian Roman emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, a vassal of the Turks like his father, made this observation to his host from Baghdad:

Now I would like to refute your pretension of attributing the highest dignity to the law of Mohammed.  I will speak concisely and simply.

 

First there came the law of Moses, which you judge imperfect.  This law set down in writing...

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