Page 153. " but the fragrance of incense still floated down the dim nave "

The religious use of incense has its origins in antiquity. Burnt incense may be intended as a sacrificial offering to various deities or to serve as an aid in prayer.

Incense in the Church
GNU Free Documentation LicenseIncense in the Church - Credit: Carolus
Page 158. " He heard the priest pass the ciborium from communicant to communicant. "

GNU Free Documentation LicenseCiborium - Credit: Dionisio
The ciborium is a covered cup which holds the consecrated wafers (bread) of the Holy Eucharist. The acceptance of the Eucharist is the central moment in a mass. Only those who have confessed their sins and who are repentant can take part.

Page 161. " the divine gloom and silence wherein dwelt the unseen Paraclete "

Paraclete means, most frequently, the Holy Spirit.

It is often represented in art by a dove.

Page 163. " observed to the letter all the fasts "

The four main fasts in the Christian calendar are: Easter (lent), Christmas (advent), Saint Mary and Saint Peter's and Paul's lent. Fasts are conducted to prepare and purify the believer in advance of significant holidays (holy days).

Page 164. " from Amana and from the mountains of the leopards "

Amana is the name of a mountain, probably Amanus, or the southern summit of Anti-Libanus, at the base of which are the sources of the River Abana. The name appears in the Bible in the Song of Solomon 4:8.

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Page 167. " les jupes, they call them in Belgium. "

This is an ironic reference to Capuchin robes, worn by monks of the order of Capuchin, which is an offshoot of the Franciscans. The monks are dedicated to living a frugal and humble life.

Page 168. " it shocked him to feel at Stradbrook the greasy leather of harness. "

This quote refers to a horse harness, a type of horse tack that allows a horse or other equine to pull vehicles such as a carriage, wagon or sleigh. Harnesses may also be used to hitch animals to other loads such as a plough or canal boat.

Horse Harness Closeup
Creative Commons AttributionHorse Harness Closeup - Credit: Pete Markham

 Stradbrook is an area in Dublin.


Page 169. " that even Victor Hugo, great as he certainly was, had not so pure a French style as Louis Veuillot. "

The two French authors mentioned here were contemporaries. However the literary career of the latter cannot be compared to that of the former author.

Victor Hugo wrote many outstanding novels and theatre plays, such as Les Miserables, Notre Dame de Paris, Hernani, La legende de siecles.


 Louis Veulliot was mainly a journalist and therefore his writings bear a political and historical interest rather than an artisitic and literary one.

Page 171. " the power of keys, the power to bind and to loose from sin, the power of exorcism "

 Exorcism is the practice of evicting demons or evil spirits from someone or something they are believed to have possessed. The practice is ancient, and forms part of the belief system of many cultures.



Page 172. " and sing the chant Ite, missa est "

Ite missa est are the final words addressed to the congregation in the Mass. It means 'go' or 'it is sent'; the term 'Mass' derives from it (missa).

Page 172. " the sin of Simon Magus "

The sin of Simon Magus is presented in the Bible, Acts 8:18-24. Simon wanted the power of the Holy Spirit, which he believed the Apostles could bestow. He wrongly offered to pay for this power. Later Christians believed he was a demon in human form, sent to tempt the Apostles; he was said to be able to fly. The stories of Simon the Sorcerer persisted into Medieval times.

Page 172. " He would know obscure things, hidden from others. "

Esotericism developed in the Middle Ages. Christian esotericism regarded religion as a mystery, available only to a small circle of initiated people.

Esoteric knowledge, in the dictionary (non-scholarly) sense, is thus that which is available only to a narrow circle of "enlightened", "initiated", or specially educated people. Esoteric items may be known as esoterica. In contrast, exoteric knowledge is knowledge that is well-known or public; or perceived as informally canonic in society at large.

Page 173. " he would be a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedec. "

The first Biblical mention of the ritual offering of bread and wine comes from Genesis 14:18, where Melchizedek offers them as a sacrifice. In Catholic tradition, priests are therefore of the order of Melchizedek; at the Last Supper, Jesus refers to him when he offers bread and wine.


Page 175. " He was destined to learn his own wisdom apart from others or to learn the wisdom of others himself wandering among the snares of the world. "

This is a quote that I like and that cannot be explained. The word destiny seems central to it - meaning a predetermined future based on the Ancient Greek belief that there is a fixed natural order in the cosmos. This quote is central to Stephen's realisation of his place in the world.

Page 175. " the bridge over the stream of Tolka "

Tolka is one of Dublin's three main rivers, the others being the Liffey and the Dodder. By flow of water, the Tolka is the second largest.

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