The Tale of the Naming of City
Once there was a priest named John. Once and not so long ago. He was a most holy man who like many such wanted to make everyone else as holy as him. His family had much honour in the land of Jaryar, and so they begged the Prelate in Vachansha to make him a bishop.
But all the bishops at that time went on living and living. The only place that was vacant was in the far west, many weeks’ journey from Vachansha.
So Brother John travelled to the land of Falli, to the city that stands where the River Fraytees meets the Sea, and there he was consecrated Bishop of North West Ragaris in the Church of God Rejoicing, and the next morning he got up and said to the other priests there in his strange Jaryari accent, Whoi does this church be having no glass windows? And they said What is glass?
Then he called all the priests of Falli to a great council, which he said was a Synod, to tell them what to do. Not all of them came, being busy men and women, and he was angry.
Bishop John was Bishop of Falli for two years. He said Why don’t you come to church on Sunday in summer, and the people said, Because we worship God outdoors. And he said Where are your churchyards? And they said, We bury our dead where their kin choose. And he said, Why do your priests not wear proper robes? And we said, Why should they?
Bishop John said All this is wrong. Falli is being a wicked place. I will show you how to be proper Christians, like the people of Jaryar and Defardu.
So some said, We obey, and others said, Why? And there was strife.
We remember in Bishop John’s favour that where he condemned he condemned great and small alike; and he was always kind to children – but he condemned often, and said God would not approve any worship except what was exactly like that of the Prelate in Vachansha or the Archbishop in Makkera.
Until the matter of the candlesticks.
Bishop John had on his church altar two tall candlesticks, the wonder of everyone who came to Mass. They were made all of gold, and carved around the base, a lion on one and a lamb on the other. And a rich but foolish man of the Qalashagrig tribe boasted to his friends that he would have these candles on his table for the Christmas feasts, and instructed his servants to fetch them from the church for him, nor did they ask the Bishop’s leave.
When this was discovered, and the Bishop was in wrath, the man swore he had only borrowed them, and would have brought them back after Twelfth Night, or after Candlemas, or at any rate before Easter. But Bishop John called it theft, and said theft from the church is impious sacrilege, and called on Lady Beriot of the Qalashagrig to have the thieves hanged. She would not, so he excommunicated her and called God’s wrath down on all the Qalashagrig. He ordered all his priests to refuse any sacrament to the people of that tribe, although not all obeyed.
So it happened a few months later that a most beloved and godly young woman died in childbirth, having been refused the last rites, nor were prayers said at her funeral. There was great grief and anger among her family and all the Qalashagrig.
Some of Lady Beriot’s servants slipped into the Bishop’s house at night, slit his throat, and burned the house down.
It was a terrible crime.
The murderers were found and hanged.
Lady Beriot did penance by burning her own house down too, so it had to be rebuilt, and she herself and her husband laboured in the rebuilding alongside her servants.
But still all Falli trembled, knowing that the Prelate would call down God’s wrath on us for sacrilege. So they sent messengers all the journey east to the Prelate’s palace, and they begged forgiveness, and promised to build a magnificent tomb, and a great new church beside it, and they declared that the City of Falli would be named for him.
So that was done.
And that is how Bishopstown was named, and St John the Martyr won his great Cathedral. That is one thing to remember, or maybe two.
But the third thing is this. Ever since that day, when the Prelate looks to name a bishop for us in the north, for Falli and Baronda, he or she has always named a man or woman who is northern born and bred, and knows our ways. For in God’s house there are many mansions, and all the world is His kingdom, and there are many ways to worship.
Love from the PPI Blogger