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Chrysanthus of Bursa. Προσκυνητάριον τῆς Ἁγίας Πόλεως Ἱερουσαλὴμ καὶ Πάσης Παλαιστίνης [Proskynetarion [Pilgrim’s Guide] of Jerusalem and Palestine.] Vienna, Schrämbl, 1807.

"Proskynetaria" (Pilgrim Guides to the Holy Land) were widely used guides to pilgrim sites, which in a certain way delineated the itinerary of the faithful. They were normally small-format books of an obviously practical nature, written in clear and simple language, most often in prose and more rarely in verse. They usually contained descriptions of numerous holy sites in Palestine, which pilgrims ought to include in their route. The guides were written by pilgrims themselves, or by writers who plagiarized and anthologized existing similar works. The genre appeared in the mid-seventeenth century and was widely diffused during the eighteenth.

Chrysanthos’ "Proskynetarion" became very popular and was reprinted numerous times. The pilgrimage to the Holy Land began from the church of the Holy Sepulchre and continued with other holy sites and monasteries in Jerusalem. From there it proceeded to other numinous places mentioned in the Scriptures, to the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Mar-Saba monastery and, of course, to the River Jordan, where the pilgrim’s symbolic baptism took place. The "Proskynetarion" of Chrysanthos from Bursa starts with chapters on the names of the Holy Land, its fertility and prosperity, and continues with chapters on the Holy City of Jerusalem and the palace of King David. Regarding the church of the Holy Sepulchre, it has chapters on the Holy Gate, the Descent from the Cross, the Baldachin, and other places of pilgrimage inside the church. Among the chapters that follow are ones on the monastery of Abraham, the temple of Solomon, Holy Zion, the monastery of Prophet Elijah, Bethlehem, Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives, the River Jordan and Mount Tabor. The book was first published in Vienna in 1728 and reprinted again in Vienna in 1787.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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