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Renan, Ernest - The Double Prayer



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A description of the experience

from Recollections and Letters of Ernest Renan

Renan -  The Double Prayer:

                “One of the most beautiful religious spectacles one can still contemplate ......is that which the ancient cathedral of Quimper presents at dusk. Once darkness has filled the vast building’s side aisles, the faithful of both sexes gather in the nave and sing evensong in the Breton language with a simple and moving rhythm. 

The cathedral is lit only by two or three lamps. In the nave, the men are on one side, standing; on the other side, the kneeling women form a motionless sea of white headdresses. The two halves sing in alternation, and the phrase that one of the choirs begins is finished by the other.

What they sing is quite beautiful. 

As I heard it, I felt that with a few changes it might be fitted to every state of humanity. Above all it made me dream of a prayer which, with a few variations, might suit men and women equally.”

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