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A History Of The Mass And Its Ceremonies In The Eastern And Western Church -Rev John O'Brien A.M.

Some writers have asserted, but altogether gratuitously, that during the days of persecution the faithful were summoned to divine service by the sound of those boards called semantrons, of which we have been speaking; but a moment’s reflection will convince us that this cannot be true, for it is well known that in those times of trouble the utmost care had to be taken in order that the gatherings of the faithful might be entirely private, lest the pagans, hearing of them, might make them a pretext for new persecution. It is false, then, to assert that any public signal was given for gathering together the Christians, but rather that they were assembled by some secret signs known among themselves, or carried from one quarter to another by specially-deputed persons. This is the view taken by Cardinal Bona (see Rer. Liturg., p. 259), by Baronius, and many other eminent writers. We have stated already that semantrons were used instead of bells in the early days, but by early days we meant not the days of persecution, but only those which followed closely upon the age of Constantine the Great.








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