Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/476

This page needs to be proofread.




diocese is now suffragan of IHorence; has S4 parishes, 46,200 parishioners; two roliRious houses of men, and seven of women; one school for boys, and three for girls.

Cu-PELLETTI, Le Chiese cC Italia, XVII (Venice. 1837).

U. Benigni.

Modra, a titular see of Bithynia Sonmda. suffragan of Xic;ra. The city of .Modra fijiiircs only in Strabo (XII, .■)43), who places it in Thrysia F.pirtota, at the sources of the Callus. It wa,s probably situated at or near Aine Gueul, in the vilayet of Broii.ssa. The region is calleii >Iedrena by Tlicoi)liancs the Chro- nographer and Constant ine Porphyroncnitus (De the- mat., vi). Several "Notilia- episcopatuum" mention the See of Medrena, or Mela. The name of this sec- ond place is also written Molina, and was called for a time Justiniauopolis Xova in honour of .Ivistinian. As from the twelfth (•<'ntury wc find only Mclagina, Me- langeia, or Melania, it is evident that the earlier Mela is the Malasina often mentioned by Byzantine his- torians as the first large station of the imperial armies in Asia Minor on the road from Constantinople to Dorj'la'um, and an important strategic point. This city must have been located between Lefke and Vezir- khan, two railway stations on the Constantinople- Bagdad line. The bishops recorded are: Macedonius of Justiniauopolis Xova, present at the Council of Constantinople (5.55); Theodorus of Justinianopolis Nova or Mela, present at Constantinople (6S0); Xec- tarius, orXicetas of Mela, present at Xica^a (787) ; Con- stantius of Mela, present at Constantinople (869); Paul of Mela, present at Constantinople (879) ; John of Malagina (1256); Constantine of Melangeia (thir- teenth centur>-); X. of Melaneia (1401).

Ramsay, Asia Minor. 202 sq. See also Xanthopodlos in Edios d'Orient, V (1901-2), 161 sq.


Modruss. See Ze.vgg, Diocese of.

Moeller, Hexrt. See Cixcinnati, Archdiocese


Mohammedan Confraternities. — The countries where Mohammedanism prevails are full of religious associations, more or less wrapped in secrecy, which are also political, and which may prove troublesome at some future time. The oldest of them, the Kadriya, dates from the twelfth century- of our era, having been called into existence by the necessity of vinited counsels in order to make head against the Crusades. The name given to it was that of its founder, the Persian Sidi-abd-el-Kader-el-Djilani, who died at Bagdad in 116G. His disciples speak of him as "The Sultan of the Saints". One of the more recent asso- ciation, and a ver%' aggressive one, is that of the Senoussij-a, founded by an Algerian, Sheikh Senoussi (d. 1S59J. In contrast to the exclusive spirit of the other orders, this one has opened its doors to all of them, allowing them to keep their own names, doctrines, usages, and privileges. The rallying principle of this combination is hatred of Christians; It isolates them in anticipation of the uprising which, on the appointed day of the Lord, will drive them out of "the Land of Lslam" (dar el Islam, as oppo.sed to dar el harh, "Land of the Infidels", or, literally, "Land of the Holy War"). Its motto is: "Turks and Christians, I will break them all with one blow". Those affiliated to the confraternities are called khouans (brethren) in X'orth .Vfrica; dervishes (poor men) in Turkey and Central Asui; fakirs (beggars) in India; mourids (disciples) in Egypt, Arabia, and Syria. Since the conquest of Algeria by the French (1830) the reaction has resulted in an immense devel- opment of confraternities in all Mohammedan countries. Except among the wealthy and sceptical of the great cities, very few .Mussulmans escape the infection of this movement, and M. Pommerol num-

bers the total membership at 170,000,000, Leaving aside the excellent administrative and financial organ- ization of the confraternities, we will here discuss only their religious siile.

.\s is well known, at the call of the muezzins every Mohammedan is bound to recite daily certain prayers at stated hours. The khouans are also bound to follow these prayers with others, peculiar to their association. Among the chief of these is a kind of litany, called dikr (repeated utterance), for which a chaplet is used. Fundamentally, it is the same for all the orders, hut with .flight variations, by which the initiated are enalilcd to recognize each other easily. In general, it contains the Mohamme- dan symbol or Credo: "There is no God but the true God" (La ilaha ill' Allah, literally, "X'^o god except God"), which is repeated, say a hundred times. Other terse phrases or invocations are added, such as "God sees me", "God pardon", part of a verse of the Koran, or names of the Divine attributes, as "O Living One", a hundred times, or simply the syllable Houa (Him). When the recitation in chorus becomes accelerated, the syllables of La ilaha ill' Allah are gradually reduced to la hoy, la ha, la hi, or even hou, ha, hi, or hou-hou. The phrase La ilaha, etc., must be repeated by the Kadriya one hundred and sixty-five times after each of the five daily prayers; by the Kerzazya, five hundred times; for the Aissaoua, the daily total of repetitions is thirteen thousand and six hundred. Many of the confrater- nities have mystical tendencies, and make it their object to attain, on certain daj's and during certain moments, a profound union with God. This union (ittisdl), which is described by the Persian and Hindu sufi of the ninth century, resembles the Nirvana of the Buddhists. It is the annihilation of the personality by the identification ((//((»( or?7((7ia(/) of the subject with God. Sidi-abd-el-Kader-el-Djilani proclaimed that "happiness is in unconsciousness of existence". Sheikh Senoussi defined ecstasy as "the annihilation of a man's individuality in the Divine Essence", and Abd- el-Kerim summed it up in two words, "unconscious- ness and insensibility". Such teaching cannot shock Mussulmans, for they venerate madmen as saints, and believe that God dwells in empty brains, which explains why they allow demented persons a liberty which, to us, seems excessive. Sometimes the ini- tiated person endeavours to obtain imion with the founder of his order, whom he regards as a superior emanation of the Godhead and His all-powerful intermediary. In this way Refnya are made.

As to the method of arriving at this pseudo-ecstatic union: Sufism, which preceded the confraternities, and from which many of them are derived, was con- tent to teach the moral method of renunciation- detachment carried as far as possible. This was the essence of primitive, which w.os simply a "way" (tariqd), a method of sanctification, not a dog- matic system or an organization. The confrater- nities added special exercises, and in this lies the great difference from Christ ian mysticism. The latter confesses the impossibility of attaining a true mysti- cal state by one s own efforts; (lod must produce it, and then it comes unexpectedly, whether during prayer or in the midst of some indifferent occupation. The Mu.ssulman thinks otherwise: there is a physical process which consists in the manner of reciting the dikr in common and which takes effect especially on Friday, the weekly holy day of Islam. There are various prescriptions as to how the breath should be held and its respiration prolonged. A more importaiit detail is the exhausting bodily exercise which is enjoined to produce a kind of vertigo or hysterical intoxication, followed either by convulsions or by extreme weakness. Thus, among the Kadriya, says Le Chatelier, "the khouans give themselves up to a rhythmical and gradually accelerated swaying of the