Abassines

Abassines a sect of the Greek Church, inhabiting an extended and wooded region along the coast of the Black Sea. They are a rough variety of the Circassians, and support themselves chiefly by plunder and piracy. From their isolated position they have fallen away from many of the doctrines and practices of the Eastern Church, to which they nominally belong. They observe several feasts, and believe in the seven sacraments, holding confession to be one of them; but they neither confess the number nor the particular species of their sins, exclaiming only in general, "I have sinned, I have sinned." On the repetition of this declaration, the offenders are absolved in a few words accompanied with some gentle stripes upon the side with an olive twig. But in the case of heinous crimes such as homicide, adultery, and theft they are often severely scourged. Their funeral rites are ushered in by cries, sighs, and groans. The relations of the deceased lash themselves, and the women disfigure their faces while the priest says a requiem over the deceased and perfumes the corpse. They put their dead into coffins constructed out of the hollowed trunks of trees, and bound round with the sprigs on branches of vines. After the performance of the funeral obsequies they bring out provisions and lay them upon the sepulchres of their deceased friends.

 
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