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Excerpt: ...separately of the Festival of the Ascension, for an obvious reason. It ranked, as we have seen, in the estimation of Primitive Christendom, with the greatest Festivals of the Church. Augustine, in a well-known passage, hints that it may have been of Apostolical origin; 375 so exceedingly pg 205 remote was its institution accounted in the days of the great African Father, as well as so entirely forgotten by that time was its first beginning. I have to shew that in the Great Oriental Lectionary (whether of the Greek or of the Syrian Church) the last Twelve Verses of S. Mark's Gospel occupy a conspicuous as well as a most honourable place. And this is easily done: for, ( a ) The Lesson for Matins on Ascension-Day in the East, in the oldest documents to which we have access, consisted (as now it does) of the last Twelve Verses, -neither more nor less, -of S. Mark's Gospel. At the Liturgy on Ascension was read S. Luke xxiv. 36-53: but at Matins, S. Mark xvi. 9-20. The witness of the "Synaxaria" is constant to this effect. ( b ) The same lection precisely was adopted among the Syrians by the Melchite Churches, 376 -(the party, viz. which maintained the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon): and it is found appointed also in the "Evangeliarium Hierosolymitanum." 377 In the Evangelistarium used in the Jacobite, (i.e. the Monophysite) Churches of Syria, a striking difference of arrangement is discoverable. While S. Luke xxiv. 36-53 was read at Vespers and at Matins on Ascension Day, the last seven verses of S. Mark's Gospel (ch. xvi. 14-20) were read at the Liturgy . 378 Strange, that the self-same Gospel should have been adopted at a remote age by some of the Churches of the West, 379 and should survive in our own Book of Common Prayer to this hour! ( c ) But S. Mark xvi. 9-20 was not only appointed by the Greek Church to be read upon Ascension Day. Those same twelve verses constitute the third of the xi "Matin Gospels of the Resurrection ..".