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Encounter with an iconic document

Athos of Chronicles of Atlantis sent us Father Z's encounter with an iconic document -

When I was in England last February, a friend. . .did me the great favor of taking me to see, inter alia, Salisbury Cathedral.

It was a wonderful experience. The Cathedral is, after all, one of the great intact medieval buildings. Right up my alley, or perhaps nave…. clerestory… well.. you get it.
But I was not prepared for the full surprise I was to have that day.

With a some intensity I could sense, he led me to the Cathedral’s splendid Chapter House.

There are various display cases in the chapter, containing wonderful objects.

But eventually I worked my way to the far end and, strolling around a somewhat sheltered case, I peered down at a medieval parchment.

It was sheepskin, probably. It was written very close, in a small chancery hand, in Latin.

Having had a bit of Latin, some training in paleography, and the requisite curiosity I began to scan the first lines.

"John, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anj…"

I can’t quite describe what occurred to me at that moment, the physical coldness of hair rising on the back of my neck and arms, my throat closing with the urgent need not to breathe. . .

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