Saturday, 6 October 2012

Folklore about Church foundations

Ecclesiastical  Curiosities
Edited William Andrews (1899) Project Gutenburg
Kalkara - © Godric Godricson
Afzelius, in his collection of Swedish folk tales, says: “Heathen superstition did not fail to show itself in the construction of Christian churches. In laying the foundations the people retained something of their former religion, and sacrificed to their old deities, whom they could not forget, some animal, which they buried alive, either under the foundation, or within the wall. A tradition has also been preserved that under the altar of the first Christian churches a lamb was usually buried, which imparted security and duration to the edifice. This was an emblem of the true church lamb—the Saviour, who is the corner stone of His church.

When anyone enters a church at a time when there is no service, he may chance to see a little lamb spring across the choir and vanish. This is the church-lamb. When it appears to a person in the churchyard, particularly to the grave-digger, it is said to forbode the death of a child that shall be next laid in the earth.”

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