Somewhere around the year 400, a devout Spanish nun traveled on a lenten pilgrimage to the Holy Land, keeping a diary of her journey. That diary has become a priceless witness to us of fourth century Church's liturgical practices during Lent and Holy Week. The churches Constantine had built at the places of our Lord's passion were only two generations old as she wrote, and their availability as destinations of processions and divine services tended to make the Jerusalem church's Holy Week and Easter services normative for the rest of the Church. Egeria wrote to the recipient of her journal entries, ''Knowing how pleased you would be to learn what is the ritual observed day by day in the holy places, I considered it my duty to make known to you the details...'' Here there are details aplenty, and we, too, are ''pleased'' -- and privileged -- to learn.
An Eighth Day View:
Written in the first part of the fifth century, this work is a charming record of the observations of a Christian woman on a lengthy pilgrimage to the Holy Lands. Her firsthand account is a work of major significance for the fields of archaeology, church history, philology and comparative liturgy.