OF MISSIONARY FRIARS. 207
Master Peter of Lucolongo, a faithful Christian man and great merchant, who was the companion of my travels from Tauris, himself bought the ground for the establishment of which I have been speaking, and gave it to me for the love of God. And by the divine favour I think that a more suitable position for a Catholic church could not be found in the whole empire of his majesty the Cham. In the beginning of Augusts I got the ground, and by the aid of sundry benefactors and well-wishers it was completed by the Feast of St. Francis with an enclosure wall, houses, offices, courts, and chapel, the latter capable of holding two hundred persons. On account of winter coming on I have not been able to finish the church, but I have the timber collected at the house, and please God I hope to finish it in summer. And I tell you it is thought a perfect marvel by all the people who come from the city and elsewhere, and who had previously never heard a word about it. And when they see our new building, and the red cross planted aloft, and us in our chapel with all decorum chaunting the service, they wonder more than ever. When we are singing, his majesty the Cham can hear our voices in his chamber; and this wonderful fact is spread far and wide among the heathen, and will have the greatest effect, if the divine mercy so disposes matters and fulfils our hopes.
From the first church and house to the second church which I built afterwards, is a distance of two miles and a half within the city, which is passing great. And I have divided the boys into two parties, putting one of them in the first church and the other in the second, and so each party performs the service by itself. But I act as chaplain and celebrate mass
1 This may perhaps mean August 1304, though, if we look at the beginning of this paragraph only, we should suppose it to be August 1305. But in his preceding letter written in January 1305, he says he was already in actu edificandi ecclesiam. And from August to St. Francis's day (4th October) in the same year, seems too short a time for the amount of work reported.