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A black casket, shiny and ornate, sat upon the altar, and pallbearers in dark suits quietly led the mourners to their seats as the church continued to fill. The chanter’s hypnotic singing droned on. It was a muggy one hundred and five degrees, but inside the dark sanctuary, cut off and remote from the outside world, it was cool and still. The air in the Annunciation Cathedral was heavily mingled with the sweet scent of carnations and the burning sting of incense. Rays of sunlight, muted by tall stained glass windows, cast uneven shadows on the walls of the church. From the huge pipe organ flowed the somber strains of a Byzantine lament.