THE FAITH OF THE CHURCH PART-I
A member of the Oriental Orthodox family of Churches, the Church of Ethiopia shares with them in essence a common faith. This faith, the churches believes, is derived from the apostolic heritage and borne witness to in the New Testament against the background of the Old Testament.
It has been expounded by the fathers of the Church both in the ancient councils and in their teaching. It continues as a living reality in the church in its life of worship, preaching and discipline. In a word, then in the church of Ethiopia is a community which has inherited and which holds to the historic Christian faith as it has been handed down through the centuries. What is attempted here is, only to give a brief introduction to the faith of the Church of Ethiopia. The Mystery of the Holy Trinity God is the only eternal Being. Beyond time, space and all limitations, He abides without a beginning and without an end. “Thou hast no beginning,” says in prayer the Ethiopian priest who celebrates the Anaphora of St. John, “but Thou bringest all things to their end. Infinite art Thou, but for all things Thou didst set bounds.” God is the Creator of all that exists. Having made them all, He continues to sustain them. The Lord is high, says the Anaphora. Yet “all were created through His grace, and all live through His kindness”. Perfect in Himself, He continually imparts perfection to His creatures. Individuals as well as the entire historical process are ultimately under His control. God is not a passive perfection or an abstract ideal, but a dynamic reality who is ever active in bringing all that exists to the final destiny which He has for each of them as well as for the whole created realm. God is one in three and three in one. The unity of God is nor convinced in the sense of an arithmetical digit nor of a solitary condition, but in that of an all-inclusive perfection. So the one is also eternally three. He is, affirms the Anaphora, “three names and one God, three prosopa and one appearance, three persons and one essence”. The unity of God is confessed as the unity of Godhead – Melekote as the word is used in Ethiopia. The one Godhead is shared equally and eternally by the three Persons – Akal as they are referred to in Ethiopia. As in other parts of the Christian world, in Ethiopia also there were men who tried to interpret the doctrine in various ways. there were, for instance, persons who refused to accept the personal distinctions in the one Godhead and others who insisted that the three Persons were three Gods. Both these views were rejected by the Church. God is eternally Father, eternally Son, and eternally Holy Spirit. “The Father beget His son without days or hours; and when He beget Him, His Father was not separated from Him.” Beyond time, God is the eternal One. That One is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No one of the three Persons is prior to the other two in time. “The One was not before the Other”, says the Anaphora, “and the Second was not before the Third.” But “we proclaim that the Father lived with His Son, and that the Son lived with His Father before creation, and before the heavens and the earth were made.” In the one co-eternal and co-equal Trinity, the Father is the eternal source if the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Son is born of, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from, the Father. While affirming that the Son and the Holy Spirit derive each of them His respective being eternally from the Father, it is insisted that “the Father did not beget the Son to help Him in His work before the world was created and the existence of the Holy Spirit is not to contribute wisdom and work.” It is not with the Deity as it was with Abraham who was older than Isaac. Or with Isaac who was older than Jacob, but the Father is not older than the Son, neither is the Son older than the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not younger than the Son, neither is the Son younger than His Father. The Father is different from the Son and the Holy Spirit only in that He alone is Father. The Son alone is Son, and the Holy Spirit alone dwells in us and makes God known to us. So the priest who celebrates the Anaphora of St. John says in prayer, “But thy living Holy Spirit knoweth the depth of Thy Godhead. He has declared to us Thy nature, and told us about Thy oneness. He taught thy unity, and helped to know Thy Trinity.” The one Godhead is, therefore, in the Father in perfection. Form Him the same Godhead is received in perfection by the Son through His eternal generation; and from the Father again the same Godhead in perfection is derived eternally by the Holy Spirit. It is affirmed at the same time with equal force that “the father is not grater than the Son, and the Son is not less than His Father,” and the Holy Spirit in not grater or less than either the Father or Son. Thus the unity of God is affirmed by confessing that the Godhead is one, and that the Godhead is eternally in the Father. The Son and the Holy Spirit receive the same Godhead eternally and in perfection from the Father. There is also another equally important emphasis regarding divine unity. This lies in the affirmation that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are eternally inseparably together. In everything that the Father does, the Son and the Holy Spirit are there with Him; in all the things that the Son does, the Father and the Holy Spirit are there with Him; and in all activities of the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son are also with him. It is affirmed that “the father, being Father, doth not give orders to the Son; and the Son, being Son, is not exalted; and the Holy Spirit is equal. Both the divine Father, Son and Holy Spirit is equal. But the divine Father, Son and Holy Spirit and are one God, one Kingdom, one authority and one government.” If we may put the emphasis in our words, the term “Father” with reference to God signifies the divine reality which originates everything; the Son indicates the divine reality implying all that is originated; and the Holy Spirit signifies the divine reality which dwells in creatures relating them both individually and corporately to God. The eternal God, as we have noted already, is the all-inclusive perfection. He creates all things; He sustains them; and He guides them to a final destiny. Infinite love, God creates and sustains the world and all that there is in it. It is God the Father who bring all this into being; but it is accomplished in reality through the Son, and is perfected in the Holy Spirit. All this is one activity of God consisting of different aspects. Grounded in the Son and upheld and perfected by the Holy Spirit, the created world belongs to the Father. In His love God the Father sent His only Son into the world in order to accomplish its salvation; in the same love God the Son came and worked out the world’s salvation; in the same love again God the Holy Spirit perfects the salvation thus given. All these are manifestation at different levels of the same activity of God in relation to the world. The meaning of Holy Trinity (Pope Shenouda III) The Mystery of the Incarnation The incarnation of God the Son is primarily for the salvation of the world. Salvation means to restoration of the world to its direct and unimpeded relation with God. As God made it, the world was very good. But evil came there in it. God who made the world is ever concerned and active to save it from the clutches of evil and restore it to the destiny for which it has been created. Incarnation is God’s supreme act in saving the world. God the Son entered the earthly realm of existence in a unique way by taking over Himself a perfectly real human life. This is incarnation by which God the Father who created the world through God the Son and perfects it through God the Holy Spirit, manifests through the Son His saving work for the world and completes it in the Holy Spirit. As creation is the work of God, redemption is also God’s work. God who created the world made man as the crown of creation. Made in God’s image and endowed with creaturely freedom and autonomy, man seeks God and reflects on His being and nature. Through the wrong exercise of man’s freewill there came on him and the world at large misery and suffering as well as sin and evil. The salvation of the wold, therefore, required pre-eminently the healing of man. It is this healing which the Incarnation is believed by the Church to have aimed to accomplish. In the Incarnation, God the Son united to Himself real and perfects manhood. Conceived in her womb by Mary the Virgin through the work of the Holy Spirit, He was born in the world as a real man. At the very moment of His conception, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, a personal manhood was formed in the Virgin’s womb in union with God the Son. Thus God the Son united to Himself the manhood taken from the human mother and was born as perfect God and perfect man in the real sense. Jesus Christ, the incarnate God the Son, is one Person, continuous with Godhead and continuous with manhood. In Him Godhead and manhood continue each in its integrity and perfection, in a state of indivisible and unconfused union. On this ground the Church of Ethiopia, with the other Oriental Orthodox Churches, affirms that Jesus Christ is not two natures, but one incarnate nature of God the Word. The “one” here is not meant to ignore the dynamic continuance of either Godhead or manhood in the one Christ, but to confess a real incarnation whereby God the Son entered the world of ours as a man. He is indeed God the incarnate Son even while He is found to undergo the frailty of manhood. Living as He did a life of unbroken communion with God, He was absolutely sinless. Maintaining this union in the most inward and real sense, He entered into our battle with sin and evil as a man, and fell a victim to our death. By His suffering and ignominious death on the cross He scored a victory over the forces of evil, and by His resurrection from the dead He lives eternally in His natural unity with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, and in his unbroken and indivisible union with the manhood. In Jesus Christ, then, we have the incarnate, crucified and glorified God the Son, who is Himself our brother, signifying the final destiny awaiting the human race. Regarding the Person of Jesus Christ also there have been serious discussions in Ethiopia. But the Church holds to the view that He is God the Son in His incarnate state. Born of God the Father eternally as God the Son, He was born of the Virgin Mother as a real man. There are a number of affirmations in the Anaphora regarding Him, some of which may be noted here. Jesus Christ was born of Our Lady Mary for our salvation. He who does not believe in His birth from Holy Mary, let him be anathema. In this way, after being conceived in the womb of the Virgin, God the Son was born as a man. By His conception, God the Son became incarnate “taking our nature.” The Son who is born of the Father without a mother, was born as a man without a Father. “He put on mortal flesh and made it immortal,” and He came truly into the world “clothed in the body which He took from us.” His human birth was a unique event, whereby God the Son “came down through the will of His Father” and was made man. “His humanity was not inferior because He had no Father to be born of His seed.” This is incarnation, whereby God the Son entered the historical realm in order to save it forever. In the Incarnation, God the Son united to Himself manhood and “made it one with his Godhead without mixture or confusion, without division or alternation.” Therefore, “His Godhead was not separated from His manhood, not for an hour, nor for the twinkling of an eye.” God the Son came to us “without being separated from His Godhead.” After being born, “He grew like an infant, and grew little by little until He matured like a man. At the age of thirty He was baptized in the Jordan.” He was tempted by the devil; “He hungered and thirsted,” He went about “preaching the gospel of the kingdom of Heaven.” By this, who is perfect like God the Father and is His image walked among us in our image. He suffered passion and death voluntarily on our behalf and for our sakes. He became hungry as man, and granted food to many with very little bread. He thirsted as a man who dies, but changed water into wine as being able to give life to all. They bet Him on the head as a servant and He set free from the yoke of sin as Lord of all. He suffered all. He cured the blind with His spittle and gave us the Holy Spirit by receiving the spittle of the unclean. He who forgiveth sin was accused as a sinner by them. The judge of judges was judges by them. He was crucified on the tree to destroy sin, was crucified with the sinner to control with the righteous. He died through His will, and was buried willingly; He died to destroy death, He died to give life to the dead; He was buried to raise those who were buried, to keep the living, to justify the impure, to justify the sinners, to gather together those who were scattered, and to turn the sinners to glory and honour. Such passages in the Anaphora are too numerous to be reproduced or even noted in the present context. They show that Jesus Christ was at once God and man without division or confusion. The same Christ, God the Son incarnate, expressed the divine actions as well as the human. He is one Christ, in whom God and man are indivisibly united. As to the absolute reality of the suffering and death, there are passages almost without number. We shall reproduce here two of them, one taken from the Anaphora of St. James of Serug, and the other from the Anaphora of St. Dioscorus. The priest who celebrates using the first of these two Anaphora’s says in prayer: O Lord, Thou wast struck with the hands of a servant, beaten with sticks, pierced with a spear, and they caused Thee to drink a little gall with vinegar. While Thou was God able to prevent them, thou didst not prevent them, Thou didst become patient even to death; all this thou didst accept for the love of man. The Anaphora of St. Dioscorus contains the following passages bearing on the point at issue in the present context. The priest says there in prayer: He was laid in the manger of the cattle, received the presents of His kingdom, and wept as infants do, asking for food from the breast of His mother. As to suffering and death in particular, we have passages like the following. They crucified Him on the tree, nailed him with nails, beat Him on the head with sticks, and pierced his side with a spear, to Him who gave drink to the Israelites from a rock they gave to drink gall mixed with myrrh in His thirst. The immortal died, died to destroy death, died to quicken the dead as He promised them with the word of covenant. Death was not the end of His dispensation. “He rose from the dead, absolutely without corruption and set is free from the yoke of sin.” The risen Christ ascended into heaven and is with God the Father. He has triumphed over death and decay. These and the many other passages in the Liturgy show that the manhood of Christ was absolutely real and perfect. But everywhere the emphasis is on the unity of Jesus Christ. It is affirmed that He is God the Son in His incarnate state. As regards the Incarnation, it is clearly shown that He was conceived in the Virgin’s womb, and that He was born as a real man. At the very moment of His conception, through the Holy Spirit, actual manhood was formed from the human mother in union with Himself. It is to Him who was thus conceived that the Virgin gave birth. Therefore, Jesus Christ is indivisibly one. The two natures of Godhead and manhood which came into union in Him continue in the one Christ, each in its absolute integrity and perfection with its respective properties, without change or division. Each of them continues in its dynamic reality, not in a quiescent state, so that Christ is God and man at the same time. The Church of Ethiopia, with the other Oriental Orthodox Churches, has refused to accept the Chalcedonian Definition of the Faith with the affirmation that Christ is “made known in two natures.” If by the expression the Churches which accept the Definition mean only that Godhead and manhood continue in the one Chris dynamically, this is the teaching of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. On the other hand, if the expression is taken in the sense that Godhead and manhood continue in Christ only in a state of moral union, there is a basic difference on this issue between the churches of the Chalcedonian tradition and the Church of Ethiopia, which should be noted. The Incarnation (St. Athnasius) The Mystery of Baptism “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk. 16:6). Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). In accordance with such writings of the Holy Scriptures, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church baptizes male infants at the age of 40 days and female infants at the age of 80 days, (Lev. 12:2-7). Yet if an infant is sick, so that the infant may not die before being baptized and be subjected to the unchangeable order of the Lord Jesus Christ, “unless one is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God”, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church baptizes infants just as they come even prior to the above fixed baptismal dates. In addition, if an adult believes and requests baptism, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church willingly complies and baptizes him or her. Few words from the Holy Scriptures that testify Baptism “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19). And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of the Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts. 2:38). “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts. 10:48). “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into His death “(Rome 6:3). “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free- and all were made to drink of one spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves us (you), not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience…” (1 Pet. 3:12). Such words testify to the usefulness of our Baptism. The Mystery of the Holy Communion; what is Holy Communion? It is a sacrament through which we are far off from the domination of sin and get nearer of attain to communion with God. It originates from the rites conducted by the children of Israel when they attained their freedom from the bondage of slavery and so killed a ritual sheep and sprinkled its blood on the door posts to protect themselves from sudden death and destruction. Based on this example, Jesus Christ, who is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world has founded the Mystery of the Holy Communion by offering. Himself as a true sacrifice on the cross. (Ex. 5-15 Isa. 53: 7 Jn. 1:29). “For the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God,” (Heb. 7:19) The Preparation and Presentation of the Holy Communion is in the form of bread and wine; i.e. like that of Melchizedek, King of Salem’s presentation to Abraham (Gen. 14:18). Why the Holy Communion is called Mystery is that by partaking of the visible Bread and Wine, we attain to invisible heavenly blessings and eternal life. “…Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in Me; and I in him,” (Jn. 6: 53-57). “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread of drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, (will be examined by the Blessed Holy Trinity of being unworthy) and will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the Bread and drink of the Cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged’ (1 Cor. 11:27-32). It is, therefore, based on this teaching that the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church calls upon her followers to be pure from sin, reveille strange thoughts, fornication etc. and to receive the true flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified upon the cross on Holy Friday for the salvation of the world. The priest when putting the bread on the plate and the wine in the cup (chalice) blesses them. During the service of the Holy Liturgy, the bread turns into the true flesh of the Son of God and the wine into the true blood of the Son of God. Athanasius said, “we believe that the bread and wine before the priest blesses them are simple bread and wine, but after the blessing they are truly turned into the flesh and the blood of the Son of God, “Therefore, what the Apostles received on the night of Good Thursday, and what has been sacrificed upon the cross on Good Friday, and what is still being offered today and to the end of the world in the four corners of the world is one band the same. St. John of Chrysostom said that, the poor sacrifice which the priests offer every time is one and the same sacrifice, which has been offered upon the cross. He (St. John) also confirms that it is not a symbol, but the real and blood of the Son of God. Supporting scriptural words about the teaching Of the Holy Communion “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, take, cat; this is my Body. And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, drink of it, all of you; for this is my Blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins,” (Mt. 26: 26-29; Mk, 14: 22; Lk. 22: 19). “Truly truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world” (Jn. 6: 32; 35; 51-59), such passages confirm the doctrine of the Holy Communion. (2) The Mystery of the Resurrection “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the combs will hear His voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment” (Jn. 5: 28-29). St. Paul said. “There is one glory of the Sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So it is with the resurrection of the dead. (1 Cor. 15: 41-42). Supporting Scriptural Words Concerning the Resurrection “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the son and believes in Him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 5: 25, 6: 40, 11:25) “ Knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence” (2 Cor. 4:14). “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call; and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first,” (1 Thess. 4:16). “Having a hope in God which these themselves accept that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. “ (Acts 24: 15, Dan. 12: 2). The Resurrection of those already raised in the Scripture is an evidence of our Resurrection. Elijah raised one child (1 Kg. 17: 21-22) Elisha raised the Son of the Shunammite (2 Kg 4:35) a dead man raised on the touch of the bone of Elisha (2 Kg. 13: 21). A daughter of a ruler was raised by the Lord (Mt. 9: 25). The dead who were raised on the crucification day of the Lord. (Mt. 27:52) The Son of a widow at Nail was raised by the Lord (Lk. 7:15). The raising of Lazarus at Bethany by the Lord (Jn. 11: 43-44) Dorcas was raised by Peter (Acts 9: 40). The bodily living (life) of Enoch and Elijah is one indication of our resurrected eternal life. But our fundamental understanding of our raising is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Amoniyos and Awsabeyos stated in the introduction of the Gospel, “He is risen so as to teach the Resurrection, of our bodies” Based on the above teachings, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church offers belief and worships the High God who creates and rules. In this teaching, our church is in accordance with the ancient churches; such as Alexandrian, Syrian, Armenian, and Indian Orthodox Churches. Human Salvation The Incarnation is first and foremost for the salvation of the world, The salvation of the world means pre-eminently the redemption of the human race. The saving work of God accomplished through the Incarnation is to be appropriated by man, both individually and corporately. It is when this is done with reference to the entire human race that the work of salvation of the world will have been perfected. God Himself is carrying on this work through the Holy Spirit. In his life and existence man includes both the individual and the corporate dimensions. The saving work accomplished by God in the Incarnation should, therefore, be assimilated and perfected in both these dimensions. It is to carry on this divine work that the Church is founded by God. The incarnate, crucified and risen Christ is in the Church, which is His body on earth, through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works in the Church through individual members as well as its community as a corporate body, in order to make the saving activity of God real to them. This is done through the various ministries of the Sacraments, preaching and teaching. In this way individual persons are inspired to dedicate their lives, and both individuals and communities are guided to carry forward the ministry of Jesus Christ in the social, economic, political and such other spheres of human life for the well-being of man and the world at large. This concern is giving expression to in the Anaphora’s of the Church of Ethiopia by including prayers for all these areas of life in the world. Thus prayers are offered for rains, that God may send them where they are needed; for waters of the rivers, that “God should fill them unto their due measure and bounds”; for the fruits of the earth, that “God may grant to the earth her fruit for sowing and for harvest”; and for the prevailing of the spirit of peace for the people. In the same way every liturgical celebration includes intercession for the Emperor as the Head of the State and for ecclesiastical leaders. Besides, traders, farmers and craftsmen, as well as those in need, sickness or oppression are specially remembered. Prayers are also offered for those who have fallen in any manner of sin. All these show that the entire realm of nature and all conditions of men and women are committed to divine protection and care at every service of worship. The Christian’s ultimate concern in life is not understood in terms merely of the hope for a blessed life in the world to come. On the other hand, this world itself is affirmed to belong to God. But the fact of evil in it is admitted, both in the natural realm and in the moral realm. Salvation is a present experience consisting in man’s complete confidence and communion with God as well as his perfect peace and harmony with his fellow beings. This sate of being which should be ours here and now should grow till it reaches its final culmination in the eternal realm. Thus salvation is a present reality which has a future reference. The Church has the responsibility to inspire its member to work for the well being of life in the world here and now and to proclaim the hope of eternal life in the world to come. In this world man is entitled to individual freedom, social justice, economic sufficiency and such other rights as will enable him to develop his talents for the good of himself and of others. The Church as a body should stand for the realization of these rights. However, the Church of Ethiopia does not agree with the view that the Christian’s concern is only to work for the welfare of man in this world. This world and our lives in it are nothing but transitory. No man can be absolutely sure of what will happen to him tomorrow. Furthermore, material prosperity does not as a rule lead to peaceful life, either for the individual or for peoples and notions. In any case, the Church of Ethiopia does not think that its mission is to build up exclusively a city in this world. The hope in the life of the world to come is an integral part of its faith. The Apostolic Creed which is in use in the Church of Ethiopia has three sections bearing on our discussion in the present context. The first of them insists that “all creatures of God are good and there is nothing to be rejected, and the spirit, the life of the body, is pure and holy in all.” The entire natural realm has been made pure and holy by God and all that is for man’s regular use. The second passage affirms that “marriage is pure, and childbirth is undefiled, because God created Adam and Eve to multiply.” This is a clear statement which shows that in the faith of the Church of Ethiopia, human society is of divine creation, so that the social, economic political and other such ties of man are divinely instituted. In the third passage there is the confession that we “believe in the resurrection of the dead, the righteous and sinners; and in the Day of Judgment when everyone will be recompensed according to his deeds.” This statement affirms the eschatological hope in the Church’s faith. Putting the three ideas together, we can say that according to the faith of the Church of Ethiopia, the natural realm has been created by God, who has Himself placed man in the world as a member of society. There is a destiny awaiting man, and that is to be attained by him in the risen life in the world to come. In the face of evil and sin in this world of our God has worked out man’s salvation through His incarnate Son, who rose from the dead and lives eternally offering us the assurance of a resurrection that will be ours also. A word in conclusion The eternal and triune God who is beyond time and space has created the world in time and space. He has redeemed the world and continues His work of perfecting the saving act. The salvation was accomplished by God through the suffering, death and resurrection of His incarnate Son and is perfected through His Holy Spirit. In is this saving work of God that is represented in every celebration of the Holy Eucharist, which is not merely a memorial service to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But in it the Church offers itself and the whole-redeemed human race together with the natural realm of earthly existence to the triune God. This is why in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, as also in its various other acts of worship, the Church calls to remembrance the living and the departed sections of the communion of saints. This is done in the context of remembering the saving acts of God, not merely as past events, but as events which happened actually in the realm of history and which signify the continuous work of God for the salvation of the world. The Service of the Holy Eucharist brings to us above all the assurance of the eschatological dimension of the Christian faith. We proclaim Thy death, Lord and Thy holy resurrection, we believe in Thine ascension and Thy second coming, we glorify Thee, we offer our prayer unto Thee and supplicate Thee our Lord and our God. Grant us, Lord, to do Thy will and Thy good pleasure at all times, and write our names in the book if life in the kingdom of heaven with all saints and martyrs, though Jesus Christ our Lord, though whom, to Thee, with Him and with the Holy Spirit be glory and dominion, both now and ever and world without end. Amen. Written by V C Samuel “THE CHURCH OF ETHIOPIA A PANORAMA OF HISTORY AND SPIRITUAL LIFE”
Introduction to Church Sacraments Definition A Church sacrament is a holy ordinance through which the believer receives an invisible grace under the form of an outward sign, visible or audible. It should be instituted by Christ Himself. Some Protestants say that the sacraments are mere symbols and “signs of the new covenant,” and that they are mere outward rituals, through the observance of which “the church of Christ confesses her Lord and is visibly distinguished from the world.” But our Church believes that there is a real efficacy in the sacraments themselves, and that they truly bring invisible graces to the believers. For instance it is said that Baptism brings salvation. ”When once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us. “(1 Pet. 3:20,21) And the Holy Communion brings true life in this world: ”Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.”(John 6:53), and brings eternal life: “Who eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. He that eateth of this bread shall live forever. ”John 6:54,58) The same can be said of the other sacraments. Number of Church Sacraments There are seven sacraments: baptism, confirmation, penance, Holy Communion, unction of the sick, matrimony, and holy orders. The first four sacraments are necessary for every believer: and although the other three are not necessary for every believer, yet matrimony and holy orders are very necessary to the church, the first being necessary of the preservation and growth of mankind, and the second for consecrating the clergy required to perform the various church services, because they can never be performed by the laity. Other churches accept only two of these: baptism and Holy Communion. But the following will prove that the sacraments are seven in number and not two: The definition of church sacraments in general can be equally applied to all seven without any distinction. The Bible contains some instructions regarding every on of the seven sacraments. Even the practice of those churches shows that although they accept only two sacraments, yet they celebrate the others refusing to consider them as sacraments. The writings of the fathers in the early centuries make it clear that they are seven. Although they did not expressly declare that the number of sacraments was seven, yet in their writings they mentioned each one separately; one mentioned one r two or three sacraments, another mentioned another sacrament and so on. All the Orthodox and Catholic churches, throughout east and west, agree in keeping the seven sacraments in spite of the various differences which are among them in other respects. T hey also declare that they received the seven sacraments from the very early fathers. The church gives another reason, considering that the seven sacraments resemble, or rather represent, the seven pillars upon which “wisdom” built her house. (Prov. 9:1). In addition to all this, it may be worth mentioning to state that this number of perfection. Performance of Sacraments Certain prayers are set for each sacrament to ask for the blessing of the Holy Ghost. Who has the right to perform Church Sacraments? A bishop may perform any church sacrament, but there must be at least three bishops for the consecration of a bishop in the sacrament of Holy Orders; a priest cannot confer Holy Orders, but the can perform the other six sacraments; a deacon can only help the bishop or the priest in celebrating the seven sacraments. Some Protestants say that sacraments and all church ordinances can be celebrated by anyone of the laity, and that there is no need for the clergy, supposing that all Christians are of the same standing, and Christ did not distinguish anyone in His church. In reply please turn to what is mention in this connection in the sacrament of the Holy Orders. Others think that the sacraments lose their efficacy if the minister’s life is not a good one. But our church teaches that the blessings got through the Sacraments do not depend on the life of the minister because of the following reasons. The Apostle Paul asserts that the work of grace in the heart does not depend on any human effort, but absolutely on God “Neither is he that planteth anything neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase. (1 Cor. 3:7) Though the Lord did not baptize, and baptism was left to the disciples, yet it was said that it was He who baptized. (John 1:33; 4:1, 2) In the same manner we can say that it is not the minister who performs the sacraments, but God who works in him, with him, and through Him. “For it is God which worketh in you.” (Phil. 2:13) “We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also…” (2 Cor. 6:1) “ I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was in me.” (1 Cor. 15:10) “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20) When Korah, Dathan and Abiram rebelled against Moses and against God, took their censers and offered incense in them, they were severely punished; but God ordered that “ the censers of these sinners against their own souls” should be made “ broad plates for a covering of the altar, for they offered them before the Lord, therefore they are hallowed” (Numbers 16:37, 38) The Lord ordered us to accept the teaching even of wicked teachers, and not to imitate their bad example (Matt. 23:1-3) John Chrysostom said: “It happens that the leaders are wicked and the laity are righteous. But the grace does not depend upon the life of the clergy. This I say in order that no one should doubt of the legality of ordinances celebrated if he examines the priest’s life because everything depends upon the power of God who alone grants the race through the sacrament performed. And St. Athanasius said: “The priest does not consecrate the water (of baptism) but merely performs the due service, for which he obtains grace from God.” He also said: If we baptize, confirm and forgive, everything is due to Christ who performs it.” It was also said : It makes no difference whether the sacraments are given at the hands of righteous or wicked ministers, because sacraments resemble the seeds which are scattered on the earth by the farmer, and which will produce the due crop whether the hands of the farmer are clean or dirty; and because if the efficacy of the sacraments depends upon the life of the minister, it follows that our salvation depends upon their desire.”
BAPTISM CHAPTER 1
The Sacrament of Baptism Definition Baptism is the sacrament through which a person is born again and accepted into the membership of the church after being dipped into water three times in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Of all the sacraments it is the first, because it is considered as the door through which the believer enters the church and the kingdom of grace according to what was said by the Lord: “Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3: 5) Therefore, it must be received by believers before they can receive any other sacrament. Types in the Old Testament. The Ark of Noah. “When once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.” (1 Pet. 3: 20, 21) The circumcision. “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. Buried with Him in baptism.” (Col.2:11,12) Crossing the Red Sea. ”I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” (1 Cor 10:1,2) Baptism of John the Baptist Although it was from heaven yet it was “ the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. “(Luke 3:3) and had no power of rebirth. It was to prepare the Jews to accept Christ, and was, at the same time, a sing or preparation for Christian baptism. Baptism by the Disciples before the Death of Christ It was said that the disciples used to baptize during the days of our Lord on earth. (John 4:2) But this baptism was also to prepare the Jews to accept Christ. John Chrysostom says that it was exactly the same as the baptism of John the Baptist. Institution of the Sacrament Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself instituted this sacrament after His resurrection when He said: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”(Matt 28: 18, 19) The Visible Sign The signs are the dipping into water three times, and the words said by the minister; “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (1) The use of water is because: Christ was baptized into water (Matt. 3: 13-16). Christ said: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (John 3:5). It was thus used by the Apostles and the early church in the Apostolic age. “Then answered Per, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized?” (Acts 10:46,47) “And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:38). It has been used since the very beginning of the church. Water cleanses the dirt of the body, and baptism cleanses the dirt of the soul. And the dipping into water is because: Christ was thus baptized. “And Jesus, when He was baptized went up straightway out of the water.”(Matt.3:16) And the early church in the apostolic age thus baptized too. “And they went down both into water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:38) No doubt, the eunuch had some water with him in his chariot, and Philip could have used some of it for sprinkling him had it been allowed to baptize with sprinkling. The word “baptism” is a Greek word and comes from a word which means “to dye” or to dip into water. Baptism resembles death and burial with Christ; and to bury a dead body is to put it down in the grave. “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore, we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom.6: 3, 4). Therefore it is not right to baptize with the sprinkling of water as others do. The Invisible Grace. Rebirth. “Jesus answered and said unto him, verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time in his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily I say unto thee except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3-5) For this reason the apostle Paul calls baptism regeneration. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Titus 3:5) Remission of sins”Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. “(Acts 2 : 38) Purification and sanctification. “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God). “ ( 1 Pet. 3: 21) “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify it and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” (Eph. 5:25,26) Salvation. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” (Mark 16; 16) “ The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet 3:21) Adoption. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Gal. 3:26,27 One Baptism Our church teaches that those who have been validly baptized must not be baptized again. This is what St. Paul affirmed: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Eph. 4:5) The reasons why baptism must not be repeated are: Baptism is the rebirth, or regeneration. As man is born bodily only once, so we cannot be spiritually born more than once. Baptism is the partaking of Christ’s death and resurrection (Rome 6:4; Col. 2: 12) and Christ died and arose only once. Even when Christians reject the faith and come back again to the church, they are not baptized again In this case it is sufficient that they perform the two sacraments of penance and Holy Communion. Baptism of Infants Some churches say that baptism should be given only to grown up persons. But our church believes that babies too should be baptized for the following reasons: 1. Babies are inheritors of Adam’s sin, and it is necessary for them to be purified of it through baptism. In the Old Testament babies had to be circumcised in order to be accepted into God’s covenant. And since circumcision was a type of baptism, therefore babies should now be baptized in order to be accepted as members in the church. It should be borne in mind that circumcision which was a seal of faith (Rome 4:11) was applied to children who were incapable of faith. This sing marked them out as recipients of the covenant blessings of God. God did not prevent babies from accepting some of the great graces, e.g. Jeremiah was sanctified before coming forth out of the womb (Jer. 1:5), John the Baptist was filled with Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb. (Luke 1:15) In the Apostolic age whole families were baptized and there must have been some babies among those families, like the families of Cornelius (Acts 10: 48), Lydia (Acts 16,14,15) the deeper of the prison (Acts 16:33), Stephanas (1 Cor. 1: 16) etc. This was the custom in the church since the early centuries, as is shown in history and the writing of the fathers. Origen said: “The Apostles handed over to the church the tradition of baptizing babies also because babies are baptized for the remission of sins to be washed of the inherited sin.” It was said: “Baptizing babies is and Apostolic tradition.” In the Apostolic Tradition we read: “They shall baptize the little children first. If they can answer for themselves let them answer. But if they cannot, let their parents answer, for someone form their family.” Christ’s church on earth is composed of all those who profess faith in Him and obedience to His laws, together with their children. Baptism of Blood Martyrs who shed their blood for the sake of Christ before being baptized are considered to have received this kind of baptism according to the statement of our Lord “whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. “ (Matt 10: 32) Again: “whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25) Who has the Right to Baptize? This right was primarily given to the Apostles by the Lord Himself. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt. 28:19). Then it was given to bishops, and afterwards to the priests. Obligations of the Baptized Before receiving baptism. One must publicly declare: 1. His repentance; “Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 2:38) In his confession of repentance he must declare also that he has rejected Satan and all his works. His faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16: 16). In his confession of faith he must say the creed. But in the case of babies who are of course unable to declare repentance or faith he before baptism, their parents, god-fathers or god-mothers should give that declaration instead of them, and should promise to rear them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Rev. Marcos Daoud, The Orthodox Church Sacraments, Tinsae Ze Gubae Printing press, Addis Ababa 1952.
CHAPTER 2 THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION
Definition Confirmation is the sacrament through which the believer is granted the gift of the Holy Ghost who alone can confirm him in the new life given to him through baptism. Like the Sacrament of baptism, this sacrament can never be repeated. Institution of the Sacrament It was instituted through the various promises which the Lord gave for granting the Holy Ghost. (John chapters 7, 14,15,16,etc) Time of Administration Since the believer, through this sacrament, is confirmed in the new life given him after baptism, it should therefore be administered directly after baptism. Some churches say that it should be delayed till the babies grow to the age of maturity. In reply it may be sufficient to state the following. The Holy Ghost descended upon our Lord directly after baptism. (Matt. 3:16) The Apostles used to celebrate this sacrament by the laying on of hands, directly after baptism. (Acts 8: 14-17; 19:5,6) Since babies are worthy of receiving the grace of baptism, there is no reason for preventing them from receiving the sacrament of confirmation. The Bible declares that some babies were filled with the Holy Gost even from their mothers’ womb, e.g. John the Baptist. (Luke 1: 15) In the early days of the church, it used to celebrate this sacrament by the laying on of hands. “Then laid they (Peter and John) their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:17) “And when they (the Ephesians) heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them the Holy Ghost came on them.” (Acts 19: 5,6) The laying on of hands was afterwards replace by the unction of the holy oil (mairoun). “But we have an unction from the Holy one, and we know all things. The anointing which we have received of Him abides in you and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.” (1 John 2:20, 27) “Now He which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us. Is God: who hath also sealed us and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Cor. 1: 21,22) Certain parts of the body have to be anointed with that oil after saying certain prayers. It is related that the holy oil was first made, by the Apostles, of the spices and ointments that were prepared for the body of the Lord at the time of burial and after burial (Luke 23:56; 24:1). St. Mark brought part of it to Egypt, and since that time fresh oil used to be made and added to the rest of it. It is now made of olive oil and certain spices, and consecrated by the Patriarch and bishops through long prayers. The Invisible Grace Through this sacrament the believer receives the gift of the Holy Ghost who confirms him in the new life given to him in baptism, gives him the power of growing in that new life, enlightens and teaches him all things (1 John 2, 20,21) and keeps him firm in the way of truth. The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost-wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, godliness, and the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2) are given to the believers through this sacrament. Who has the Right to Anoint? This right was primarily confined to the Apostles, From them it was conveyed to the bishops, their successors, But owing to the difficulties of travel and the impossibility of the bishops being able to confirm all over large dioceses, the custom arose of the bishops blessing the oil, and then allowing the priests to anoint with the oil, and so convey the blessing of the bishops. Anointing of Kings Christian Kings in Christian countries are anointed with holy oil in order that they may receive special blessings of the Holy Ghost to help them with the wisdom and guidance of God in performing their duties. This was also the custom in the Old Testament when Kings of Israel had to be anointed at the hands of the prophets. When anointing David as King of Israel he was said to have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost. “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” (1 Sam. 16: 13) It is the head of the church in that country who has the right to anoint its kings.
CHAPTER 3 THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE
Definition Although believers are reborn through the sacrament of baptism, and receive the Holy Ghost trough the sacrament of confirmation, yet this does not mean that they even the best saints are liable to sin. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, etc. in the Old Testament, Peter, John, etc in the New Testament-all these committed sin, even when they were on the pinnacle of holiness. For this reason this sacrament of penance was instituted in order that through it the sinner can return to God after confessing his sins to the priest. According to the power given by Christ to His ministers to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in Him, the penitent receives, through the meditation of the priest, forgiveness of sins when he comes to him repenting and confessing them. Because it is very necessary that everyone should examine himself before accepting the Holy Communion, this sacrament of penance is therefore administered generally before accepting the Holy Communion. “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinkth unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (1 Cor. 11: 28, 29) The Institution of the Sacrament It was instituted by the threefold promise of the Lord. When Christ said to Peter after declaring that He was the Son of the living God: “Whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19) When He promised all disciples saying: “Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt 18:18) When, after resurrection, He showed them their great commission to the world. “As my Father hath send me, even so send I you. And when He said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; Who so ever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose so ever sins ye retain, they are retained (John 20: 21-23) The Owtward Sign There are two audible sings in this sacrament: The confession of the penitent to the priest, True confession stands in: Repentance and sorrow for the sins committed. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19) Resolution not to return to those sins. When the prodigal son returned to his father he was at once pardoned and accepted because the father was sure that he would not return to that far country. Faith in the mercy and forgiveness of God. Every one that came to the Lord while on earth asking for mercy used to hear this cheerful message “thy sins be forgiven thee” because of his faith in Him, or at least, the faith of those who brought him to the Lord. Confessing sins to the priest, especially those which have the mastery over the sinner. The reason for confessing sins to the priest are: - In order to get through him absolution from all his sins. - In order that the penitent can get his spiritual advice as to the way to conquer his temptations and lead the holy life. The words of absolution spoken by the priest over the penitent. The sacrament of penance is called a spiritual medicine. And the priest is considered a spiritual physician to treat all the diseases of penitents. Therefore he should treat every case as carefully as possible. It should be well known that the “seal of confession” is the obligation of secrecy imposed upon the priest with regard to everything made known to him in confession. The obligation is absolute, and admits no exception. It binds by natural, divine, and ecclesiastical law, and is not abrogated even by the penitent’s death. The reason for this stringency is quite clear. The Invisible Grace The invisible graces which are granted through this sacrament are. 1. Remission of sins. 2. Reconciliation with God. The Kind of sin that can be forgiven The Bible teaches us that every sin can be forgiven however grave it may be, provided that the sinner should return to God in repentance. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.” (Is 1: 18) It teaches also that God is ready to pardon and accept everyone. “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6: 37) “God will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4) David who committed two grave sins, was pardoned. Peter, who denied the Lord three times, and in a very shameful way, was pardoned. The woman who was taken in adultery was pardoned (John 8:11) Christ asked for pardon even to those who committed the greatest crime by crucifying Him. In Matt. 12:31 we find that “the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men” This means that those who reject and oppose the work of the Holy Ghost, and refuse to accept God’s salvation will not be pardoned. Ecclesiastical Discipline In some cases the priest finds it necessary to inflict some kind of discipline on the sinner when he commits a great sin, e.g. he can rebuke him, ask him to fast for some days, pass a longer time in daily prayer, tell him to give some money to the poor, prevent him from receiving the Holy Communion for some time, or impose some other kind of discipline. This right was given to the ministers by Christ Himself. He gave them the right not only to lose, but also to bind (Matt. 16:19); not only to remit the sins, but also to retain them (John 20:23) The Apostles themselves used it. “Deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be save in the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 5:5) See also 2 Cor. 2: 6,7 and 1 tim 5:20 The reasons for this discipline are: In order that the sinner can recognize how grave his sin is. In order that it may serve as a cure to his soul. When the sinner of Corinthe was punished, he repented, and St, Paul wrote to the church to accept him. “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow”. (2Cor. 2: 6,7) In order that others may fear, and do not commit the same sins or the like. “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” (1. Tim. 5:20) The minister should be very careful in using this right. He should recognize that, as a physician, he must be very careful in applying the various kinds of medicine. A slight disease is not in need of the same drug which is needed in serious cases. “Treat-as a kind physician- the sick person. Use some medicines for his salvation. Do not use a severe medicine, but a very mild one. Clean his wounds sand make him firm through the words of consolation. If the wound is deep use the medicines which build up the flesh. If it is filled with puss clean it with a disinfectant medicine, i.e. with rebuking words and afterwards with comforting words. If the wound becomes wider, use a severe unguentum, i.e. terrify him with the day of judgement. If it becomes wider, burn it, and order him to fast for some days. It you find that there is no use of any kind of treatment, consult very experienced physicians, and cautiously cut the corrupted member in order not to cause all church members to be corrupted. But do not hasten to cut any member. “If you pass any sentence unjustly upon anyone you should know that this sentence returns upon your head. “Do not pass one sentence upon all kinds of sins. But examine very sin in order to give the suitable judgement. There are some persons who just deserve you prayer for them, others you should ask to fast, others you should drive out of the church for a certain period appropriate to their sins.”(Didaskalta Ch.8) But the Church of Rome thinks that these punishments are meant to pacify the justice of God. This is utterly wrong because nothing can pacify His justice except the blood of Christ which was shed for our redemption (Rome 3:25; Col, 1:20; 1 Pet 2:24 etc. ) Who has the Right to administer this Sacrament The right was primarily given to the Apostles as shown above. Afterwards it was transferred to their successors, the bishops; then to the priests who are in contact with the people. Rev. Marcos Daoud, The Orthodox Church Sacraments, Tinsae Ze Gubae Printing press, Addis Ababa 1952.
THE SACRAMENT OF THE HOLY COMMUNION
Definition & Names This is the crowing service of the Christian Church, the culmination of Christian worship, the summit of Christian experience where devout believers hold intimate communion with their living Lord. The church through the ages has regarded this sacrament as the supreme act of communal worship. Through this sacrament we eat the blessed flesh of our Lord and drink His precious blood under the form of bread and wine. It is called: – The Holy Communion, The Lord’s Table, The flesh and blood of Christ, The Eucharist Types in the Old Testament The offerings which Melchisedec offered. For the first and last time in Old Testament it was said that there were offerings of bread and wine. “And Melchisedec king of Salem brought froth bread and wine: and he was the Priest of the most high God.” (Gen. 14:18) For this reason it was said of our Lord “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5:6,10; 7:17) The Passover which the children of Israel offered on the night of their going out of Egypt, and which they used to offer ever year. “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. “ (1 Cor. 5:7) “The next day John seethe Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the World.” (John 1:29) The “Manna” which Israel ate in the wilderness for forth years “Verily, Verily I say unto you. Moses gave you not that bread (manna) from heaven, but my father grivet you the true bread from heaven, “(John 6:32) “This is the bread which came down from heaven now as your fathers did eat manna are dead: he that eaten of this bread shall live forever” (John 6:58) Institution of the Sacrament. It pleased our Lord to institute this sacrament on a very momentous occasion. The Evangelists told us that He instituted it at the approach of the Passover feast which was considered as the greatest feast of the Jews, and was a type of the sacrifice of Himself. It was also instituted directly before His death, and on the night of His passion when He was about to give Himself for the life of the world. “The Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said. Take eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saving. This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me,” (1 Cor. 11:23-25) The Visible Sign. There are two visible signs in this sacrament: (1) the bread & wine (2) the service of mass, especially those prayers through which the Holy Ghost descends upon the bread and wine changing them into the body and blood of the Lord. The bread should be made of pure wheat, and should be leavened, because the sacrament was instituted at a time when all the Jews were using leavened bread. The law ordered that Israel should feast on the evening of the 14th day of the month, and begin to eat unleavened bread at the time of eating the Passover. “And ye shall keep it up till the 14th day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. In the first month, on the 14th day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses, for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel whether he be a stranger or born in the land” (Exodus 12:6, 18,19). But the sacrament was instituted on the 13th day of the month because of the following reasons: It is expressive said that it was “before the feast of the Passover.” (John 13:1) The next morning, after having hands on Jesus, it was said the Jews were preparing themselves to keep the feast. “Then led they Jesus from Caliphs unto the hall of judgment: and it was early, and they themselves went not into the judgment hall lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.” (John 18:28.) “When Pilate therefore heard that saying be brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he said unto the Jews, Behold your King.” (John 19: 13,14) They were preparing themselves for the feast even after the death of Christ on the cross, “The Jews therefore because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day. (For that Sabbath day was an high day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.” (John 19:31) It was the custom that the governor should release unto the people at the feast time a prisoner whom they liked. And Barabas was released accordingly on Friday. The prisoner was generally released before the feast, in order to keep it with his household. It was said of Judas Iscariot “after the sop Satan entered into him. They said Jesus unto him. That thou doest, do quickly. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him. Buy those things that we have need against the feast or that he should give something to the poor.” (John 13: 27-29) This shows that on Thursday the feast has not yet begun; because one has to buy things for the feast before and not on the same say of after. But the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the bread should be unleavened, because it was said: “Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto Him, where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover. And He said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover. “(Matt. 26: 17-19) As it is clear from the previous verses that the feast was on Saturday, it is impossible to find a verse contradicting the other. The reason for this seeming contradiction is that the feast was on Saturday, and the lamb was to be slain on the evening of Friday (the 14th day). The 14th day was called the Passover, and the unleavened seven days were to begin at the evening of this 14th day. The Jews used to consider the day beginning from the evening of the previous day; thus Friday begins from Thursday evening. When St. Matthew and St. Mark said that the Lord instituted this sacrament on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, they meant to say that He instituted it on Friday (which began on the evening of Thursday) the feast of Passover, which was to be followed by the seven days of unleavened bread and which was often called the first day of the unleavened bread (Luke 22:7) Moreover, most commentators affirm that this sacrament was instituted on the 13th day of the month, i.e. before the Passover, or rather before the first day of the unleavened bread. John Chryksostom says: “The Evangelist in saying ‘Then came the day of unleavened bread when the Passover must be killed’ does not mean that it had already come but that it was at hand, and refers to the beginning of that day, because every day begins at the previous evening.”.In interpreting Mat. 26:17 “Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus saying unto him, where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover? “ we have arrived at the Thursday in the Holy week, Nisan 13th. The festival actually began at sunset of the 14th, which we called the day of preparation, because the lambs of the feast were slain in the afternoon of that day, preparatory to their being eaten before the morning of the 15th. Domestic preparation began on the 13th, hence this was considered (the first day of unleavened bread).” And Adam Clarke, in his commentary, states : “As the feast of unleavened bread did not begin till the day after the Passover, the 15th day of the month, this could not have been properly the first day of that feast; but as the Jews began to eat unleavened bread on the 14th (Ex. 12:18), this day was often termed the first day of the unleavened bread. The Evangelists use in this sense, and call even the paschal day by this name. See Mark 14: 12; Luke 22: 7” In addition to all this it is worth mentioning that the Bible states in every place that our Lord”took bread and blessed it.“ (Matt. 26: 26); (Mark 14: 22; Luke 22: 19: 1 Cor. 11: 23; etc. etc.) It was never said in the Bible that He took unleavened bread. And the wine should be: Very pure, The fruit of the vine. “And he took the cup, and gave thanks and gave it to them, saying Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the New Testament, which the shade for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Mixed with water, because the Lord thus used it (Orders of the Apostles 8: 22) and because it resembles, in this way, the blood and water that came out of the Lord’s side (John19: 32) The Invisible Grace. We partake of the flesh blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We get the spiritual foodwhich helps us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. For my flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink indeed.” (John 6: 35,55). We receive remission of sins, “And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. “(Matt: 26: 27,18) We abide in Christ, and Christ abides in us, “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” (John 6: 56) We get Holy Fellowship; with Christ Himself, with our fellow worshippers and with all the Church on earth, with the saints around the throne of God, with the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven. The Holy Communion tells us that God’s salvation comes to us in fellowship with our fellow men. This is not truly understood an individual act of worship, but the common meal of the family of God, our father. “For we being many are one bread, and one body, for we all partakes of that one bread.“ (1 Cor. 10: 17) We are given true life in this world. Unless the branch abides in the vine, it cannot have life, “Then Jesus said unto them, verily. Verily I say unto you, except ye ea the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood ye have no life in you. He that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6: 53, 57) We are given eternal life, “Whose eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. He that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” (John 6: 54,58) The Change of Bread & Wine We believe that, after prayer, the bread and wine are spiritually changed into the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. For this reason we do not look at mere bread and mere wine on the altar, but we truly look at the body and blood of the Lord under the forms of bread and wine. The church Fathers said in the respect: “We believe that our Lord Jesus is present in this sacrament, not in type or by way of granting his grace, as in the case of other sacraments, but He is truly and actually present. For this reason the bread is changed after prayer into the Lord’s very body which was born at Bethlehem from the Virgin Mary, baptized at Jordan, suffered, buried and rose from the dead, Likewise, the wine is changed into the very blood of the Lord which was shed on the cross.” The way of the Lord’s presence is by changing he bread and wine into His blessed body and precious blood. But some Protestants say that we take the bread and wine as a mere memorial service in remembrance of the Lord’s sufferings and death. In reply we have to refer: To the Bible. All that is mentioned in the Bible regarding this sacrament supports our doctrine. The Jews to whom the Lord was speaking about the living bread took His words literally. When they heard Jesus saying “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world,” (John 6: 51) they began to strive among themselves saying “How can this man give as His flesh to eat?” (v.52) Had they been mistaken in taking His words literally, the Lord would have told them the true sense, which He meant. But, contrary to this, He began to repeat the same teaching more powerfully and more clearly: Then Jesus said unto them Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, he have not life in you. Whose eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed,” (vv, 53-55) And the disciples also, taking the master’s words literally, and being unable to understand the possibility of eating the Lord’s flesh and drinking His blood, began to murmur saying “ this is an hard saying; who can here it?” But the Savior began to convince them of the reality of that teaching, and said to them; “Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?” (vv. 61, 62) When the Lord gave the Holy Communion to His Disciples, He “took bread, and blessed it and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take eat this is my body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying. Drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the New Testament.” (Matt. 26: 26-28) There was no need for the Lord to speak at that time in parables or proverbs, as it was His last day with them, and He had to open to them all His heart, and speak to them very simple and clear words, “His Disciples said unto Him, Lo, now speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.” (John 16: 26) St. Paul says: “ The cup of blessing, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (1 Cor.10: 16) Then He repeats the same words used by the Savior when He instituted the sacrament. “For I have received of the Lord which also I deliver unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread and when He had given thanks, he break it, and said Take eat; this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. And after the same manner also He took the cup, when he had supped, saying This cup is the new testament in my blood, this do ye as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. Wherefore whosoever shall et this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” (1 Cor.11: 23-27) These are quite clear words showing that whenever we take the Holy Communion we partake of the body and blood of the savior. To the decisions of the early synods The Council of Nicaca reported: “We should not look at the bread and cup on the holy table as if they were mere bread and cup on the holy table as if they were mere bread and wine, but we must lift up the mind beyond the sense, and perceive by faith that the lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world rests here, slain by the priests, and that they are partaking of the very body of the Lord and His very blood.” The 3rd world council held at Ephesus confirmed the message of St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, which ran as follows; “We admit that the only begotten Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, died in body, we confess His resurrection and ascension to heavens, and we offer in the churches the un bloody sacrifice. Thus e approach the blessed sacraments, and we are sanctified when we partake of the blessed body of Jesus Christ our Savior and His precious blood.” And the seventh Council asserts that “the un bloody sacrifice which is offered in remembrance of the sufferings of the Savior and the blessed incarnation was never called by anyone of the Holy Apostles or the forefathers, the form of Christ’s body, neither were they taught to proclaim the same, but they heard Him saying ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. “He did not say ‘the form of my body’. Neither the Lord nor the Apostles spoke of the form of Christ’s body and blood, but they spoke of the very body and the very blood. Whenever they are spoken of as bread and wine this is as concerning them before prayer.” The writings of the early fathers. Clement, Dionisius and Cyril of Alexandria; Macarius and Cyril of Jerusalem; John Chrysostom, Gregory, Basil and many others all of them affirmed that the bread and wine are spiritually changed after prayer into the very body and the very blood of the Lord. Justin and Irenacus attribute to the Logos he operative power by which the elements become the Body and Blood Christ, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Athanasius assert that the spiritual content of the Eucharist is indentifid with the Logos. This idea finds expression in one of the ancient Egyptian liturgies, when the Logos is invoked to come upon the bread that it may become the Body of the Logos. The writings of the Protestants themselves. 1. Calvin, one of their most prominent leaders, said; “If any one inquire of me respecting the manner, I shall not be ashamed to acknowledge that it is a mystery too sublime for me to be able to express or even to comprehend; and to be still more explicit, I rather experience it than understand it. Here, therefore, without any controversy, I embrace the truth of God, on which I can safely rely; He pronounces His flesh to be the food, and His blood the drink, of my soul. I offer my soul to him to be nourished with such aliment.” Martin Luther, the great leader of the protestants, said: “Christ said, this is my flesh, and we can do nothing better than to respect His words”. The Scottish Confession of 1560 of the Presbyterian Church, says, “So that we confess and undoubtedly believe that the faithful in the right use of the Lord’s Table do so eat the body, and drink the blood of the Lord Jesus, the He remaineth in them, and they in Him; yea, they are so made flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone”. (The “Holy Communion, by David Cairns & others P.75) The Holy Communion As a Sacrifice We believe that this sacrament is a un bloody sacrifice offered for our salvation. This we can prove from the following: When instituting the sacrament, our Lord said: “This is my blood which is given (sacrificed) for you. This cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you.” (Luke 22: 19,20) St. Paul, in his comparison between the sacrifices and altar of the gentiles, and the Christian scarifies and altar (1 Cor.10: 18-21) gives the proof that the Holy Communion is offered on the altar as a true sacrifice. And in Heb. 13:10 refers also to the Christian altar. This sacrifice of the New Testament was foretold in the Old Testament: “From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the gentiles and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering (or “sacrifice as in other translations) for my name shall be great among the heathen saith the Lord of hosts.” (Mall. 1: 11) It is clear that the Prophet speaks here about a new sacrifice, which had to be offered in the Gospel time. When interpreting this verse the Pulpit Commentary says. “The Fathers and mediaeval writers, and many modern commentators, see in this verse a prophecy of the Holy Eucharist, the pure offering commemorative of Christ’s sacrifice, which is found in every nation under heaven where the name of Christ is adored.” The Council of Nicaea called the Holy Communion un bloody sacrifice: “Neither the Lord, nor the apostles, nor the fathers called the holy un bloody sacrifice a sign but they always called it the very flesh and the very blood of the Lord.” In Ch. 14 of the Didache or teaching of the Twelve Apostles it is said that the worship should be preceded by a confession of sins. “That your sacrifice may be pure.” This sacrifice is identified with “the pure offering” of Malachi 1: 11, (The Early History of the Liturgy by J.H. Srawley p.21) All Church Fathers called it sacrifice. For instance Irenacus, in his work “Adversus Haereses” written about A. D. 180, made several references to the Eucharist. The various titles under which he alludes to it are “Eucharist”, “the oblation of the Church”, “the new oblation of the new covenant”, “the pure sacrifice” (in reference to Mal. 1:11) (“The Early History of the Liturgy” by J. H. Srawley P. 35,36) When speaking about the Holy Communion in the Anglican Church, one of her men said: – The sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross is made present and contemporary by the consecration of the elements (bread and wine); this is wholly and entirely God’s gift of grace to man.” (“The Holy Communion” by David Cairns and others, P. 64). In “The Manual of Worship” of the “United Presbyterian Church of North America” it is said (P. 81) “It is solemn moment when standing at the altar the minister says, Let us pray”. If then there is an altar, there must be a sacrifice. This sacrifice is the same with that which was offered on the Cross. John Chrysostom says: “Our great High priest offered the sacrifice which purifies us. Since then we also offer this same sacrifice.” The differences between this sacrifice and that which was offered on the Cross are: Our Lord offered a visible sacrifice on the cross while in the Holy Communion He offers and invisible one under the form of bread and wine. On the Cross He offered a bloody sacrifice through shedding His blood, in the Holy Communion He offers an un bloody sacrifice, because “knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” (Rom. 6:9) On the Cross-the sacrifice was offered for all the race of man once only, and in one place, but the unbloody sacrifice is offered continuously, in every place on earth and only for those who receive it in faith. Who has the Right to celebrate this? Sacrament. Our Lord gave this right to the Apostles when He told them “This do in my remembrance.” (Luke 22: 19) And the Apostles gave it to their successors, the bishops. But because Christianity was soon spread, the bishops could not go to all towns and villages to celebrate the sacrament. For this reason they gave the right to the priests. The deacons can only help the bishops and priests. The laity are strictly forbidden to celebrate. Who has the Right to Partake of the Holy Communion. All baptized persons have the right to partake. It was the custom, in the previous centuries for all believers to take the Holy Communion every week, bearing in mind the words of the Lord: “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” (John 6:53, 56) For this reason it is very essential that every Christian should take the Holy Communion from time to time, at least once or twice or three times a year, if not every week. But before taking the Holy Communion the believer must prepare himself for it beforehand. “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” (1 Cor. 11: 28, 29) And as the babies are all owed to receive baptism they should also be allowed to take the Holy Communion, in order not to be deprived of this food of the spirit. And we must take both the body and the blood. But the Church of Rome gives only the body. In reply we state the following: 1. When the Lord gave His disciples the Holy Communion, He gave them both the body and the blood. More over when giving the cup, He expressly ordered that all of us should drink of it. “Drink ye all of it.” (Matt 26:27) Whenever the Holy Communion is spoken of in the Bible both the body and the blood are mentioned. All the church fathers said that both the body and the blood were given to the believers since the first century. When the flesh is divided and given to the believers, we believe that every part of it, even the smallest part is the perfect body of the Lord: and so also is the case with the blood. We also believe that once the bread and wine are changed they remain to become the flesh and the blood till they are completely consumed. But some Protestants think that what is left over after the Holy Communion has been received can be dispensed with as something of no importance. Rev. Marcos Daoud, The Orthodox Church Sacraments,
THE SACRAMENT OF THE UNCTION OF THE SICK
Definition Unction of the sick is the sacrament through which the priest anoints the body of the sick, asking for divine grace to care both body and soul. The difference between this sacrament and that of penance is that the latter is administered for all Christians and for healing spiritual diseases; while the first is administered only for the sick and for healing bodily and spiritual diseases. There are some who think that St. James mentioned this unction as an ordinary means of healing diseases. In reply we state the following: Had it been an ordinary means of healing diseases it would have been said that anyone could anoint with oil. But St. James says that it is the priests who should anoint. And the healing power is not attributed to the oil but to the prayer: “ Let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick.” Moreover, it is said, directly after that: “And if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. “This forgiveness can never be granted through mere oil. Others say that it was a healing gift given only to the Apostles. In answer it is sufficient to say that St. James speaks of this unction not as a special privilege given to the Apostles but as a sacrament to be always administered b the priests. The Church of Rome calls this sacrament “Extreme (or last) Unction” on the basis that it is administered to the sick only when they are at the point of death. This is utterly wrong because the Bible speaks of it as a means of healing, and not as helping the sick at the point of death. Institution of the Sacrament. This sacrament was instituted by the Lord Himself: Because it was said of the Apostles that “they cast out many devils and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.” (Mark 6: 13) It is of course to be understood that they, having been sent by the Lord for that first mission, were instructed by Him to do the same. And St. James, in his Epistle, says (5: 14, 15) “Is any sick man among you? Let him call for the elders (priests) of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” It should be taken for granted that the Apostles did not preach a gospel of their own, but that which they received from the Lord Himself. “But I certify you, brethren that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For (neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 1:11, 12) Therefore, St. James must have received that teaching directly from the Lord Himself. Moreover, the Disciples did not pretend to have instituted the church sacraments (mysteries), but they merely called themselves “Stewards of the mysteries of God,” (1 Cor. 4:1) And it was not clearly and definitely mentioned in the Bible that Christ instituted this sacrament or some other sacraments, it was because many things were done by Him and were not written. (John 21: 25) The Fathers said that it was used as a church sacrament since the first centuries. Even the Protestant historians stated that “when the early Christians were seriously sick, they used to call the Priests of the church, and after confessing their sins they were anointed with oil by them.” The Visible Sign There are two outward signs in this sacrament: The oil with which the sick person is anointed. Before using it for anointing the sick, it should be consecrated through certain prayers. The prayers which are offered to God for healing the sick. There are certain prayers seven in number, prepared by the church for this sacrament. In addition to these prayers, certain portions of the Bible are also read. The Invisible Grace. The invisible grace which is granted through this sacrament is the healing of body and soul. Who has the Right to Celebrate the Sacrament? Although this right was given to priests, yet of course the bishops can celebrate the sacrament if they like. But it was given 10 priests because they are in direct contact with the congregation.
THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY
Definition. The Sacrament of matrimony is the holy service through which the bridegroom and the bride are united together and given the divine grace, which sanctifies their matrimonial union, makes it perfect and spiritual like the unity of Christ and the church. This sacrament is of a very great importance, in it not only the lives of two persons, but the home; the state, the Church and the kingdom of God are deeply involved. It is not a sacrament to be regarded lightly or performed thoughtlessly and in discriminately. Institution of the Sacrament There is no doubt that matrimony was instituted by God Himself at the creation of the world. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He them; male and female created He them, and God said to them. Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Genesis 1: 27, 28) When speaking of the creation of Eve, the Bible reports that God brought her unto the man. (Gen. 2: 22) In the New Testament Christ confirmed this sacrament: By attending the marriage feast at Cana of Galilee (John 2) By His reaching. When answering the questions of the Pharisees who came unto Him. Tempting Him, and saying unto Him “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” His answer was “Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife and thay twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, lt not man put asunder.” (Matt. 19: 4-6) some church fathers were of the opinion that Christ instituted this sacrament in the 40 days during which He used to appear to His disciples, after His resurrection and speak of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God (Acts 1: 3) Ends of Marriage There are three ends of marriage. (1) Preservation and growth of mankind. “male and female He created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Gen. 1: 27,28) The growth of mankind tends of course to the growth of the church. Mutual help between husband and wife. “And the Lord said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him: (Gen. 2: 18) After the fall of man and the entering of sin to the world there arose another end. I.e. that marriage might help to keep man and woman from the temptation of carnal lusts, “Now concerning the things whereof you wrote unto me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. I say therefore to the unmarried and windows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot, let them marry, for it is better to marry an to burn.” (1 Cor. 7:1-9) The Outward Sign. There are three outward signs in this sacrament: The declaration of the bridegroom and the bride in front of the church that they wish- by their own free will-to be married to each other, and that each will be loyal to the other till the end of life. The matrimonial service which the priest performs, and through which he asks for the divine grace for the bridegroom and the bride. The oil with which the bridegroom and the bride are anointed at the time of matrimonial service. The Invisible Grace. The function of this sacrament is: To sanctify the matrimonial union and make it a spiritual one. “Matrimony is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled.” (Heb. 13: 4) “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that everyone …. You should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor.” (1 Thess. 4: 3,4) To help the husband and wife to keep themselves united together and unseparated, just as they unity of Christ with the church is everlasting. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matt. 19: 6) To keep the husband and wife loyal and faithful to each other. Obligations of the Husband & Wife Before marriage Both should be Christians, because Christ’s grace cannot be given to non-Christians, whether in this sacrament or other sacraments. 2. Both should belong to the Orthodox Church. If any of them does not, he or she should first join that church. They should not be connected together with a carnal or spiritual affinity which prevents their marriage. Each should be willing to get married with the other. The desire of parents is not sufficient. The priest should ask each of them privately and openly whether he or she agrees to be married to the other. At Marriage:- Since matrimony is one of the church sacraments, marriage should be through the church. It is the duty of the priests to teach their congregation that every marriage should be in the church, and that the church does no allow any marriage performed outside it. After Marriage:- The husband should have only one wife, and the wife should have only one husband. “And He answered and said unto them, ,have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female and said. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife; and the twain shall be one flesh.” (Matt. 19:4, 5) If either of them dies, the other can marry. “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives, but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:39) They can never separate but for one reason, i.e. fornication. “They are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together let no man put asunder whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery; and whose married her which is put away doth commit adultery.” (Matt. 19: 6,9) Therefore none is allowed to leave his wife for any other reason. Who has the Right to Celebrate the Sacrament. This right is given to priests. Bishops can also celebrate the sacrament. Rev. Marcos Daoud, The Orthodox Church Sacraments,
THE SACRAMENT OF THE HOLY ORDERS
Definition. “Holy Orders” is the sacrament through which the clergy are ordained to celebrate the various church services. Some Protestants say that Christ did not distinguish anyone in His church, and that all the members are the same, and that there is no need for separating special persons as ministers. This is utterly wrong, because of the following reasons: (1) Christ set apart special persons as Apostles, and spent a whole night before choosing them. “And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all nigh in prayer to God. And when it was day He called unto Him His disciples: and of them He chose twelve whom also He named Apostles.” (Luke 6:12, 13) He gave them special privileges which were not given to others e. g . He said to them “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt, 18:18) When sending them before His ascension He promised them to be with them “ even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20) This promise is of course taken to be valid for their successors also. When Judas dropped out of the number of the Apostles, they me together, spent some time in discussion and prayer, and chose another to fill this vacancy. (Acts 1:15-26). Had it not been necessary that there should be certain persons set apart for God’s service, they would not have taken the trouble of appointing another one instead of Judas. Were all Christians of the same degree, they could perform the same services in the church. But a careful study of the Bible specially the “Acts”, shows that the clergy had their own duties which the laity could not dare to perform, and that every category of the clergy had its own duties which could not be performed by another category. For instance when Philip preached in Samaria, he, being a deacon, had not the right to lay on his hands for granting the gift of the Holy Ghost. For this reason the Church of Jerusalem “sent unto them Peter and John, who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. Then laid they the hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (Acts 8-17) The Bible appointed certain conditions which should be observed when choosing the bishops, and other conditions when choosing the deacons. (1 Tim. 3; Tit. 1) And the Bible also appointed certain procedures for the ordination of the clergy; e.g. the laying on of hands. (1 Tim. 4. 14) All historians agree that there have been certain ministers in the church since the first century. All the churches that were instituted at the first century keep lists of their bishops since their beginning. Institution of the Sacrament. This sacrament was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It was he who appointed the twelve Apostles and the seventy disciples. It was He who sent the Apostles in to the world before His ascension. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt. 28: 19,20) St Paul says that it was Christ Himself who appointed some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers (Eph. 4: 11) And when giving advice to the ministers of the Church of Ephesus he said to them, “Take heed therefore, unto yourselves and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers” (Acts 20: 38) And according to the power given to them by the Lord those Apostles appointed bishops, priests and deacons in the churches which they established as will be seen afterwards. The Visible Sign. There are two visible sings: The laying on of hands. The Bible stated that this was performed in the case of bishops (1 Tim. 4: 14; 2 Tim. 1: 6), and priests (1 Tim. 5: 22) and deacons (Acts 6: 6) The prayers of consecration. (Acts 6: 6; 14:23) The invisible Grace. The ordained minister is given a divine gift appropriate to the service to which he is called. “Neglect not the gift that in thee; which was given thee by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” (1 Tim. 4: 14) “Therefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” (2 Tim. 1: 6) This gift is given by the Holy Ghost who alone can help the minister to perform his duties. Degrees of the Holy Orders. The Bible mentions three degrees; the bishop, the priest and the deacon, The Bishop. This is the highest degree. In 1 Tim. 3: Tit 1 and other places the Bible gives detailed instructions for the choice of bishops. The bishop is given the following rights:- Ordination of the clergy. It was the Apostles who consecrated bishops (2 Tim. 1:6), and ordained priests (Acts 14: 23) and deacons (Acts 6: 3,6) And the bishops, whom the Apostles consecrated, were given that right of ordination. St. Paul, writing to Titus, said: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are waiting, and ordain elders (priests) in every city, as I had appointed thee.” (Tit. 1:5) And, when writing to Timothy, he said; “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins.” (1 Tim. 5: 22) Trial of the clergy and rebuking them. “Against an elder (priest) receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” (1 Tim. 5: 19, 20) Consecration of the Holy Oil used for the sacrament of confirmation. Consecration of the altar and the Holy vessels in the case of building a new church, or getting new vessels. They also have the right to celebrate all the church sacraments and rites if they like. Management of the general affairs of the church. The Priest: Priests are mentioned in many places of the Bible. “They ordained them elders (priests) in every church.” (Acts 14: f23) “Let the elders (priests) that rule well be counted worthy of double honour.” (1 Tim. 5: 17) “For this cause left I thee in Crete that thou shouldest set in order the things that are waiting, and ordain elders priests in every city, as I had appointed thee. (Tit. 1: 5) “ Is any sick man among you: let him call for the elders (priests) of the church, and let them pray over him. Anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:14) The priest has the right to celebrate the six sacraments mentioned above, and all church rights . He has also the right to teach and preach. The Deacon: Deacons are mentioned in the Bible in Acts 6: 3-6 Phil. 1: 1, 1 Tim. 3 A deacon has not the right to celebrate any of the church sacraments, but only to help the priest and the bishop in celebrating them, keep good order in the church, read the various portions of the Bible in the church, teach, preach and perform any service which the bishop or the priest may ask him to do. It was said in the “Orders of the Apostles” that “the deacon is the bishop’s eyes and ears”. In the former times there was a degree of “deaconess.” Her function was to serve the women in the Church, keep good order in the place allowed for them in the church and anoint the bodies of women at the sacrament of confirmation after being anointed by the priest only on their forheads. (Didaskalia 34) “No woman is allowed to come to the bishop to ask for anything unless she is accompanied by a deaconess.” (Didaskalia 6) “If there is any need for the bishop to send anyone to the women’s houses, he should send a deaconess, because it is not lit to send a deacon.” (Didaskalia 34) It seems that this degree existed in the church at the Apostolic time, St. Paul, writing to the Romans, said “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant for “deaconess” as in other copies and other versions) of the church which is at Canchrea”. (Romans 16: 1) And when writing to Timothy he said, “Let not a widow be taken into the number (into the list) under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.” (1 Tim. 5: 9) some think that the Apostle mans here the list of those who were deaconesses in the church. Ordination of the Clergy A bishop is consecrated by the laying on of the hands of at least three bishops, because one bishop alone cannot consecrate a bishop. A priest or a deacon is ordained by the laying on of hands of only one bishop. Ordination can never be repeated for the same degree if the bishop, priest or deacon was previously ordained in a legal way. In the Apostolic Canons it is stated that “if any bishop, priest or deacon is re ordained for the same degree, he will become worthy of excommunication together with him who ordained him.” No money should be paid at all for the ordination of any one of the three degrees. When Simon offered money for the sake of obtaining one of God’s gifts. St. Peter rebuked him saying “thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” (Acts 8: 18-20) The church teachers that every ordination performed against any payments is illegal, and that the bishop who accepts any money should be excommunicated. Obligations of the Clergy Before ordination. Those who are chosen for the holy orders must be: Sure that the call came to them from God. “No man taketh this honour of the holy orders) unto himself but he that is called of God as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5: 4) Blameless, in order to be good examples to the congregation. ST. Paul wrote to Timothy saying: “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Tim. 4: 12) In 1 Tim. 3, and Tit. 1, St. Paul mentioned many conditions which should be taken into consideration when choosing bishops and deacons. Well acquainted with the Bible and church teachings. After ordination. They should serve not as hired men who work merely to get their wages. “Feed the flock of God which is among you taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.” (1 Pet. 5:2) “He that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.” (John 10:12) But they should be good shepherds, full of deep feeling that the sheep are theirs, and that they are responsible for keeping them from beasts and for feeding them. They should also know that the good shepherd must be ready to offer any sacrifice that may be needed for the sake of the sheep. “The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) The Orthodox Church Sacraments Rev. Marcus Daoud PART-III THE ISSUE BETWEEN MONOPHYSITISM AND DYOPHYSITISM The Ethiopian Orthodox Church considers itself to belong to the One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ. It is holy because its founder, Jesus Christ, is holy; it is catholic because the whole world is its province and because it is universal in time and place; it is apostolic because it was established on earth by the apostles of Christ. The Ethiopian Church belongs to the group of Orthodox Churches wrongly termed "Monophysites" but which prefer the epithet "Non-Chalcedonian". The other members of this family are the Coptic, Armenian, Syrian and Indian Churches. Together with the Roman Catholic Church and the Byzantine Orthodox Church they comprised the One Church for four centuries until the division arose on account of the Council of Chalcedon in 451 which insisted that Christ had the two natures of humanity and divinity. Dyophysites teach that, after the union, Christ retained the natures of divinity and humanity in His one Person in such a way that He ate food, slept, laughed, suffered, walked as man in the human nature, but healed the sick and resuscitated Lazarus as God in the divine nature. Thus He is one Person in two natures of humanity and divinity. The wrongly called Monophysites reject the allegation that they teach one Nature and one Person in Christ. The teaching of the Ethiopian Church may thus be summarized: The Ethiopian Church rejects Eutyches, who is believed to have taught that in Christ the human Nature was absorbed by the divine Nature. Nestorius also is excluded. Dioscorus, whom the Council of Chalcedon deposed, is accepted. But it should be remembered that the Council of 451 did not believe that Dioscorus was a heretic. Dioscorus did not deny the continuance of Godhead and manhood in the One Christ after their union and he agreed with the Council that the teaching which Eutyches was understood to hold was heretical. The teaching of the Ethiopian Church is the faith of the Fathers expounded by the great theologians of the Alexandrine tradition, especially by St. Cyril and his illustrious theological followers. Accordingly the Ethiopian Church maintains that Christ is perfect God and perfect man, at once consubstantial with the Father and with us; the divinity and the humanity continuing in Him without mixture or separation, confusion or change. He is one and the same person both in his eternal pre-existence and also in the economy, in which he performs the redeeming work of God on behalf of man, from the indivisible state of union of Godhead and manhood. The Church abides by the formula "The one Incarnate Nature of God the Word", on which St. Cyril of Alexandria increasingly insisted, a formula which was accepted as correct by the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D and which, after the Council of Chalcedon, the Chalcedonian side in the East itself admitted. It is unfair for the Church to be nicknamed "Monophysites" by the faithful who accept the Chalcedonian formula of "two Natures in the one Person of Jesus Christ", because the expression used by the non-Chalcedonian side was always miaphysis, and never Monophysis (mia standing for a composite unity unlike mone standing for an elemental unity). Therefore these churches are best referred to as the non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches. "Tewahido" is the Ethiopian term (meaning "made one") which is the best expression conveying the faith of the Church, since it emphasizes the inseparable unity of the Godhead and manhood in the Person of Christ. The Church's official title is "The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Bete Christian." After the Union, Christ was no longer in two natures. The two natures became united into one nature without separation, without confusion and without change. Thus He was at the same tithe perfect God and perfect man. This is the union of the natures in the Incarnation. After the union Christ is not two persons or two natures. but one Person, one incarnate Nature of God the Son, with one will, but being at once divine and human. If you separate the natures after the union and say that Christ is in two natures, you will be confronted with serious problems. You will have to admit, for instance, that Christ was crucified merely as a man and that therefore he did not redeem the world, for God alone is able to accomplish the world's redemption. In brief, it is held that Christ, in acting, acted as a united being, not separately as man or separately as God. Proof that we believe in the continuance of divinity and humanity in the One Christ may be illustrated: In the Communion we receive the very body and blood of Jesus Christ. These belong to man, humanity, and we know that Jesus Christ is God, divinity. The present Liturgy can be used as a criterion of the Church. There it is openly expressed that there is divinity and humanity in Christ. The Chalcedonian formula was rejected because it was thought to destroy the one person of Christ and there was no clear distinction between "nature" and "person", person meant nature. We believe the Nicean Creed in which the divinity and humanity of Christ are set forth, and in the Creed of the liturgy we declare our belief in the co-equality of Jesus Christ with God the Father, and belief in his having grown like men, yet without sin or evil, and in his having taken flesh from Mary. e) The confession of Faith by the Emperor Claudius declares that Jesus Christ was perfect man and perfect God. Monophysitism is rejected. It is a question of error in vocabulary, the concepts of Nature and Person not being clear and there being obscurity in philosophical terms such as physis, hypostasis, ausia, prosopon, atreptos, mia, mono etc. As to the two natures of Christ the Dyophysites and non-Chalcedonians are one, it is a matter of interpretation after the union of the two natures. Happily the Dyophysites are currently realizing the position. FUNDAMENTAL DOGMAS IN THE NICAEAN CREED The following is the Creed said in the Mass, called "Amakniyo of the Apostles", the one which the Apostles gave in Jerusalem: – "We believe in one God, Maker of all creation, Father of our Lord and our God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, because his nature is unsearchable. As we have before declared (i.e. in Didascalia), he is without beginning and without end, but he is ever living, and he has light which is never extinguished, and he can never be approached. He is not two or three, and no addition can be made to him; but he is only one, living for ever, because he is not hidden that he cannot be known, but we know him perfectly through the law and the prophets, that he is almighty and has authority over all the creation. One God, Father of our Lord and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who was begotten before the creation of the world, the only begotten Son coequal with him, creator of all the hosts, the principalities and the dominions: Who in the last days was pleased to become man, and took flesh from our Lady Mary, the holy Virgin, without the seed of man, and grew like men yet without sin or evil; neither was guile found in his mouth. Then he suffered, died in the flesh, rose from the dead on the third day, ascended unto heaven to the Father who sent him, sat down at the right hand of Power, sent to us the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father, and saved all the world, and who is co-eternal with the Father and the Son. We say further that all the creatures of God are good and there is nothing to be repented of, and the spirit, the life of the body, is pure and Holy in all. And we say that marriage is pure and childbirth is undefiled because God created Adam and Eve to multiply. We understand further that there is in our body a soul which is immortal and does not perish with the body. We repudiate all the works of heretics and all schisms and transgression of the law, because they are for us impure. We also believe in the resurrection of the dead, the righteous and sinners; and in the Day of Judgment, when everyone will be recompensed according to his deeds. We also believe that Christ is not in the least degree inferior because of his incarnation, but he is God the Word who truly became man, and reconciled mankind to God being the High Priest of the Father. Henceforth let us not be circumcised like the Jews. We know that he who had to fulfil the law and the prophets has already come. To him, for whose coming all people looked forward, Jesus Christ, who is descended from Judah, from the root of Jesse, whose government is upon his shoulder: to him be the glory, thanksgiving, greatness, blessing, praise, song, both now and ever and world without end, Amen." RELATIONS WITH ORTHODOX CHALCEDONIAN CHURCHES Even though the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in some respects differs from the Orthodox Chalcedonies Churches and has no canonical communion with them, it has always maintained a sense of unity with them; the origin after all is the same, Emperor Constantine wrote a letter in 356 A.D in which he addressed the king of Ethiopia Ezana and his brother “my precious brothers”. The Roman Emperor Justin asked Caleb to help the oppressed Christians in the Yemen in the sixth century. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century the Chalcedonies Orthodox Church made efforts for the progress of the Ethiopian monks. Emperor Yohannes invited the Russian Church to send missionaries to the country. Representatives of the Greek, Russian, Rumanian and Yugoslavian Churches have repeatedly visited the Church. Recently the Russian Orthodox Church assisted the St. Paul’s school for church students by offering equipment of a Physics Laboratory. Scholarships have been made available for ecclesiastical studies in these churches. Publications are regularly exchanged. In turn the Ethiopian Church sends missions and delegations to these Churches and takes an active part in the conferences organized for the benefit common to Orthodoxy. In her relations with the Chalcedonies Orthodox Churches the Ethiopian Church will continue to proceed from the desire to “keep unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. (Eph. 4: 3). Ethiopian Students are sent to Greece, Russia and Rumania for higher ecclesiastical studies and visits are regularly received and sent. DIALOGUE BETWEEN ORTHODOX CHALCEDONIAN AND NON-CHALCEDONIAN CHURCHES Up to the fifth century Christianity was one. The Nestorians were condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D giving rise to the Nestorian Church Following the Council of Chalcedony in 451 A.D which condemned the so-called Monophysitcs, there arose a division which caused the separation between the Copts, the Ethiopians, the Syrians and the Armenians on the one hand and the Byzantine and Latin body of Churches on the other. In the eleventh century came the Great Schism between the Latinos and the Byzantine when the Byzantine Patriarchies in the East formed what is now known as the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Ethiopian Church has never tended in fuse with one or other of the two great churches of Christianity, the Orthodox and the Catholic. There was a time when fusion with the Catholics nearly materialized in the 17th century as the extraordinary Father Paez, a Spanish Jesuit, succeeded in converting Emperor Susenyos to Roman Catholicism. He tried to force his subjects adopt Catholicism but failed. The Orthodox Church made efforts in the 19th century and did not get better results. Many times it was believed that union was to be achieved. Emperor Menelik, however, was of the opinion that if his Church attached itself to Constantinople or Moscow, it would lose its independence and original characteristics; he refused to sign any formal agreement. The Pan-Orthodox meeting at Rhodes in 1961 considered relationships with the Oriental Orthodox Churches (Armenian, Coptic, Syrian, Ethiopian and Indian) to be one of most urgent matters in the realm of ecumenical relationships. The same had been felt by those Orthodox from both sides who participated in various meetings of the economical movement in the last two decades. Accordingly in 1964 a theological consultation took place at Aarhus, Denmark, between these churches. The purpose of this meeting was to investigate the different theological interpretations regarding the Christological definition of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon. The Eastern Orthodox participants included the very Rev. Archpriest Vitally Borncoy (Russian Orthodox Church). The Rt. Rev, Emilianos (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), Professor J.K. Kariniris (Church of Greece), the Rev. Professor J. Megendorff (Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America). The Oriental Orthodox participants included Lique Siltanat Habte Mariam Workneh (Ethiopian Orthodox Church), Dr. Karma Nazir Khella (Coptic Orthodox Church), His Grace Archbishop Mar Severius Zekke Incas of Mosul (Syrian Orthodox Church), His Grace Metropolitan Mar Thome Dionysus, Pathanapuram Kerala, India (Orthodox Syrian Church of the East), the Rev. Professor V.C. Samuel (Orthodox Syrian Church of the East(, His Grace Bishop Karekin Sarkissian (Armenian Apostolic Church), Dr. Getachew Haile (Ethiopian Orthodox Church). An extraordinary clear agreement was reached concerning the essence of the Christological dogma, something of the greatest importance for other meetings and negotiations between these Churches. This first step was followed by other efforts sponsored by the Holy Synods of the Churches with the hope that in the near future the happy stage of restoring unity in the Orthodox world be reached. It is of interest to note that as very Rev. Archpriest Vitaly Borovoy of WCC for the Russian Orthodox Church has remarked, the question pertaining to the ways and means of an eventual reunion of Christians in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and in particular the reunion of the Oriental national churches which reject the Council of chalcedony with the Orthodox Church which accepts the Council is not new. It appeared at the very initial stages of the schism. Negotiations lasted, with interruptions for entire centuries. It is strongly believed that this time a real henosis dogmatic (love for the truth) will be realized, together with our communion in sacris and a common participation in the life of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, without prejudice to the jurisdictional independence and autocephaly of all our churches, which would keep their national historical characteristics. Edited by Aymero W and Joachim M., The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, published by the Ethiopian Orthodox mission, Addis Ababa 1970.
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