The Ethiopian Church #
Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian countries in the world. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest organized churches in the world, with roots in the 1st century A.D. It counts with about 50 million members.
The church believes in the Trinity and recognizes the Bible as the authoritative source of Christian teachings. The church teaches that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead, and through him we can be saved. The church also teaches that we are saved by grace, not by our own works.
The church has a hierarchical structure, with a Patriarch at the head. The Patriarch is considered the successor of St. Mark, the evangelist who brought Christianity to Ethiopia in the 1st century. The church is organized into dioceses, each headed by a bishop. The bishops are assisted by priests and deacons. The church also has monks and nuns.
The church has its own unique liturgy, which is celebrated in the Ethiopian language of Ge’ez. The church also uses the Ethiopian calendar, which is different from the Western calendar. The church is active in mission work, both in Ethiopia and abroad. The church runs schools, hospitals, and orphanages. The church also engages in relief work, particularly in Ethiopia’s drought-prone regions.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is a member of the World Council of Churches and the All Africa Council of Churches.
Wisdom from the Church Fathers #
The Holy Spirit warns us, and says, “What man is he that desireth to live, and would fain see good days? Refrain thy tongue from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile. Eschew evil, and do good; seek peace, and ensue it” (Psalm 34.12-13). The son of peace ought to seek peace and ensue it. He who knows and loves the bond of charity, ought to refrain his tongue from the evil of dissension. Among His divine commands and salutary teachings, the Lord, when He was now very near to His passion, added this one, saying, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14.27). He gave this to us as an heritage; He promised all the gifts and rewards of which He spoke through the preservation of peace. If we are fellow-heirs with Christ, let us abide in the peace of Christ; if we are sons of God, we ought to be peacemakers. “Blessed,” says He, “are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5.9). It behoves the sons of God to be peacemakers, gentle in heart, simple in speech, agreeing in affection, faithfully linked to one another in the bonds of unanimity.
St Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage
Paradise is the love of God, wherein is the enjoyment of all blessedness, and there the blessed Paul partook of supernatural nourishment. When he tasted there of the tree of life, he cried out, saying, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Adam was barred from this tree through the devil’s counsel. The tree of life is the love of God from which Adam fell away, and thereafter he saw joy no longer, and he toiled and labored in the land of tares. Even though they make their way in righteousness, those who are bereft of the love of God eat in their work the bread of sweat, which the first created man was commended to eat after his fall. Until we find love, our labor is in the land of tares, and in the midst of tares we both sow and reap, even if our seed is the seed of righteousness. We are continually pierced by the tares, and however much we render ourselves righteous, we live by the sweat of our brow. But when we find love, we partake of heavenly bread, and are made strong without labor and toil. This is the nourishment of the angels.
The man who has found love eats and drinks Christ every day and hour and hereby is made immortal. “He that eateth of this bread”, He says, “which I will give him, shall not see death unto eternity.” Blessed is he who consumes the bread of love, which is Jesus! He who eats of love eats Christ, the God over all, as John bears witness, saying, “God is love.” Wherefore, the man who lives in love reaps the fruit of life from God, and while yet in this world, he even now breathes the air of the resurrection; in this air the righteous will delight in the resurrection. Love is the Kingdom, whereof the Lord mystically promised His disciples to eat in His Kingdom. For when we hear Him say, “Ye shall eat and drink at the table of My Kingdom,” what do we suppose we shall eat, if not love? Love is sufficient to nourish a man instead of food and drink. This is the wine “which maketh glad the heart of man.” Blessed is he who partakes of this wine! Licentious men have drunk this wine and became chaste; sinners have drunk it and have forgotten the pathways of stumbling; drunkards have drunk this wine and become fasters; the rich have drunk it and desired poverty; the poor have drunk it have been enriched with hope; the sick have drunk it and become strong; the unlearned have taken it and been made wise.
Repentance is given to man as grace after grace, for repentance is a second regeneration by God. That of which we have received an earnest by baptism, we receive as a gift by means of repentance.
Repentance is the door of mercy, opened to those who seek it.
St. Isaac of Syria