Introduction – The Ethiopian Liturgy Explained
This Article is prepared to help children born outside of Ethiopia, or who came at an early age, to understand the Divine Liturgy, and understand the depth of the rite of the Divine Liturgy. It is essential to know the meaning of prayer, before praying. If we just recite prayers, without understanding the meaning of prayer, we would just be saying words, and not feeling the words. Therefore it is essential that we understand the Divine Liturgy, so that we can feel not just the words, but also the angelic and divine presence.
If we understand the Divine Liturgy, we will be spiritually removed from this world, and be immersed in the events of the Christ’s Birth, His journey to Golgotha, His agony on the day of His crucifixion, and His glorious Resurrection. We will feel the presence of angels, the angelic hymns. We will feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the communion with the hosts of
angels in the presence of God. Read more
Weekly services constitute only a small part of an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian’s religious observance. The Kidase (Liturgy) is the Holy Book of the Church containing fourteen Anaphoras.
Several holy days require prolonged services, singing and dancing, and feasting. An important religious requirement, however, is the keeping of fast days. All devout believers are to maintain the full schedule of fasts, comprising 250 days.
- Fast for Hudadi or Abiye Tsome (Lent), 56 days.
- Fast of the Apostles, 10–40 days, which the Apostles kept after they had received the Holy Spirit. It begins after Pentecost.
- The fast Tsome Dihnet, which is on Wednesdays in commemoration of the plot organized to kill Jesus Christ by Caiaphas and the members of the house of the high priest and Fridays in commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ (starts on Wednesday afterPentecost and spans up to Easter, in other words all Wednesdays and Fridays except during 50 days after Easter).
- The fast of Assumption, 16 days.
- The fast preceding Christmas, 40 days (Advent). It begins with Sibket on 15th Hedar and ends on Christmas Eve with the feast of Gena and the 29th of Tahsas and 28th if the year is preceded by leap year.
- The Fast of Nineveh, commemorating the preaching of Jonah. It comes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the third week before Lent.
- The gahad of Timkat(Epiphany), fast on the eve of Epiphany.
In addition to standard holy days, most Christians observe many saints’ days. A man might give a small feast on his personal saint’s day. The local voluntary association (called the maheber) connected with each church honors its patron saint with a special service and a feast two or three times a year. Read more