Ethiopian (Ge'ez) Catholic Church

 

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Rite: Alexandrian

Tradition: Ethiopian

Rescension: Ethiopian

Liturgical Form: Ùér’ata Qéddase (Divine Liturgy) of St Basil

Liturgical Language(s): Ge'ez (may include or be supplemented by Amharic)

The Ethiopian (Ge'ez) Catholic Church is a Church sui iuris of Metropolitan status, belonging to the Oriental Catholic Communion. (The parenthetical descriptor 'Ge'ez' is included in its name to distinguish it from the Ethiopian Latin Catholic Church.) The primatial hierarch is His Eminence, the Metropolitan Archeparch of Addis Ababa. In addition to the metropolitan archeparchy, the Church is organized under three eparchies in Ethiopia. In the diaspora, its faithful are canonically subject to the local Latin Ordinary within whose diocesan jurisdiction they reside.

Historically, Christianity in Ethiopia traces to the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch by St Philip, although it did not have an organized presence until the episcopal ordination of St Frumentius (Abune Salama Kesatie Berhan) as its proto-bishop three centuries later. Six centuries of separation from communion with Rome were followed by almost as many centuries during which there were limited and sporadic instances of union, none of which were sustained on an organized basis over the long-term.

The modern-day history of the Ethiopian (Ge'ez) Catholic Church is typically dated from the mid-nineteenth century and the endeavors of Father Justin de Jacobis, CM. Taking an approach radically different from that of the Capuchins and Jesuits whose missions, two centuries prior, had ended disastrously, Father Justin set out to recruit and develop an indigenous clergy. Moreover, he refused to supplant the local liturgical rites with those of the West. The newly-appointed Vicar Apostolic of the region, Bishop Guglielmo Massaia, OFM Cap, agreed with the wisdom of this approach, supported Father Justin in it, and adopted the same stance in his own work.

By the time of Father Justin's repose in 1860, the Abyssinian (later Ethiopian) Catholic Church can be said to exist. Still, it was a century later (1951) before an Apostolic Exarchate was erected and a native hierarchy ordained for Ethiopia.

[The Ethiopian (Ge'ez) Catholic Church formerly encompassed Eritrean Catholics, a distinct ethno-cultural constituency of faithful with whom it shares a common liturgical and spiritual heritage, although each retains linguistic and cultural praxis unique to their respective heritages. In January 2015, Eritrean Catholics were constituted as a distinct Church sui iuris.]

 


Icon: Detail from the iconic mural venerated as the Nine Saints of Ethiopia


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Teachings of Christ

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

Joachiam and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Holy Forefathers

Through faith, O Christ, you justified the Forefathers, * betrothing through them in advance the Church of the gentiles. * The Saints exult in glory, * for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit: * she who gave birth to You without seed. * Through their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us. (Troparion, Tone 2)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You did not honor a hand-depicted image, O thrice-blessed ones, * but defended by the undepicted Being you were glorified in a trial by fire. * And, standing in the midst of unbearable flame, you called upon God: * “Hasten, O Compassionate One, and speed to our help, * for You are merciful and You can do whatever you will.” (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Second Sunday Before Christmas)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Go and have pity on all, for through pity, one finds freedom of speech before God. 

Abba Pambo