Ethiopian Orthodox Church is growing, slowly but surely

By Assta B. Gettu

As the Twin Cities (in Minnesota, USA) have graciously welcomed you to settle among their communities peacefully, and in these blessed localities the Trios -– the St. Luke Lutheran Church, the St. George Ukrainian Church, and the St. Mary Greek Orthodox Church -– have also facilitated you until you are able to stand up on your own feet by establishing your own new Church — the Debre Berhan St. Ourael Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. May God help those who helped you all these days!

Living in a foreign country, supporting one’s own family, competing with a new civilization foreign to most of us Ethiopians, and fighting against new culture, and preserving one’s own tradition, religion, and custom is one of the greatest achievements a person can accomplish in his life time.

You, members of the Debre Berhan St. Ourael Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, have been waiting patiently until you find your own worshiping place; now the good Lord in heaven has heard your earnest prayers and given you a place and a church where you can praise him together, you must rejoice fully and be comfortable in your new Church.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church is one of the oldest Christian Churches in the world and has triumphantly crossed many deep and turbulent waters in its long Christian history: the time of Gragn Ahmad, Ate Susinios, Judith-Gudit, Lij Iyasu, and of course the Romans who occupied Ethiopia for five years. The Church bravely fought against such foreign and homegrown invaders.

This unique and glorious Church of ours has been one of the best unifying factors for the survival of the Ethiopian people as a whole: it has marched side by side with its Christian kings, encouraging them spiritually to defend Ethiopia from any hostile enemies and administering Holy Communion for the living and the dying.

It has served its members faithfully by baptizing the Ethiopian children and by blessing the weddings of many Ethiopian young boys and young girls. It has trained thousands of clergies throughout the centuries and passed to us the traditional Church education such as the Yared Zema, the Kine, the Liturgy, the Tirgum, the Kebre Negest, the Geez language, and the Doctrine of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church and many other indispensable Christian books and articles.

Most of the defenders of Ethiopia have been the students of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church whom the Church has trained, cultivated from their childhood until their adulthood. One cannot find in the old days any Ethiopian government official that does not read methehafe-dawit (the Book of Psalm) or does not carry this special book with him wherever he goes.

Therefore, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church has been the training center for many Church and government officials for thousands of years, and the result of its hard work has produced great Ethiopian leaders such as Ate Caleb, Ate Zerayakob, Ate Yukono Amlak, Ate Libne Dingle, Ate Lalibela, Ate Menelik II, Ate Haile Selassie, and many other Ethiopian Christian leaders. It is the dynamic teaching of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church that has taught most of the Ethiopian people civility, hospitality, normality, ethics and faith in the Almighty God.

This Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church has been growing inwardly most of the times; it is now, however, expanding outwardly: the Debre Brhan St. Ourael Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church and many other Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Churches in other countries are good examples.

The recent personal conflict between the legitimate Ethiopian Patriarch Abune Merkorios in exile and Aba Paulos, the usurper of power and the fake Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church at home, helps, in disguise, the Church to expand like the Roman Catholic Church after Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the Castle Church Door helped the new Church expand all over the world.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has been one of the participants of the four well-known Church Councils through the Alexandrian Church –- the mother Church: the Council of Nicaea (325), the council of Constantinople (381), the Council of Ephesus (431), and the Council of Chalcedon (451). Each Council discussed on different issues such as Christ is Divine (Council of Nicaea); the Holy Spirit is Divine (Council of Constantinople); Natural Man is totally depraved (Council of Ephesus); and Christ is human and Divine (Council of Chalcedon).

Out of all these time-consuming doctrinal discussions, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church and the Alexandrian Church firmly assert that Christ has one nature while other Churches believe that Christ has two natures: divine and human, but the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church believes that Christ’s humanity and divinity are united; therefore, Christ has only one nature, not two. It seems such doctrinal controversy that has divided the Church for many years has now died out, and no one cares about the nature of Christ as far as one believes that Christ is the Son of God and the only savior of the world.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church has been very active until Aba Paulos usurped the Patriarchate and created two churches: one at home and one in exile in America.

I’m so happy to hear that the Ethiopian Christian communities in Minnesota are dedicating a new Church on May 16 and 17, 2009, and may the Almighty God bless the dedication of this new Church and may He also bless those who pray in this new Church and listen to their prayers and accept their requests as He kindly accepted King Solomon’s prayer during the Dedication of the Great Temple in Jerusalem.

40 comments on “Ethiopian Orthodox Church is growing, slowly but surely

  1. Mulatu on

    It is hard to accept the fact that Orthodox Church is growing slowly. The numbers don’t support the claim. We all know that the Muslims are growing at faster rate thanks to higher birth rate and the protestant/evangelicals have been growing at the expense of the orthodox church mostly due to their relentless effort spreading the gospel to the young Ethiopians and to the remote villages in the south of Ethiopia.

    Even in the north where the Orthodox church have a strong foot hold, the evangelicals are pushing their belief as it is reported there have started plating churches in Bahir Dar.

  2. Abebe on

    It is false claim instead the orthodox church deminishing where it was four decade ago atleast why poor management, selfishness, lack of transparency and even lack of knowledge.

    So I agree the comment raised in no.2 by Mulatu that the Muslims are the fastest growing and then followed by protestant/evangelicals. That is the truth in the ground.

  3. Anonymous on

    Real growth is spiritual growth. Real growth is maturity in spiritual wisdom and understanding. The strength of the church is not in its buildings and history, but in the depth of the sprit of its members, and whether they are right, today, with the word of God or not.

    The reason the Protestants are growing is that they are well founded in their spiritual life, and that they are committed for the truth of God. So, in order for the Orthodox Church to grow it must stop taking pride in buildings and history, and focus on the right thing and worship God in truth and sprit.

  4. tazabi on

    The words “fighting against new culture” doesn’t seem to be appropriate to the life of Ethiopians as it is obvious and true that we are not fighting against the cultures of our host countries, how often we face problems of different kind and we feel diccontent, I would rather sugest STRUGGLING TO COPE WITH NEW CULTURE.

  5. Tariku on

    I know what you mean, tehadesso? right? There is no reformation what so ever. The church will move on as she was before. We don’t like tegadalai Gebremedehen doesn’t imply the church needs become ortho pente. You may know What brings Luther’s reformation, simply disintegration into pieces. People they come and go but the church was living, is living, and will live intact with her golden, Ethiopian, African, tradition forever. She has been on so many temptations before and she exists unlike her enemies. And today’s generations is trying to destroy her in the name of reformation and our beloved Church will come out from the fire much brighter because She is Gold gift from Our Lord.

  6. Anonymous on

    The Orthodox church is the least to be criticized for not worshiping God in truth and spirit.It indeed preaches the true gospel of Christ, our Lord, since time immomerial.

    Comentator #3 above is hypocritical. I take an isue with his assertion that protestants are well founded in their faith and that is why they are spreading. That is only only partly true….the truth is they are the works of the western protestants who pour their money into the effort of spreading their western interest in the poor nations. The protestants are very selfish, they don’t care about national interest. Look #3 above advising us to stop taking pride in history.

    May God bless the Ethiopian Orthodox church. With God on its side, it will once again prevail against all odds including the protest of protestants.

  7. THE Secularist on

    Religion is for those who do not have other option; I am glad I have an option.
    the secularist

  8. muya belib on

    Congratulations!! I am not a regular churchgoer but I do believe in God and I am more than happy to see the tradition of Ethiopian Orthodox Church that I grew up with is going to continue for the next generation. So many of our Ethiopian culture tied to Ethiopian Orthodox Church when it comes to Timket, Easter, Genna and others; I hope the tradition continues.
    At the same time, as much as I want to see the Church to continue with its tradition, it needs to concentrate on the teachings of Chris and modernize the church. In my life time, I have come across to so many Evangelical Christians who have no clue about the teachings of Ethiopian Orthodox but quick to criticize. For some reason or another they have come to believe that Orthodox Church does not believe in Christ and that Christ has died for our sins and so many have left the Church and join evangelical Churches.

    Recently, I was amazed to read a comment made by an individual who was very sad that Tilhuan Gessesse, who was a member of Ethiopian Orthodox Church died without accepting Christ. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church needs to take these kinds of comments seriously and expand its teachings and practice what you preach.

  9. Anonymous on

    The EOC needs to acknowledge and translate the Bible into the Oromo language to grow and get acceptance among the Oromo and the other ethnic groups in Ethiopia. History depicts that the EOC has never ordained any Oromo or any non-Amhara or non-Tigre ethinic group under the fake false doctrine that shows that if non- Amhara or non-Tigre becomes a priest he/she defiles a church. Today even at the beginning of the 21stC few or no Sidama, Woliyita, Hadiya or Oromo or any except those who claim legitimacy to the EOC is a priest, a decon, or has a leadership in the EOC. I went to Harar, Arsis, Bale, Illubabor, Jimma, SPNN, moved in Showa, Wollega and saw no one preaching in any other language than Amharic with Amhara or Tigre priests. The EOC has several mistakes that it needs to correct.

    1. Translate the Bible and other religious literatures into the other ethnic groups language.
    2. Ordain other ethnic groups to serve in the church
    3. Share leadership that has been controlled by two ethnic groups
    4.write in other ethnic groups language and alphabet
    5. Preach the truth of the gospel

  10. Bogale on

    To Anonymous (#3)

    I hope Astaa B. Gettu will say some thing on your comment. When we say the building we mean the foolowers of the Church of Ethiopian Orthodox Church and we don’t mean the building. I think for Anonymous history is less important to the strength of the church. But you claim history when you have it. The Ethiopian Orthodox Curch is not built in one day. As it is said the church has reached to the present time through many ups and downs building its centuries old history, and until recently it was the center of civilization in the field of theology, literature, history, philosophy (eg.Angare Felaspha),art (eg qene, drawing), astronomy (eg Abushaker)and judiciary (administration eg. Fitha-Negest). I ask you to read the story of Aba Masias who facilitated things to colonize Assab in the name of preaching the Bible.

    Bogale Dagne

  11. Stoned Peter on

    Here is the sad thing the Ethiopian protestant church members are not well educated in history even they do not know when the protestant church started. As most of you might know the Protestant was started by a Catholic monk he revolted against the catholic church in the 16th century that is why the protestant church is called protestant or religious reformation. In this case before Luther there was not the religion of protestant however some of the Ethiopian Orthodox monastries were over 1500 years old when the protestant church started like the monastry of Waldiba in Gonder it was established on the 5th century. However the first protestant church was established on the 16th century the first protestant church was Lutheran church which was named after the creator of the protestant religion. So most of the Ethiopian like Tamirat Lyne or others do not have the knoledge. They think religion has to be changed or updated just like computer phone or car or just any product they do not understand the meaning of god does not make fault is not a meaningful ideology for them. As a result they advocate religion as a car or any man made should be updated every time. By the way Lalibela was built or constructed on the 13th century or 300 years before of the first protestant church or the first Lutheran church was started , Today there are over 1700 protestant churches in the world even in Ethiopia there are over 29 protestant church because they update them according to the preachers understanding of the bible and there leadership that is why I like Esayas of Eritrea he understands the mission of the protestant church for that he has been acused by the west. I can not say to much I am sorry I have to go work I might come back later.

  12. weqaw on

    I think we need to strength the Orthodox Church for it is the bases of our being for those of us who profess the Tewahdo religion in both Ethiopia and Eritrea. In fact I am a strong believer that there should be complete cooperation between the churches in Eritrea and Ethiopia for, as I said, that church was there since long time; and there is nothing wrong with it that would force us to “Convert” to these “New” found religiions. We have our own “Old” religion and we love it – thank you.

  13. Zenaw on

    Tariku #4
    I’m not trying to disrespect the religion from another religion perispective.But if we try to keep a 4th century church culture in 21st century,I believe it has an adverse effect for socio-cultural changes in Ethiopia in this DNA age.I was in Ethiopia recently and I observed the two great religions in the country back tracking and trying to be resistant to change.

  14. Mekdela on

    Greetings my fellow Ethiopian brothers and sisters,
    I don’t write commentaries usualy, but after reading the article and have went over the different opinions and comments, i am very much impressed by the deciplined comments which avoided down talking and dis-respecting different views.
    Since we are talking historical facts, I want to bring some thing to your attention. I am a big believer of culture and traditions. it is very important for us Ethiopians to preserve them for the next generations because it is what defines us. But here is a fact for you guys. As you all know that until 1956 EC the patriark of the EOC came from alexandria, Egipt appointed by the egyptians. Alot of histry books indecate that as much as the EOC has been the major education resorce for ethiopians in the past generations; it has also hampered modernization of Ethiopia in the sectors of modern education, work ethic, democratization of society as well as equal rights of all Ethiopians in our great nation.
    – HM Menilik II and HM Hailesilasea had a difficult time introducing modern education to ethiopia due to the intense pressure from the EOC. This is well documented in a book titled as ” Ethiopian history from Menilik II to HM Haileselasea”
    – Do you know that the 30 holidays that were introduced to ethiopian christians by the Egyptian patriarks for each day of the month does not exist in Egypt? Why do you think this is? The Egyptians have used our churchs to keep our
    people from being productive due to these holidays as it is understood by our people that it is a sin to work on these hloidays. this still happens in our rural part of the country. This has been one of the indirect attacks of egyptians on our people to prevent us from daming NILE!!! By the way this attacks still continuing in many different forms.
    – It Orthodox church has never been for the people but for the rulling bodies and royal families. Also the church descriminates between races in ethiopia as one of the commentators wrote above.

    – Even though there are good things to be said in support of EOC contribution to our country and culture. Many more issues could be mensioned beyond what is written above to show the down side of the Ethiopian Orthodox church. there fore i would like to conclude by saying the term used by others that “Ethiopia= Orthodox church and Orthodox church= Ethiopia” is not totally acurate.

  15. Assta B. Gettu on

    The spiritualities and purities of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church are unquestionabl.

    Anonymous (#3):

    Usually I do not respond to some of the commentators (the cowardly ones) who dislike to reveal their actual names but still comment on an issue they have failed to comprehend; however, since my friend Ato Bogale Dagne wants me to say something about comment #3 by an anonymous person, I would freely express my personal views about the depth, width, purity, moralities, and spiritualities of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church – the immaculate one.

    As my friend Bogale Dagne has explained that the Church is not just a building; it is rather the body of the believers. In Geez language “Aklesia” and in Greek “ekklesia” means an assembly of believers. In the Amharic language and in Tigrigna it is called “bête-Christian” the house of Christians or the house of those who believe in Christ.

    As we respect the body of Christ – the Church – we should also revere the building itself as a holy ground or a holy place where the holy people assemble together to worship God, and that is why most Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christians take off their shoos when they enter the building – the Church of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church – because they believe it is a holy place.

    To us the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Christians the building of the Church is very important as the people who worship God in that particular building.

    What does he mean when David says: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God than dwell in the tents of the wicked”? (Psalm 84:10) Is he talking about the angels or about the building or about the people? Again, we find him also saying: “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I ask: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life…to seek him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4) The psalmist is clearly talking about that holy building, holy temple of God where there is perfect peace and serenity for eternity.

    We also remember how many times King David tried to build a magnificent temple to God but failed to do so because of the many bloodsheds he had committed; however, his son Solomon was allowed to build a temple, a dwelling place for God, even though Solomon himself asks a sincere question: “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (1st King 8:27) Nevertheless, God was pleased by this majestic temple Solomon had built him, and God blessed Solomon for building that great Temple in Jerusalem; in this way the building itself is acceptable to God as the people of Israel.

    The ancient Church buildings teach us how our Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christian ancestors had been worshipping God, so we can learn so many good lessons from them. There are so many good things we can pass to the next and next generation by building imposing Churches like the Lalibela Churches and other historical Church buildings in Ethiopia.

    For these important reasons the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christian kings had built marvelous Church buildings and bequeathed half of their belongings to these Churches; therefore, we Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christians are very proud of our magnificent Church buildings.

    These lovely Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church buildings have been our colleges, our universities, and our libraries for centuries. If one goes and visits the Mahider Mariam Church, south of Debre Tabor, Begemeder, one thinks the Angels of God might have painted this beautiful Church: the significant people of the Old and the New Testaments are painted all over the wall of this Church. This Church looks like a very attractive and colorful bulletin board of a well organized teacher.

    The purity, moralities, and spiritualities of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church are unquestionable. Here we are witnessing about the spiritualities of the clergies, the monks, the deacons, and the nuns who serve the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church day and night without any fixed salaries.

    Some monks and clergies dedicate their entire lives to the services of the Church – the people of God. Some live in monasteries, praying, fasting, learning the Holy Scriptures and teaching the people. Some of them remain celibate until they die because they want to give their entire lives to serving the living God.

    So, as far as I know, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church is the only one on this earth that worships “the Father in spirit and truth.” However, you, Protestants, “worship what you do not know,” but on the other hand, we Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christians “worship what we do know.”

    The anonymous (nameless) person says: “The reason the Protestants are growing is that they are well founded in their spiritual life [sic] and that they are committed for the truth of God.”

    Can some one tell me the spiritualities of Jim & Tammy bakers and Jimmy Swagger (1986 and 1991)? Can some one tell me the moralities of Aimee Semple McPherson (1920s), or the gay Pentecostal evangelist or Billy James Hargis, a prolific author and radio evangelist (1971)? The list of such immoral and Decadent evangelical Protestant preachers goes on and on. But one cannot mention any Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church clergy accused of immoral behavior; all of them are well-dedicated servants of God, pure and holy men who fast and pray day and night. These men of God of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church firmly believe in what David, the man of God, said: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:16-17)

    A protestant preacher regrets more for missing his breakfast than missing his Sunday or Saturday Church services, but a clergy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church regrets more for missing the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Sunday night services than missing his breakfast or lunch. One can see how the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church clergies, monks, and deacons are more dedicated to the services of God than the Protestant superficial preachers who collect millions of dollars from their members, live in a costly mansion, and pretend they can speak in tongues and drive out demons from a demon-possessed person. When they try to pretend that they could drive out evil spirits, I’m sure, the Devil himself would say to them: “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?”

    The answer for the evil spirit’s question is they are sects or Protestants that mutate like the present swine flu and affect the true believers of God – the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Christians; however, the Church has its own well-proven vaccine, and that vaccine is the word of God.

  16. Anonymous on

    Dear Bogale and Assta,

    Anonymous #4

    If any church is a genuine church whatever history it has should be regarded as a story of Jesus. What God has been doing through out generations can be history to us not for God, because that same God is still alive and able to do more wonderful things. The BIBLE says: ” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!” If you are well connected to God you would not worship history, because God wants to show you more wonderful things today and in the future than what he did for the past generation.

    But if we keep on talking about what God has done in the past, and some times stealing his glory and giving it to the Kings, Monks, Priests, etc, our life will become only as good as history itself. Let us wakeup and open our eyes to see what God wants to do in the life of each and every one of us today. My desire is to see the Orthodox Church to be right with the history making God, and stand to make history with God today.

    I’m glad to see Assta trying to cite verses from the bible. Really, that is a good direction, I would like to encourage you to keep it up, apply it in all aspects of your daily life, and you will find what wonders God can do in your life. Please, avoid the traditional thinking that spirituality is for monks, priests, etc. It is for every individual on earth. So, please do not hesitate to claim your rightful place with God today, instead of your place in the past.

    One thing we need to know is that the Church is all about Jesus, not about this or that person. What I appreciate about the Protestant Church is that whoever falls out of grace the church keeps on going on the right direction, only because of Jesus.

    So, why people are falling from grace and what will happen to them in the future has to be left to God. Name calling is not biblically correct. It is wrong to talk about another person’s sin in order to make yourself right. We should not think that mentioning about the sins of members of the protestant church can make Orthodox Church right. In the same way, the reason I’m appreciating the protestant church is not because of the sins in the Orthodox Church. Moreover, the assignment given to the church is not to go after sinners and chase them to hell, but to call sinners to the merciful and kind saviour of the world- the LORD JESUS CHRIST.

  17. Alex Sadat on

    I am from Egypt, born from Greek mother and Egyptian father. I am happy to hear the grow of Ethiopian Orthodox church. Ethiopia hisory is the foundation of African history for fredom and liberation from foreigh agressers and the Ethioipian Orthodox chuch is part of that history. I live in Minnesota and planning to come to the St. Ourael Ethiuopian orthodox church to celeberatew with my brothers.
    I am proud ofd you may God bless you.,

  18. Here you go again! on

    In the name of religion the article renders more of a liability to Unity of the Ethiopians than an asset. We have to see what each word of our writings mean to different people of Ethiopia. If we still think in terms of the old island, that won’t help, it is a disservice Ethiopian Unity and a weapon to our enemy.

  19. Anonymous on

    Yes indeed our church is growing and will grow forever.Thanks to God. Don’t get cought up with those who got lost in other religions because no matter what happened our church didn’t stop growing.

  20. Zenaw on

    Please preach a social Gospel/Quran that could transform the Ethiopian Political,Social & Economic condition like Martin Luther King and others did in the 60s.

  21. GASHA on

    I am indebted to the eloquent chronicle presented by Assta. At a time when the church along with the country itself is being raided by barbaric internal invader to dissipate them for eternity, the testimony of the writer about the growth of the orthodox institution is a welcoming herald.

    For those who seem bend to point out the church is out of touch and not up-to-date, they need to realize that religion is not a contemporary philosophy that need to stay in par with fashionable theme of the time. To those protestant followers, they owe their Christen inheritance solely to the Orthodox church as they would have ended up as non Christian subjects just like many Africans in the west, south and east of Ethiopia. Learn before you teach so that you will not be called “sayawke yenake’

    I am also thrilled to hear the phenomenal success of the St Ourael church in the twin city , thanks in part for their successful defense of the church from the paid destructive agents of Aba Paulso AKA Mahebere Kidusan. In every city such as LA, Denver, Seattle etc where these mercenaries were triumphantly repudiated, it ultimately lead into building the most successful church organization in North America. Unfortunately as we speak, The St Michael church of Dallas along many others are going through a life and death struggle with this evil group in the name of Aba Paulos. Please pray for these churches who are being mercilessly raided by Mahebere Kidusan as you dedicate St Ourael church in Minnesota.

    May God Save Ethiopia and her church, Amen!

  22. Bogale Dagne on

    To Anonymous # 11

    Dear Friend

    For your information whoever translated it (If I am not wrong it was translated by a person named Anasimos) it is a long time since I saw the Oromo virsion Bible (Metsafa Kulkulu). For that matter the Amharic and Tigrigna Bibles also have no long history. I think if my memory is correct it is the Nine Saints who translated many of the books of the Bible from Greek or Hebrew into Geez. Until recently we were using the Geez Bible as Latin is for Chatolics until the coming of Luther. Whoever translated it it is of great importance to translate the Bible and other religious books into other ethnic groups of Ethiopia.

    My friend, unless you are from those group who aggravate things by putting fuel into the ethnic problem to win a politcal gain, EOC has never avoided the non-Amharas or non-Tigrians from becoming decons, priests, or Popes. The door is open to all ethnic groups. Think of the famous Qene Memehir, Aleqa Tibebu of Sire (Selalie). He was the first in the field to win the Birr 10,000 from Haile Selassie I Award Organization. He was nominated to be an Arch Bishop, but he preferd to remain a Qine Memhir not to send away his students. What about the famous Abuna Petros who gave his life for Ethiopia. Both of them aro from the Oromo. Atse Bakafa who had been taught qine as a kolo temari has Oromo blood. Eventhough I don’t remember by name the present Merigeta of Menagesha Mariam is an Oromo from Siga Meda (Tatek sefer). He is a blind person. All these faulsifies your statement that says: “History depicts that the EOC has never ordained any Oromo or any non-Amhara or non-Tigre ethinic group under the fake doctrine that shows that if non-Amhara or non-Tigre group becomes a priest he/she defiles a church. I pray for you to have mercy

    Bogale Dagne

  23. Stone Peter on

    Anonymous #4 I think you are foolish because I do not think you know what you are worshiping do you know why Christ put himself on the cross?, you see my friend if you believe in the bible the reason why Christ died on the cross it was for the bad past history of our father Adam and our mother Eve’s work or action if they did not had a bad history in their past life he would not died on the cross his death was just to perfect their bad past history. You see mister Anonymous #4 the reason why we have countless many protestant churches today is because of people like you who do not understand the bible in full as a result you misconstrue the meaning of the bible, so history is necessary to every thing including after life. Don’t you understand our last judgement is based on our history. What about God’s promises for Jacob Abraham even the promise God gave to Adam and Eve were based on a historically scheduled time based on his promise he came when the time arrived for him to come as a human being, he did not come before the time arrived or he was not late to come. You need to understand history is a collection of different events through extended span of time. According to you and the protestant members just like Luther Christ is a history because it has been over 2000 years since he was on earth as a human being so if you do consider history is unnecessary why do you think his work is still active work. By the way today there are so many lost tree speciouses in our monastries which are not found. What about our Yared’s musical work or product even you protestants use it even though your songs seem worldly music there are so many things you protestants coppy from the Ethiopian orthodox church. What about the lost biblical books.

  24. Beza on

    Orthodox church + the Monarchy = Ethiopian empire. Where does it truly speak for the non-semitic people of Ethiopia?
    That is what this article vividly put.

  25. wassie mersha on

    I am wassie from Ethiopia EOTC is the freedom church of all ethiopian and africian citzen.And this apostolic and historical church treat all ethiopian citizen equaly because all peopole are created in the image of God. so EOTC doesn’t discrminat all ethiopian nation and nationality.

  26. Almaz on

    For example in my family I was given to my uncle’s wife as a God daughter.When my uncle divorced his wife I lost touch with my God mother and remained without any communication with the Orthodox church.I tell this story to people they say your Godmother is still your Godmother nomatter what.They tell me to contact her nomatter what happened in her marriage.I am still confused.

  27. Ewnetu on

    I want to add my take on the dialog. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church is the foundation of Ethiopian litrature and civilization. it was the Jihadist Gragn Mohammed who destroyed not only religious texts, but books on Astronomy, medicine, astrology, philosophy and engineering. The golden age of Geez when it was diffusing with other kushitic languages was stopped by Gragn. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was uncompromising on Colonialism, it was patriotic. In fact menelik took the Tabot of Arada Ghiorghis during the battle of Adewa. As I said earlier all diverse ethnic groups in Ethiopia have been married to each other and mixed.There are many famed churchs in areas were Oromigna and other languages are spoken. Remeber Kulubi Gebriel. Remeber the name Abbo, a holiday which was derived from the Oromo language. If you examine Ethiopian documents in antiquity,there are translations from Arabic to Geez. The work of many Ethiopian Saints embrace many diverse cultures in the Horn opf Africa, I was amazed recently when I heared of Arab Gold, Ye Areb Work in ethiopian liturgy / Misbak. Please read your history. All of us are connected through religion, culture and language. Our fates are connected.My sadness is that te idea of ethnic liberation, religious liberation is hurting Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa in general. It is a false hope of redressing the issue of equity.Building a prosperous strong nation of Ethiopia by all its children based on true democracy the only option. Eritreans have to be stakeholders in building one Ethiopia to avoid continuous fratricidal conflicts. You cannot afford to be different in the next 10-20 years when the Ethiopian population is approaching 150 million. The sheer magnitude of the population effect / politics/ economics/environment/food security cannot sustain equilibrium unless there is genuine peace and love. Problems cannot be solved by separatism, but by unity.Peace cannot be sustained by armament or guns, but our collective survival is dependent upon our truthful imagination and sincere work of unity.We have to come together by love again. hate politics and tribal identity is taking us to the abyss. if we are not creative we will suffer for millenia. We have to think European.remeber, after few years there is no where to go as a refugee or immigrant.We have to make our place safe and habitable for everybody. may God show us the wisdom to be respectful, tolerant and smart! Alebelezia…Mikerew, Mikerew;- Kaltechale Mekera Yimkerew. You see I am not a politician. All of you are my people. I hate for us to be the last place in development index while we have evry means to be like Europe. If we come together in harmony there is nothing we cannot solve. If we continue eating each other, soon we will be finished by slow agony of underdevelopment and ignorance.

  28. Assta B. Gettu on

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana.

    Anonymous #18

    Your comment suggests that we should ignore past history and live by today’s history.

    I totally disagree with some people who live only in the present and detach themselves from the past. This means, we should not teach our children World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Desert War, and the Iraq War. This is unacceptable by most of the world historians, theologians, and even scientists.

    Past history tells us who we were, who we are, and who we will be; it also tells us what God has done in the past and what he is doing now.

    When we read the histories of Moses and Joshua in the Old Testament, we glorify the Almighty God for what he has done through his servants the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; through the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Minor Prophets; through the Apostles, Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Matthias, Paul; through Church Fathers, Athanasius, Basil the Great, St Jerome, St. Chrysostom, St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Gregory, Theophelos, St. Athanasius, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and through many other Church Fathers.

    As students of the Holy Bible, we vividly remember what the Almighty God told his servant Moses before God destroyed the first born of the Egyptian parents in that dreadful night for all the Egyptians but a blessed night for the Hebrews: “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord – a lasting ordinance.” (Exodus 12:14) God’s word “Commemorate” indicates the importance of history to the next generations and after that.

    In the New Testament, when Jesus said: “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. This cap is the covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1st Corinthians 11:24-26)

    Therefore, if past events were not that much important, the Lord Jesus could not have told Moses in the Old Testament to remember what happened in that particular night in Egypt and what would happen on Good Friday when he blessed the bread and the wine on Thursday night and shared the food and the wine with his disciples.

    Anonymous #18 further says: “If you are well connected to God you would not worship history….” We Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christians do not worship history, but we learn from past history the miracles the Lord Jesus has performed such as the changing of water into wine, the raising of Lazarus from the dead and many other wonders, and we pass such past histories to our children.

    Anonymous #18 also asserts “…the Church is all about Jesus, not about this or that person.” Yes, the Church is about Jesus who established it by his blood; however, the Church also recognizes the saints of God who gave up their lives to God – saints such as St. Tekle Haimanot, St. Kircos, St. Georgis, St. Christos Semra, and many other saints.

    In addition, the Anonymous #18 says: “But if we keep on talking about what God has done in the past, and some times stealing his glory and giving it to the Kings, Monks, Priests, etc., our life will become only as good as history itself.”

    Remember, no Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christian ever says that King Haile Selassie is God, St. Tekile Haimanot is God, St. Mary is God; the only God is God himself, but King Haile Selassie was a King, not a god; St. Tekle Haimanot is a Saint, not a god; and St. Mary is the mother of God – Jesus Christ – not a god. In fact, the Holy Bible teaches us this way: “Give everyone what you owe him: “…if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:7) If I am not wrong, this is the position of My Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church: We do not worship Saints or Angels; we worship only God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – one God, not three gods.

    Once again, Anonymous #18 expresses his wishes this way: “My desire is to see the Orthodox Church to be right with the history making God, and stand to make history with God today.”

    My friend, Mr. Anonymous #18, who gave you the right to judge that the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church is right or wrong with God? If you think the Protestant Church is more right than the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church with God, think twice and read the Bible that says: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1st Corinthians 10:12)

    Finally, I sincerely agree with Anonymous #18’s last statement: “…the assignment given to the church is not to go after sinners and chase them to hell, but to call sinners to the merciful and kind savior of the world – the LORD JESUS CHRIST.” I assure you the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church in prayer and fasting always calls sinners to repent and be born again.

  29. Anonymous on

    Dear Assta,

    It is great that you agree on what God wants the church to do on earth – calling sinners to the LORD JESUS. In order to accomplish its mission, what it takes is faith, nothing else. Faith is not about the past but about what we can not see and what we hope for. “By faith we get the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen… and that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” Hebrews 11: 1-3.

    If you read Hebrew chapter 11 (the whole) and the first 6 verses of chapter 12 you will learn how historical records of people in days of old (From Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abrham …) are used to encourage the current generation. Based on chapter 11 and 12 of Hebrews alone I would like to make the following points.

    1. All the historical records are stories of a life of faith, as defined in Heb chapter 11:1-3.
    2. The historical records are used to encourage us to move forward not to sleep on history. They are used to build our endurance and hope! “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, …let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” Heb 11:1-2
    3. The historical records are there to encourage us in our faith by citing how God rewards those who believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek him (Heb11:-6). Thus, all of us need to seek God sincerely so as to get our own individual rewards. It is not the will of God for us to spend our life singing about the rewards others have got, but he wants to fill us with our own individual wonders and rewards that we can sing more about.
    4. The historical records are used to encourage us to trust in God the way people of the past did. So, we should not think that the people of the past are different from us, when it comes to Church and God. Even, the bible says God had some thing better in mind for us (Heb 11:-40). Thus, the acknowledgement we give to their life of faith should not reach the level of worshiping them or their works.
    5. The bible teaches us that we can run our race with endurance only by keeping our eyes on JESUS. “…we do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” Heb 12. So, we should be careful about man made or Satan inspired teachings and traditions that distract our vision of Jesus Christ. From my experience in the Orthodox Church I certainly say that Orthodox Church has many things that go contrary to the Bible. When I say this it is not me who is judging, but the bible does. As a person I have the responsibility to say the truth I have understood from the bible.

    Finally, I wonder if some of your thoughts, really, represent the Orthodox Church. I have been there for many years and I certainly know that we used to worship the angels and ‘saints’. We used to pray to the angles and ‘saints’. We used to pay vows to angles and ‘saints’. Isn’t this worshiping?

    Thank you for sharing your taught and I really appreciate for decently expressing yourself.

    God Bless!

  30. Kwete on

    The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church is the First Black Institution(Black African Church respecting all human beings equally) preaching and fighting for justice, freedom, equality, and the true soveriegnity of God. We and all our children support it. It is not the Church of Ethiopians only, it is an Istitution of Truth, piece, justice and love for All People in the world.

    Kwete Otto,
    Pretoria,Republic of South AfricA

  31. Assta B. Gettu on

    The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church never worships angels, saints, great men and women of the past and the present.

    My friend Anonymous #31,

    Thank you for accepting that past history is very important to educate our children the bad and the good: Hitler and Mussolini, for example, were bad people; Mahatama Gandhi and Mother Theresa, on the other hand, were good people; therefore, let us follow the steps of the good people, not the steps of the bad ones.

    You have mentioned to me the importance of faith without work and advised me to read Hebrews, Chapter 11, but you, perhaps, intentionally, forgot to mention James 2:17, which should be part of this friendly discussion.

    When I was at my Kolo Timhirtbet in Ethiopia, I clearly recall the hottest issues we students of the Kolo Timhirtbet always discussed with one another were about faith, work, and grace. We always raised the following theological questions and presented them to our yetirgum (hermeneutics) memhir (teacher): “Are we saved,” Yeneta, “by our good works or by our faith without work, or just by the grace of God, not work, not faith?

    Questions of this kind have been usually discussed by our Church Fathers for almost more than two thousand years.

    As you have mentioned the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 11, St. Paul, one of my favorite Apostles, most of the times stresses the significance of faith in God because St. Paul clearly sees that the Jews give more importance to the Torah than to faith in Jesus Christ; they believe by following only what the Torah and the Talmud teach, they would go directly to heaven; however, the Book of James 2:17 tells us: “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

    In my view and in the views of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christians, faith and good work go hand in hand: work without faith and faith without work – both are powerless or weak when it comes to help us sinners. Remember, Rehab the Prostitute was saved for hiding the spies Joshua had sent to spy on the Canaanite land, and she believed she would be saved from the sword of Joshua. (Joshua 2:1-24)

    There are thousands of people today who simply say that they are saved without supporting their faith with good work, and to such idle people St. Paul says: “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.” (Titus 1:16)

    So, believing in God only but not doing what God wants us to do is bad faith as St James says: “You believe that God is one. You did well; even the devils believe, and shudder.” (2:19)

    If we believe we have faith in God, then we have to explain it to our brothers and sisters by our good actions by expressing to them that we love them, that we are ready to help them what ever it takes: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6) Therefore, faith without love, without good work is nothing less than Derek Tabia (dry station). It is just like that beautiful, leafy fig tree that Jesus, one day, went to it to find some thing to eat from it but found no fruit in it except wide and green leaves, and so Jesus cursed the tree and the tree withered away. (Mark 11:12, 19-21) It is the same thing with a person who depends on faith alone without a good work.

    Jesus himself has never ignored people who do good thing, and, in fact, it is those who do good work that will inherit the Kingdom of God, not only those who profess faith only that would go to heaven. Witness St. Matthew who tells us who will inherit the Kingdom of God, people of faith only or people of work and faith: Matthew says in detail in this way: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (25:34-36)

    Thus, simply to say “I believe in God” is not enough by itself. We have to feed the hungry, invite to hour house the strangers, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, and visit the prisoners (Isaiah 58:6-8).

    In Christ Jesus we are all the same – Jews, gentiles, Christians and Muslims – in the eyes of the Almighty God. What differentiates us from each other is what we have done while we are on this earth. We do not know who goes to heaven and who goes to intortos or gahanem (hell); however, we believe those who do good things will be rewarded by their heavenly Father. Therefore, we are not the ones who decide who should go to heaven and who should go to hell. We must leave the final judgment to our heavenly Father.

    In addition, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church teaches that faith and work are essential for salvation; however, the Church is not unaware of those people who are saved only by the grace of God. Yes, there are people who are saved by the grace of God without doing any tangible work or by having no faith in anything, and for such lucky ones, David says: “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him….” (Psalm 32:2)

    What about the two sons of Isaac, Jacob and Esau? God blessed Jacob who had done nothing good that pleased God, but God rejected Esau who had done nothing wrong against God. On such matters, do we have to question God why he chose Jacob but rejected Esau? Of course, not as Isaiah the Prophet says: “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘He did not make me?’ Can the pot say of the potter, ‘He knows nothing’?” (29:16) Indeed we will fool ourselves if we ask the Almighty God such unnecessary questions.

    When you were in Ethiopia you said you had worshiped the angels; you did it so because, I assume you did not know the difference between an angel and God the Almighty. Do you remember when Janhoy or His Majesty passed on our way; we used to bow down to the ground to give him our respect, but not to worship him. In the same way, when you see some Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christian women and men bow down in front of a beautiful picture of St. Mary, they are giving her their respect and admiration as the Mother of God (woladite Amlak) but not worshiping her as if she were a god.

    I know some people have a hard time to understand the difference between worship and respect. We respect our kings, our Queens, our heroes, our angels, our saints, our semaitat (martyrs), and our holy places, but we worship only our creator God the Father, our savior Jesus Christ, and our purifier the Holy Ghost.

    You said: “From my experience in the Orthodox Church I certainly say that Orthodox Church has many things that go contrary to the Bible.”

    We must understand that the Protestant Bible does not cover everything that Jesus our Lord taught and all the miracles he performed while he was on this earth as John the Evangelist puts it: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (21:25), but the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church have tried to compile so many other good works Jesus did, and these good works are not found in the Protestant Bible; they are found only in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Holy Bible that contains the 81 books; whether someone debs them apocryphal or genuine books, they are excellent holy books, like the Book of Enoch.

    Therefore, the teaching of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has never been contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ; it rather augments it, clarifies it, and makes it simpler to understand it, and that is why we have the tirgum, the andmta, and the Aemade Mistir to understand the doctrine of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church that explains the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    Finally, I will close our discussion by quoting St. James who said: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (1:27)However, let us continue the discussion and enjoy reading the Holy Bible, the source of our faith in Jesus Christ.

  32. Anonymous on

    Dear Assta,

    First of all, I would like to thank ER for giving us the opportunity to discuss our ideas and all the patience in posting extended discussions like this one.

    I can see the confusion in understanding grace and faith as well as work. This is a well known problem of the Orthodox Church. You think that ‘there are two possible ways for salvation: through Grace and through combining faith and work’. This is one of the many teachings made to twist the truth about Jesus, and misdirect believers. Below I will try to explain the interrelationship between grace, faith and work by citing the scriptures.

    1. Salvation is only by Grace (A Free Gift of God)

    “God, … saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,…” (2Tim 1:8-10)

    “… if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (Rom11:6)

    2. Through Faith We Receive the Grace (the Free Gift of God), and It is for All without Distinction

    The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world…to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God…And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:9-17)

    “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)
    “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…” (Ephesians 2:8)

    “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight …But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law …the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,..” (Romans 3:20-23)

    3. Good Work (An act of Love) is a Manifestation of Faith and Grace

    “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6)

    “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

    I believe the above helps you understand the way grace manifests itself in the life of believers through their faith in Jesus Christ. Grace saves us from our sinful nature which doesn’t know free love (unconditional love). Then it empowers us to live a holy life filled with unconditional love to all human kind.

    Therefore, if we do good deeds expecting that it will count for our salvation it indicates that we are working for a reward (wage), and that our work does not emanate from love. Furthermore, it also indicates that we have not received the grace; which in turn indicates that we do not have faith in Jesus Christ and that we are not free from our sinful nature inherited from the first Adam. At the end we will be condemned not because of our works, but because of not believing in Jesus Christ (for rejecting the free gift of God). Even the bible says those who do not believe are already condemned.

    You said that “In Christ Jesus we are all the same – Jews, gentiles, Christians and Muslims – in the eyes of the Almighty God. What differentiates us from each other is what we have done while we are on this earth.”

    This is also typical of the Orthodox Church Teaching, particularly the result of the false teaching of the possibility of righteousness through work. That is why you easily identify your church with Islam, and your church members from Muslims. The Muslims strongly stand against the truth of Jesus being the Son of God, which is central to the bible and Christianity. As long us you think to get righteousness through your work you have no reason to think Muslims can not get Gods righteousness through their work.

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)

    You said that when people are bowing down to the ‘Picture of Mary’ they are not worshiping her but expressing their respect to her. It is ok to greet a person passing by in an acceptably respectful manner, but what does it mean when we crave an image of a person who passed away or angles that are in heavenly places, and bow to their images and organize rituals, and pray to them for salvation or for help in daily life.

    “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:4-5)

    You also mentioned about ‘yekollo temari’. I don’t think you were part of the ‘Kollo Timihirtbet’. You might have attended the preschool age literacy and numeracy, but if you were part of the system after age 7 you wouldn’t try to tell me that there was a debate about ‘salvation through faith or work’. The most seniors in the church may some how discuss the topic, but those ‘yekolo temariwoch’, the ‘Debteras’ and their ‘Merigetas’ are busy with practicing the power of the devil. The Psalms of David, ‘zema’ and ‘kine’ are only covers. I have helped a number of youth escape from this system, and accept the grace in Jesus Christ. I could tell you many stories, but I don’t think it helps our discussion.

    I really appreciate your keen interest in making the bible speak for you. Sticking with the bible and fixing eyes and mind on Jesus Christ takes from one level of faith to the next and from grace to grace. Keep Up!

    God Bless You!

  33. Assta B. Gettu on

    Dear Almaz #28,

    Your Christian God-mother is related to you through your uncle: She is your uncle’s wife; therefore, she was not supposed to be your Christian God-mother. Someone who is not related to you could have been your Christian God-mother; nevertheless, since your uncle’s wife has been your Christian God-mother, she is still regarded as your Christian God-mother even if she dies. As far as she is still living somewhere where you could not locate her, she must be responsible for you, her Christian God-daughter. She should not have abandoned you. If she dies, you have the right to claim some of her assets because you are her Christian God-daughter. There is no difference between one’s biological daughter and one’s Christian God-daughter.

    I hope one day you could be able to find her, and may the good Lord help you to locate her!

  34. Assta B. Gettu on

    My dear Anonymous #34,

    You are spreading your anger by asserting that there are problems and confusions in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church as if your Protestant Church is free from so many diversions and great confusions. It is, in fact, your dikala Church that has created so many divisions by dividing itself into many sects almost every year, giving itself different names.

    Your Protestant Church has tried many times to steal many innocent and orphan Ethiopian children by offering them candies and later on a poisonous doctrine that divides them from their parents of the Orthodox Church.

    I’m so elated you have finally revealed your identity through your comment, for my previous comment has impelled you to express yourself about your feelings regarding the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

    Convinced that faith without work is dead, you are now trying to explain to me the relations between grace, faith, and work, but you have failed to give me a clear distinction between the three of them because you have not learned them at one of the famous Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Schools or Monasteries.

    Just to support your positions, you have ignored the other scriptures that clearly teach us that faith without work is dead. One of these Holy Scriptures is St. James who tells us the importance of work: “You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?” (2:20) Again St. James emphasizes by adding to his teaching about work: “…Abraham was considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar. His faith and his righteousness were working together” (2:21)

    Do you remember that well-know saying: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat”? (2nd Thessalonians 3:10) In the same way, if a person does not do good things on this earth, he will not be one of the sons of God as Jesus himself says: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Here, he didn’t say: “Blessed are those Protestants who sit and claim they are saved by grace alone.”

    Following Jesus’ teaching about good work, Paul says: “…for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you… you will abound in every good work” (2nd Corinthians 9:7-8) This is the way I understand grace through good work (for God loves a cheerful giver and all his grace are abound to you — in every good work.) In addition to the above testimonies, David says: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteous endures for ever….” (Psalm 112:9)

    Those people of God who work day and night deserve a reward from their creator, and their reward is salvation from the Lord Jesus Christ as Paul suggests: “The worker deserves his wages.” (1st Timothy 5: 5:18)

    Finally, let us hear what the Apostle Paul himself says about work after he finished his missionary work to the gentiles: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day….” (2nd timothy 4:7-8) He stresses his point that the Lord Jesus will indeed accept him as a good fighter, as a good soldier who worked harder than the rest of the Apostles.

    I have said it before, and I will say it again that there are some people, whether they work or not, God will have mercy on them. St. Paul to the Roman gentiles has asserted: “…God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” (9:18) This shows that God can do any thing he wants as King Nebuchadnezzar once proclaimed: “He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth” (Daniel 4:35)

    Through your false teaching, you are attempting to create division between the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Christians and the Ethiopian Muslims. If you do not know Ethiopian History, I will tell you that the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and the Ethiopian Muslims have lived together in harmony for thousands of years. Your intention here is to create conflict between Christians and Muslims in Ethiopia and between Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christians and the Ethiopian Protestants so that you want to see the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians to be destroyed; the fact is they will never be. But you will be driven out of Ethiopia when the right time comes and the right person and the right patriarch assume power in Ethiopia.

    If you firmly believe in the true meaning of grace and in the merciful act of God, then all Muslims would be saved by the irresistible grace of God because “…God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy….” (Romans 9:18) In fact, God sent his son to this world to save the world. This world is not just the world of Christians; it is the world of all God’s creatures. So, don’t say the Muslims would not be saved: Give the judgment to the Almighty God who knows who will be saved and who will not. Remember, “…God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)

    I’m very offended by your remarks about the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church clergies, deacons, debtras, and lay men and women and about their services to God. You call them idol worshipers because you have seen them dancing, singing, and praying during their religious festivals and during Sunday services. If you knew the Holy Bible, you wouldn’t insult the people of God. Do you believe that David, King of Israel, was the man of God? When David brought the Ark of God from captivity to Jerusalem, he danced with his all might in front of the Ark (2nd Samuel 6). Do you think the Ark was an idol, and the King of Israel was an idol worshiper? The psalmist continues to say: “…Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.” (150:3-5) I know you do not have such things in that empty Church of yours.

    You boasted you have helped “a number of Youth escape from this system and accept the grace in Jesus Christ.” To your information, we Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christians do not boast about what we do because we follow the teaching of Jesus Christ who told us: ‘Be careful not to do your “acts of righteousness” before men, to be seen by them.’ (Matthew 6:1)

    If you had learned your lessons under those famous Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Memhirs such as Dr. Alaka Ayale at Medhanialem Church, Gondar; Memhir Gettu Tesema at Debre Inque Mariam, Simada, Begemeder; Memhir Gebre Mariam, Dabat, and many other pillars of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, you would have saved yourself from being converted to one of the Protestant Churches. The Protestant Church has told you only one thing, and that is “grace only,” nothing about good work, faith, righteousness (sidk), and the merciful act of God.

    I’m sure the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians deserve a sincere apology from you for disparaging their ways of worshipping their creator, Jesus Christ.

  35. Stoner on

    When it comes to Orthodox Tewahdo Church many of us have a hard time of differentiating the state between the church. Supposedly church is not country or state. Church is not a private entity too. The patriarch that embezzled millions of dollars until July of 2009 considered it as a it’s own private asset that he did as he pleased with the church rules , assets and adminstration.To make matter worse he even changed the accountability process within the church hierarchy all over Ethiopia.Definately not appropriate for the folowers.All this because he knew Azeb Mesfin as a child and she promised him full co-operation.

  36. Gebre Menfes Kidus on

    Our Tewahedo Church must stay true to the timeless and eternal Truths that it has professed for 2,000 years. We must never be ashamed of our ancient teachings. The Church must not try to become “modern.” The Church should never conform to the ways of this world; instead, the Church must continue to call people out of the world and into the saving arms of Our Lord and His true Church. It does not matter how quickly our Church grows or how rapidly the Faith is spread. What matters is that the Church stays true to her roots and remains firmly established on her apostolic foundation. -Selam-

  37. Hailmicheal on

    Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church is the world leader of chruch’s whether Eastern or Oriental it’s long term history holds the Old Testament belives and after Jesus Christ was born accepts New Testament than any church’s in the world.History is evidence for this but nowadays people are saing their own views to eradicate the truth but impossible Jesus Christ is established this church !!! May God bless you all true seekers!!!

  38. ቤተክርስቲያን ለዘመናት ስትፈተን ኖራለች አሁንም ትፈተናለች ግን አትወድቅም ጌታዋ ቃል ገብቶላታል እና ማት 16:18 ቤተ ክርስቲያኔን ባለት ላይ እመሰርታታለሁ የሲኦል ደቾችም እይችሉአትም::

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