Dear Brothers [and Sisters],
I hope that everyone is well in Christ our Risen Lord
. Thank you for your responses and comments, but truly the Glory is due to the Holy Trinity, Who caused Saint Yared to ascend (whether in spirit or body, or both) into to the Paradise of Joy to witness the Heavenly Hosts praising our Creator.
Is this Ethiopian Orthodox? http://youtube.com/watch?v=cRsF8_sxDhE
Yes. This is an 'independent' Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church in Washington, DC. Actually, the author of the book that I mentioned, serves in this Church.
The video is showing the mahilet
, the chant that is composed of a'qwa'qwa'm
--one of St. Yared's works. You can see that this holy dance (wo'reb
) is being performed infront of the Altar, with the prayer sticks (me'qwa'mee'ya
) and sistrum (tsi'na'tsi'l
) in the chanters (debteras
) hands as they move back and forth. Every movement has a symbol, every movement. You can also hear the drum being beaten. There is also a high-pitched voice in front of the others--that is the Meri'geta
: the Leader of the Chant.
1) The Drum [ke'ba'ro
]: The scholars say that St. Yared used this special drum to represent the sounds of when our Lord Jesus was being beaten by the Jews and Gentiles. There are special rythms that are played according to the mode and season.
2) The Prayer Sticks [me'qwa'mee'ya
]: In the movie, the Passion of Christ, you see the Sanhedrin bearing these prayer sticks. Because of Ethiopia's pre-Christian Hebraic beliefs and elements, this stick was used by the Old Testament clergy (Le'va'wee'a'n
). In Jerusalem, that OT clergy used these sticks to beat our Lord on His Holy head until He bled profusely. Now, St. Yared transformed this stick to be used as an instrument to remind the NT clergy and chanters of how and what the OT clergy did to their Creator. By St. Yared, it moves and waves symbolically to show how those blind and deaf ones beat the Lord with the sticks that they leaned-upon to pray to Him who they beat...
3) The Sistrum [tsi'na'tsi'l
]: O Yared, how did you find earthly instruments to duplicate what your heard in Paradise?! The sistrum represent several things. The sound is supposed to imitate the sound of the whipping of Christ at the hands of the Jews and Gentiles. It also goes back-and-forth (like the whips). It is also said that during our Lord's Passion, the crowds were so immense that our Lord was pushed side-to-side and back-and-forth, hence some of the patterns of the wo'reb (the sacred dance).
The Ethiopian sistrum was also invented by the Theologian St. Yared to resemble Heaven and Earth, while having 3 cymbols above (on the top part) and (two below). Three above representing the Holy Trinity; the two below representing Adam and Eve, not to mention the One Incarnate Nature of God the Word. Together they are one instrument in perfect harmony, adored by all through the suffering (the whipping) of the Son of God.
This is most likely, post-Communion and I think that it is a commemoration for our Lady, St. Mary or St. Tekle Haymanote.
A question one may ask: How are the chanters commemorating St. Tekle Haymanote with the hymns composed by St. Yared; isn't St. Tekle Haymanote post-Yared?
Good question. During the pagan invasions that took place in Ethiopia by the Jewish monster-Gudit (Yodit) and the grudgeful Ibn Ahmad-Muhammed Gragn, many of St. Yared's works were destroyed. BUT, there were faithful scholars who recorded some excerpts of these works and applied the commemoration of the saints and other prayers to St. Yared's order, such as the Sa'ataat
(the Ethiopian Book of Hours: Composed by Abba Giorgis according to the method of Yared).
On that video, you are seeing ten or so chanters, how about seeing and hearing thousands of the chanters at once! Attending the Meskel Celebration and the Lidet (Birth of our Lord) Celebration in Lalibela (Ethiopia), one would be able experience this. I will try to send the link where these videos are sold on the internet.
Please take care and enjoy the blessing of these 50 holy days...
Sincerely yours in Christ our Risen God,