Christ is Risen!
here is a bit of history for those interested
The confession of Emperor Gelawdewos
The Jesuits that came at the time of Emperor Gelawdewos with the Portuguese , after failing to make Ethiopia under the Vatican they started circulating accusations against the Church ‘ as being Judiastic and not Christian’ by citing the custom of the people practiced. This accusation started to spread in the Christian world so the Emperor felt it was necessary to affirm the faith of the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia via official letter to all concerned.
This is the translation I have done of the Confession from the book by late Bishop of Shewa Eternal memory His Holiness Abune Gorgorius entitled ‘ The History of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit One God .
This is my faith, the faith of my fathers kings descendants of Israel, and all the Christians in my Kingdom.
We believe in One God and His only Son Jesus Christ. He is the Word, the Power, and the Wisdom of the Father. Before the beginning of the world, He was with the Father. In the fullness of time even while still in His heavenly Throne, He came down from Heaven and was Incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly man. When he was 30 years old He was baptized in Jordan. Under Pontius Pilate, He was crucified, suffered, died and was buried, and on the third day He rose again. On the 40th day he ascended with Glory into Heaven and sitteth on the Right Hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and His Kingdom shall have no end. And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life who proceedeth from the Father. We believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for resurrection of the dead, and the live of the age to come Amen.
As to us, we walk in the righteous path in the Orthodox Way and will not vaciliate from the teachings of our fathers neither to the left nor to the right!
The twelve apostles
The fount of wisdom Paul
The 72 deciples
The 318 Orthodox assembled in Nicene
The 150 of Constantinople
The 200 of Ephesus
I the son of Naod, the son of Wenag Seged, who is known by my throne name as Asnaf Seged Emperor of Ethiopia, this Faith I confess and thus this Faith I teach/ witness.
The reason why we honor the first Sabbath is not like the Jews, for they do not go to fetch water, they do not burn wood, cook or bake, the do not go from house to house. We however honor the day as the apostles commanded us in the Didache: with the Divine Liturgy and sharing our meals with others. We do not observe or honor this day like Sabbath Sunday. For this Day is the Day that David prophesized about saying this is the New Day that the Lord God has made and we shall rejoice and be glad in it. For on this Day our Lord was resurrected, on this Day the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles on Mt Zion. On this Day in the womb of the Ever Pure and Holy Virgin Mary He became Man. On this Day for the glory of the Saints and for the condemnation of the Wicked He shall return.
As to Circumcision, we do not circumcise in the way of the Jews. For we know the teachings of the Fount of Wisdom Paul on Galatians 5:6‘for in Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything only faith working through love’ on Galatians 6:15 “for neither circumcision counts for anything, nor un circumcision, but a new creation.” We have all the epistles of Paul here with us, and he teaches us about circumcision and being uncircumcised. However, the circumcision that is with us is like the country traditional custom of scoring the face in Ethiopia and Nubia and like the piercing of ears in India. Thus we do not do this in keeping with the Judaistic law but due to human custom.
As to eating pork it is not eaten here. However, we do not refrain from eating it in keeping with the Judaistic law. We do not abhor those who eat it and we do not force the one who does not eat it to eat. As our father St Paul wrote to the Romans 14:3-17 the man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him….. I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteems anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean……For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” And also in the Gospel of Lord according to St Mathew the Evangelic Mat 15:11-20 it is written ‘ it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person but what comes out of the mouth ; this defiles a person…everything that goes into the moth passes into the stomach and is eliminated but the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and those defile the man…’’ this teaching of our Lord trampled down all the teachings of the Jews that erred by professing the mosaic Law.
My faith and those who teach by my command within my Kingdom, the theologian priests’ Faith is this. From the path of The Gospel, from the teaching of Paul, they will neither go to the right nor to the left. In the Church’s History book we have here, we read that Emperor Constantine in the time of his reign commanded the newly baptized Jews to eat pork on the day of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, a person because of preference can refrain from eating various kinds of animal meat. One might like to eat fish, another chicken; one might refrain from eating lamb. All can be done according to the delight of one’s heart. On these matters one can follow his preference. On animal dietary consumption there is no law or cannon in the book of the New Covenant/New Testament. To the pure all things are pure; he also says the believer can eat anything 1 Corn 10:25.
I labored to write all this so you may know what Faith I Confess.
Written on June 23, 1555 AD Ethiopian Calendar, in the City of Damot Ethiopia.
I thought this letter of confession can still answer some questions asked by those who encounter the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church for the first time and the custom of the Orthodox in Ethiopia that still might be confused as adhering to the judiastic laws, and also it serves as additional information for those interested in the history of the Oriental Churches.
Blessed day everyone.