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Author Topic: Ethiopian Orthodox Church  (Read 2348 times) Average Rating: 0
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Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Inquirer
Posts: 276

« on: September 16, 2013, 11:59:35 PM »

I've just found out the nearest COC is 60 miles away from where I'll be moving to in NC.  Cry

However there is an small Ethiopian Orthodox Church literally 5min away from my new location! I'm wondering are there any major differences from the COC I need to know about if attending besides language. Do women also sit apart from men? Do women also cover their hair, and so on?


"A humble man who lives a spiritual life, when he reads the Holy Scriptures, will relate all things to himself and not to others.”

– St. Mark the Ascetic, Sermon, 1.6
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Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 4,383

« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 01:51:37 AM »

While I've never had the pleasure of attending a Tewahedo kidase myself, it seems like their customs are very similar to ours with regards to the separation of the sexes and covering, with the obvious difference being the degree of covering (as far as I've seen in my home parish or the parish I visited in AZ, we don't have anything like the netela, the long white shawl that women wear which covers the head and shoulders, or for that matter the kuta, which is the male version). Check out this short clip of an Ethiopian liturgy celebrated in Minnesota to see what it's like. I hope you'll attend the church near you and tell us all about your experience. Smiley

Gebre Menfes Kidus
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Faith: Ethiopian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Tewahedo / Non-Chalcedonian
Posts: 8,600

"Lord Have Mercy on Me a Sinner!"

« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 02:28:05 AM »

Yes, women sit on the right and men on the left. Wear white if you can and yes, cover your head. But you will be welcomed either way.  Smiley


"There are two great tragedies: one is to live a life ruled by the passions, and the other is to live a passionless life."
Selam, +GMK+
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Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 2,804

Kyrie eleison

« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2013, 04:03:10 AM »

i have been to 2 eritrean services (very similar to ethiopian) and the only differences from coptic liturgy (as far as i can see) is:
1. that everyone takes off their shoes before entering the church, not inside the church at the place you sit/stand. wear bright coloured shoes so that you can find them easily on exiting. long boots and complex shoelaces should be left at home!
2. no one at all follows the 'no kneeling on sunday' custom of other orthodox churches. everyone prostrates 3 times on entering the church and several times during the liturgy (but not after taking Holy Communion!)

in my experience, visiting non east africans don't wear white; some pale loose clothes will do (the traditional white clothes are sometimes used to cover the skinny jeans and cropped jackets!), and women cover their heads (even after Holy Communion).
some of the ethiopian and eritrean churches have got stuck in the modern habit of people not taking Holy Communion very often, so you may see mainly children and the elderly going up, which is different from the coptic experience.
stick around afterwards, and make friends, i was very welcome at the churches i visited and found the ladies to be very friendly. you may find the men are shy around women, so give it a few weeks before you make friends with the guys.
Antonious Nikolas
Orthodox Christian, Miaphysite, Anagnostis
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Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Myra

« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2013, 03:36:12 PM »

Hi Rebecca.  Other than what everyone else has said, just be aware that the services start very early and are never short.  Most of the Ethiopian Churches I've served in start the raising of incense at 4:30 AM.  Since you're not serving in the altar though, if you get there by 7:00 am (or perhaps later, if you're so inclined), you'll still be good.  All told, you'll be there past noon.  You'll enjoy the chanting.  It's very beautiful, but there will likely be no English at all.  You might want to buy a white shamma or gabi (cloth) to wear over your street clothes if you're going to be attending long term, but it's not mandatory.  Oh, and you know how in the Coptic Church the men go up for Communion before the women?  Well, in the Ethiopian Church, the women go up before the men.  I hope you find a real spiritual home there!

My sins run out behind me and I do not see them, but today I am coming to judge the errors of another.
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