Neglected parenthood: Lessons from disobedient of Eli and his sinful sons

December 20, 2016

Final Part – 3 

4. They ignored the guidance of their father
Priest Eli heard all the sins of his children and he said unto them, “Why do ye such things? For I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them”.  (1Sam 2: 23-25)

He advised them but they did not heed Eli’s counsel. As David the prophet in his Psalm said “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” (Ps41:9) Today there are also many sons of Hophni and Phinehas who didn’t heed the counsel of church fathers and become the enemy of mother church although they grew under the guardianship of her embrace. 
One among the commandment of God is, “Honor your father and mother”. Father in this case means fathers who follow in the footsteps of the apostles. Those who called themselves reformists, their fate will be the destiny of Hophni and Afnin for they deny the decision of the Holy Synod and violate the canon and dogma of the church. 
They also insult the church saying “The Church has become old and worn out; we will not be guided by church fathers”. If they say the church becomes old, does it mean Jesus Christ has become Old? Or the teachings of the apostles obsolete? This is impossible, since the church has been established by the blood of Christ and flourished by the apostle’s teachings.  
 
Is it realistic for those who say they shall renew the church; can interpret the Bible while they are unable to provide the meaning of the Holy Scriptures, even a single word of the Bible? The truth is, the rudeness they show is an indication of their lack of knowledge as the saying goes, “the knowledge of the foolish is his daring. As the Prophet Moses said, “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee”. (Deut. 32:7) The one who hears the Word of God through the mouth of the blessed fathers and puts it their teachings to use will be saved from disaster.  If Eli’s sons had heard their father’s counsel, they would have been saved from the swords of their enemies. 
 
The Church becomes sad when her children, who grew up under its bosom, get lost. The church prays to the foolish saying, “May God make wise the fool” since her goal is to keep her own children and even to draw those who are outside the door. As our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John10:16)  
 
God challenged Eli for despising the Lord’s sacrifices and offering.  Eli honored his sons above the Lord. He enjoyed eating the choices parts of the offerings, which his sons stole, from the altar of God. Eli knew what his sons did was wrong.  He spoke to his children about their sin, and warned them that they were sinning against God, but it was not enough to have warned them. He should have stopped them from doing these things.  As the high priest, Eli was at the pinnacle of success in his personal vocation. He held the most important place of religious influence among the nation of Israel. 
 
He was not himself a wicked man, the narrative clearly showed he had a genuine concern for the things of God. He had a weakness towards his children that the Bible categorized as parental neglect, because he did not restrain his children from their evil behavior.
 
God was not satisfied with Eli’s weak verbal warnings to his sons. He expected more. Even after receiving the rebuke from the man of God, Eli remained passive and took no action against his sons.  Eli is an example of many passive parents, who lack the courage and backbone to enforce their directions to their children.  Passive parents ruin both their children and their personal testimony by their inaction and unwillingness to discipline their children forcefully.
 
Had Eli enforced his commands to his children when they were little, he would have spared them from severe judgment as adults.  From Eli’s interactions with his adult children, we can safely assume he was passive parent when his children were little.  His young boys undoubtedly learned that Eli gave warnings but did not enforce them, as do most permissive parents. Because Eli was weak in the face of his children’s disobedience, they grew up believing God was also passive. Eli’s children concluded God was just like their father and would not take any action against their blatant sin.  They did not fear God, because as young children, they never learned to respect their father, Eli. How else would they be so bold as to blaspheme the name of Lord by their shameless conduct as priests before the nation of Israel?
 
What can we learn from the life of Eli ?
The story of Eli and his sons serves as a lesson to parents for all time.  A holy God will not tolerate sin.  Parents have spiritual responsibility and are accountable for both their actions and their inaction.  Eli’s entire family came to a tragic end because Eli was a passive parent.  Eli laid the foundation for his sons’ destruction through his neglect of personal leadership and instruction when they were young and teachable.  From his conduct when they were adults, we can justly conclude Eli had not restrained his young children from their natural selfish inclinations.  
 
Perhaps Eli and his wife thought their little headstrong boys were cute, and laughed together about their antics when they were little boys.  However, when selfish, self-centered children grow up to become adults without love and reverence for God, there is nothing cute about it.  Eli’s entire family was disgraced, and his children died in battle.  Eli’s sons blasphemed the Lord’s name by their evil behavior; God is a holy, but avenging God.
 
Parenting is an awesome responsibility and parents must vigorously enforce their commands.  Permissively raised children learn to despise both their parents’ and God’s authority.  God holds parents accountable for how they raise their children.  The Bible account of Eli provides a clear warning to modern parents against being passive about the discipline of their children.
 
The Ark is an example of the laity. As The Ark of Zion is God’s dwelling, so is the body of the laity God’s dwelling as the apostle Paul said “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) 
 
In the same way as the Ark of Zion was let to be captured due to the wicked behavior of the two sons of Eli, the grace of God will be taken from believers when they go out of His will and spoil themselves to the devil.
 Source: 
• Commentary on the four books of kings: 1Samuel, chapter 4-7 (2008); Tinsae printing press, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.)
• Adopted and translated from: Memher Bezuneh Shibeshi (November 11-25, 2015,).The Captivity of Zion. “Sem’atsidk Newspaper” a bimonthly Newspaper published by Mahibere Kidusan.  pp.8-9.) 
• The Holy Bible (KJV)
• ——- ,When Parents Fail: The Bible Story of Samuel and the Evil Sons of Eli the Priest. Retrieved from (http://christian-parents.net/parental-failure-story-eli-sons/) on December 14, 2016. 
Translation: Mesfin Zegeye & Kassa Nigus

Neglected parenthood: Lessons from disobedient of Eli and his sinful sons

December 20, 2016
Part two 
The Sin of Hophni and Phinehas
1. They ate raw sacrifice of God even before the fat was burned
The Holy Scripture says that the sons of Eli were sons of Belial (naughty person), (1Sam 2:12).  It is not to mean, being the sons of the High Priest, they do not know about God, His provision, His control over everything, etc. Rather, it is to say that they have not shown the respect and fear due to God. It is to show that they are both knowledgeable and sinners.
Hophni and Phinehas took the offering before it was burnt while it is raw meat and before it was offered to God. Let alone eating the meat from the sacrifice of God, one will answer before God for failure to offer First fruits, Tithe, Firstborn due to carelessness. ‘Tithe’ is from money, ‘first fruits’ from cereals and vegetables, ‘firstborn’ from animals as well as one’s sons.  Offering these is Christian duty.

In the same way the ravenous Hophni and Phinehas were called ‘Belial’ (naughty person) for eating the offering to God before the meat is burnt, before it ascends to God, today there are people who steal from the tithe, first fruit, first born offerings made by Christians in the House of God. The worldly quest of Hophni and Phinehas was unable to save them from their ultimate demise. The same way they fell in the hands of their enemies and were left unburied, those who loot from the House of God, would be smitten with sickness of all sorts, calamity will fall upon them, and will not escape punishment in hell.

Holy Scriptures are written for us to learn from them and this story warns us not to invite harm upon us by endeavoring for worldly ends at the expense of the everlasting spiritual gain, and advises us to decide today to turn away from our sinful paths. As St. Paul in Romans 8: 6 tells us “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
 
 2.  Committing adultery in front of God’s Tabernacle
Adultery is extremely abhorred by God; and is a sin that stains the entire body. Other sins are committed outside of the body; whereas adultery is committed in one’s own body and hence smears that body with its filth as it is written in (1Cor 6: 18), “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”   
 
 Hophni and Phinehas used to commit adultery with women in spiritual service in front of God’s Tabernacle. The sin committed by these individuals is of extreme magnitude because they committed adultery in front of the Tabernacle (1Samuel 2:  22).   God is absolutely Holy and Wants us to serve Him in purity. “For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”  (Lev 11:44)  Relying on worldly things instead of God is itself adultery. The prayer, the offering, and the service performed by people while at the same time they rely on the relatives they have, their authority, wealth or knowledge is useless. 

First and for most, adultery in these forms need to be cast aside. Are our services to the Church really performed in cleanliness and spirituality? It is public knowledge that side by side priests and hermits as well as deacons who serve in cleanliness and holiness, there are others who commit adultery, and become headaches to the community of priests and the laity for their audacity for demanding to participate in performance of Church services. The calamity that befell Israel due to the sins of Hophni and Phinehas, could happen to us today and we could lose greatly in missing the blessing of God and suffer His Wrath due to the audacity of people who take part in Church services while being so unclean.

When Israel went out of Egypt and started the journey to the Promised Land, they went through heathen lands. When they settled at Shittim village, men of Israel looked on women of the heathen land with lust.  One Israelite slept with a Midianitish woman at the Tabernacle. Son of the priest Aeron, Alazar’s son Phinehas, jealous for the laws of God, killed both of them by stabbing them with spear on their stomachs. Consequently, God withdrew His Anger and stopped His Wrath. And God promised priesthood to his kin for eternity. “And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel” (Num.25:13). 

Likewise, just like Alazar’s son, Phinehas, today we need to feel the pain the Church suffers and rebuke people who impose themselves to take part in Church services while keeping their bodies unclean. Christians who see unclean people enter the Church to perform services and yet does nothing, while being well aware that good deed is expected of Christians, will face God’s judgment for doing nothing. People are temples of God. We should not be quiet or do nothing when we see our fellow people defile their bodies due to adultery, prejudices, conceit, theft, and other sins. If the people listen to us they would benefit, if they do not, they pile punishment upon themselves (Prov. 25:22). 
 
3. Extinguished the fire burning in the night at the Tabernacle
Hophni and Phinehas extinguished the light that burn in the night at the Tabernacle as sacrifice for God (1Sam2:28).  Disrupting presentation of sacrifices to God is disrespecting God. God disrespects those who disrespect Him, and respects those who respect Him. “…for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” (1Samu 2:30).   Are we bringing the tithe, first fruit, and first born our early fathers used to offer to God?
 
To be continue…… 
 
Source: 
• መጻሕፍተ ነገሥት አርባዕቱ ፤ በአንድምታ ትርጓሜ፤ 2000 ዓ.ም፡፡ ትነሣኤ መሳተሚያ ድርጅት፤ አዲስ አበባ ኢትዮጵያ፡፡ 
(Commentary on the four books of kings: 1Samuel, chapter 4-6 (2008); Tinsae printing press, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.)
• መ/ር ብዙነህ ሺበሺ (ኅዳር 1-15፣ 2008 ዓ.ም ስምዐ ጽድቅ ጋዜጣ)፤ ፄዋ ጽዮን – የጽዮን ምርኮ፤ ገጽ 8-9፡፡  
((Adopted and translated from: Memher Bezuneh Shibeshi (November 11-25, 2015,).The Captivity of Zion. “Sem’atsidk Newspaper” a bimonthly Newspaper published by Mahibere Kidusan.  pp.8-9.) 
• The Holy Bible (KJV)
Translation: Mesfin Zegeye & Kassa Nigus 

Neglected parenthood: Lessons from disobedient of Eli and his sinful sons

December 19, 2016

There are many things that one can learn from the Biblical story in the first book of Samuel chapter 4 to 7. The story teaches us about famous examples of neglectful parenting, the power and mercy of God, the repulsiveness of sin, the eventual fall of the haughty, the blessing of the righteous, the demise of the impudent, etc.  Moreover, it is the symbolic depiction of the salvation presented in New Testament teachings. The following is the breakdown of this story.

Part – 1

  The captivity of the Ark of the Covenant (1Sam.4:1-22)

During the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines, the Israelites were defeated and four thousand of them were killed. At this point the elders of Israel deliberated on the issue and said, “Today we are defeated by Philistines because we entered the battle field without the Ark of the Covenant”.  
 

 Thus, in order to overcome the Philistines, the Ark of Zion shall come to us; the sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, shall come with the Ark of Zion, they decided.  When The Ark of Zion arrived at the battlefield there was great joy and chanting; since in the past Israelites enjoyed victory whenever the Ark of the Covenant is with them. However, contrary to their expectation, in the battle that followed thirty thousand Israelites were killed, the two sons of Eli the High Priest, Hophni and Phinehas died, and the Ark of the Covenant was taken.  
 

A man, who escaped from the battle, went to the city and told Eli the priest about the captivity of the Ark of the Covenant, the death of Hophni and Phinehas and the loss of many heroes of Israel in the fighting. Eli was stricken with great sorrow, and fell from his chair and died. When, his daughter in law Tamar, Phinehas’ wife, near her delivery time, heard the tidings of the battle and that the Ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, great pain gripped her and her delivery began. She gave birth to a son, whom she named ‘Chabod’ meaning glory is gone from Israel.
 

In the past, Israelites, thanks to the Ark of Zion, parted and crossed the sea of Jordan; defeated the Ammonites, Persians, Moabites and brought down the wall of Jericho to enter the promised land.
 

Here one can raise questions about the Israelites being crushed by the Philistines, the captivity of the ark of Zion, the death of Eli and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas. The main reason for all these is the Sin committed by Hophni and Phinehas and the disobedience and neglectful parenting of Eli.
 

This story of the sin committed by Hophni and Phinehas and the disobedience of Eli and his neglectful parenting is significant in its relevance to Christians because it revolves around a man who knew the Lord and yet tolerated the sins of his adult children and provoked God’s Wrath as a result. 
 

God endowed Eli both the privilege of priesthood and forty years of reign over Israel. But Eli served the interests of his children more than God. The Lord sent a prophet to rebuke Eli the High Priest because he failed to discipline his two adult sons. Yet Eli remained a passive parent to the end.  God revealed Himself to Prophet Samuel and called him to be his prophet because Israel’s priesthood under Eli’s leadership grew increasingly corrupt.  The wicked behavior of Eli’s two sons caused many Israelites to despise the offerings at the Lord’s temple.
 

Despite this rebuke, Eli took no action against his sons other than pass on weak warnings that they were in danger of provoking God’s wrath.   Eli’s sons had grown into hardened sinners. Eli’s greatest mistake was his negligence in reprimanding his children. Because of Eli’s lack of action in response to God’s reprimand, He took measure, “Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?”  (1 Samuel 2:29) As it is stated in (Mat.10:37) “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”. 
 

Eli was separated from God because the one who couldn’t reprimand his children doesn’t love them which in turn abuses God’s Command. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Prov.13:24).  Parents, who don’t reproach and follow up on the day today activities of their children, not only expose them to risky life but to eventual destruction of the country. 
 

Parents, who raise their children in accordance with Church teachings, produce responsible descendants who shoulder duties from the Church and the country in general. Eli lost himself and his children because of his negligence to rebuke his sons. Today also, parents who fail to discipline their children are straying away from the right path, and ignore to correct undesirable conduct in their children, must learn from the fate of Eli.
  To be continue…

Source: 

• መጻሕፍተ ነገሥት አርባዕቱ ፤ በአንድምታ ትርጓሜ፤ 2000 ዓ.ም፡፡ ትነሣኤ መሳተሚያ ድርጅት፤ አዲስ አበባ ኢትዮጵያ፡፡ (Commentary on the four books of kings: 1Samuel, chapter 4-6 (2008); Tinsae printing press, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.)

• በመ/ር ብዙነህ ሺበሺ (ኅዳር 1-15፣ 2008 ዓ.ም ስምዐ ጽድቅ ጋዜጣ)፤ ፄዋ ጽዮን – የጽዮን ምርኮ፤ ገጽ 8-9፡፡  (Adopted and translated from: Memher Bezuneh Shibeshi (November 11-25, 2015,).The Captivity of Zion. “Sem’atsidk Newspaper” a bimonthly Newspaper published by Mahibere Kidusan.pp.8-9.)
  Translation: Mesfin Zegeye & Kassa Nigus 

Zion: Epitome of Saint Mary

December 2, 2016
By Kassa Nigus 

images_3.jpg

Originally, Mount Zion is a hill in Jerusalem just outside the walls of the Old City on which David built his palace and where he also brought the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 5:7, 1 Chronicles 11:5; 1 Kings 8:1, 2 Chronicles 5:2). Later in a wider sense, the term began to be used to refer to the entire Land of Israel.  
 

However, Biblically ‘Zion’ symbolizes St. Mary. The prophets foretold the fulfillment of God’s Promise to save mankind through the Incarnation of the Son of God from the Virgin Mary and they personified St. Mary by ‘Zion’. Some among the prophets who foretold about St. Mary symbolically are cited below:  

The prophet David 

• “And of Zion it shall be said, this and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her” (Psalm 87: 5).  St. David has forecasted about the birth of man (the Son of God) Jesus Christ from St. Mary; symbolizing Mary by Zion.  
• “For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Psalm 132: 13-14) This refers to St. Mary because God has chosen her for motherhood.  As God is eternal, St. Mary as a mother of God is also called the Mother of God for eternity.
• “But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved and he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established forever” (Ps 78: 68-69). In his work known as Anketse Berhan, St. Yared, the great Ethiopian composer of hymnography said of the Mother of God, “You become the city of God on earth in place of the highest city in heaven – wherein God resides”. From this we understand that St. David used ‘Mount Zion’ to describe St. Mary. God built His sanctuary (Mary) through spotlessness and holiness and in ultimate wisdom.  Similar verse, “I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple” (Is. 6:1). 

The prophet Zephaniah 
He joyfully foretells that Mary is “the exalted Daughter of Zion: Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.”  (Zeph 3:14) 

 The Prophet Zechariah
“… I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.” (Zech 4: 2-3).  From this we can understand that the Prophet Zechariah has seen St. Mary in the form of candlestick beautified by gold. 

The prophet Isaiah 
In regard to her perpetual virginity, it is central to the teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and in accordance with which the Prophet Isaiah‘s prophesy, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa 7:14). 

The Prophet Ezekiel 
The Church very frequently refer to St. Mary as "eternal virgin” and a three-fold virgin – before, during and after birth as the prophet Ezekiel prophesized,  “Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. Then said the Lord unto me; this gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut”. (Ezekiel 44:2). 

The Ethiopian church commentaries analysis shows us the threefold virginity of St. Mary symbolizing it thus:  Saint Mary by ‘The East’; her womb by ‘the Sanctuary’; while the phrases ‘this gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened’ refers to the perpetual (three fold) virginity of St. Mary.  

The Ark of the Covenant
The other known symbols of St. Mary are the Ark of Zion as well as the Ark of Noah. The Ark of the Covenant is the place of the presence of God, being kept therein the tablets of the Law given to the Prophet Moses. In comparison, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the living Ark who bears in herself not the word of God written ‘on stone’, but the very Word of God, the Logos, made flesh, become her son; who carries in herself; who carries in herself the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Eucharist Christ. 

Generally, Mount Zion and the Ark of the Covenant are the very figure of St. Mary as the above prophets foretold her symbolically. Based on this biblical background the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has built the Church dedicated to Saint Mary named as Zion Mary wherein commemorates the Consecration of Ark of the covenant associated with miracles done during Old Testament times. 

  May the prayer and intersession of Saint Mary be up on us all!

Source: 
• መዝሙረ ዳዊት ንባቡና ትርጓሜው ፡ 1950 ዓ.ም አርቲስቲክ ማተሚያ ቤት፡፡ 
• መጽሐፈ ዚቅ ዘሕዳር ጽዮን፡፡ 
• The Holy Bible: King James Version. 

Abortion in the Teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church

November 01, 2016
    

mother_and_baby.jpg

     Abortion is equal to killing.
 
   In Exodus 20:13, God commanded us not to kill: "Thou     shalt not kill."  This applies to the unborn foetus as well.
 
   
   
 
 
The Beginning of Life

The Holy Bible tells us that Almighty God created man in His image and likeness. (Genesis 1:26) and because He wanted the humans to reproduce and fill the earth, He gave them holy matrimony. Since then, marriage has been the source of new lives in this world. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church teaches that matrimony is God-given sacrament by which a man and a woman live in unison and harmony to give birth to children. In other words, marriage is the field where the seed of life is sowed. 

The command God gave us to ‘multiply and fill the earth’ is fulfilled through lawful holy matrimony.  Every person is made of the blood of his/her parents. Job the tolerant says “Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.” (Job 10:8-12).  This shows that the semen from the father is sent to the mother’s womb to give out new life. 

St. Athanasius of Alexandria, one of the church scholars of the fourth century AD, taught the following:  

“O You, Who takes a child from his father’s waist to the woman’s womb, 
Who clots him after he is formed as fluid, 
You breathe out the breath of life into him
On the fortieth day, you designate him for wealth or poverty, for honour or condemnation 
You then take him out of there 
You open his eyes and show him his grave 
You open his throat and let him cry
 You move his hands and feet so that he reaches out to his mother’s breast 
O You, Who brings him up to adulthood and old age.”
(Liturgy of Athanasius, No. 113-115)

These words show us the means God created for humans to reproduce and perpetuate their race.  St. David restates this fact saying “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” (Psalms 100:3)

St. Athanasius’s words are explained in our church as follows: 

Athanasius makes reference to the forty days after fertilization not to mean that God determines whether the individual becomes rich or poor, righteous or wicked. Rather, it means that until the fortieth day, the embryo remains in a fluid state, almost invisible. On the fortieth day, the embryo takes the shape of a tail and acquires all its organs. After birth, the individual will enjoy wealth and righteousness or suffer poverty and condemnation depending on how he uses his body which is created on the fortieth day. That’s why St. Athanasius mentioned the forty days.  

Church fathers further elaborate the matter saying that after the baby is born it opens its eyes and throat; an angel reveals to it its burial ground and let it test the soil from the grave; the baby then cries bitterly without shedding any tears. It will later shed tears at its death.  

According to the teaching of our church, man is made of both body and soul. The church believes that both the body and the soul are created simultaneously; none is created before the other. (Genesis 1:26) This implies that children acquire both body and soul concurrently from their parents.  

Just as fire ignites when two stones collide, the human soul also comes into existence through sexual intercourse between parents. And just as butter resides in milk, the human soul is also embedded in the body. 

   Termination of Pregnancy (Abortion) 

Abortion is practiced in different parts of the world and there are different viewpoints regarding the practice. Let’s now discuss the stance of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church regarding abortion. 

According to the teachings of our church, termination of pregnancy (abortion) is totally prohibited. The church condemns any attempt to hinder pregnancy (fertilization) during sexual intercourse let alone abortion of a living foetus. Based on the story of (Awnan) Onan recorded in the Holy Bible, the church teaches that abortion is punishable by God. (Genesis 38:8-10)

Our church elaborates the story of Onan as follows:
Judah took a wife named Tamar for his firstborn son. But Judah’s son was unhappy because Tamar was a Canaanite, from gentiles with no prophesy told for them. He, therefore, stayed away from her and was unwilling to have sexual intercourse with her. God slew the first born for his arrogance and jealousy. Judah then told Onan to marry his brother’s wife. However, Onan knew that a child born from Tamar will not be regarded as his own son. So, when he slept with Tamar, he spilled his semen outside her womb. God also slew Onan for his envy and evil act. 

As we discussed earlier, if fertilization takes place after sexual intercourse, new life is conceived in the woman’s womb. Specially, on the fortieth day, as the foetus takes a human form, its right for life are supposed to be recognized. The church teaches that couples should suspend sexual intercourse since the time when the mother knows that she has conceived a baby. 

As the foetus takes the human form on the fortieth day, its rights are recognized by the church. Our church believes that the foetus will rise from its grave at the end of the world just as its parents do. In the interpretation of the Gospel, the church teaches that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ fasted for forty days and nights to atone for the sins of all who took the human form on the fortieth day of their conception.      

Our church also teaches that God visits humans even when they are in their mothers’ wombs. When St. John the Baptist was visited by the Holy Spirit before his birth, he prostrated for St. Virgin Mary and Our Lord Jesus Christ Who was in the virgin’s womb. (Luke 1:41-45) God also said to Jeremiah " Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."  (Jeremiah 1:5) 

Therefore, the church condemns abortion because it believes that the foetus is a living human being though it is not born yet because it has not completed its period in the womb. It considers any attempt to abort the embryo as an act of killing a human being. In Exodus 20:13, God commanded us not to kill: "Thou shalt not kill."  This applies to the unborn foetus as well.

The issue of tampering with pregnancy is further elaborated in Fitiha Negest. In chapter 24, it explains that couples who are interested in sexual intercourse alone try to abort the foetus using different tools and drugs. It also mentions that people might want to avoid pregnancy to keep the woman’s posture intact or due to fear that they might not have the resources to raise a child (children). However, all these are un-Christian assumptions and acts. 

The book goes on to explain that killing a foetus could be worse than killing a born person. Unlike those of us living in this world, foetuses are pure and have never had sinful experiences. Besides, no one knows their destinies. They can end up being popes or leaders. 

Fiteha Negest also issues a verdict on anyone who terminates a woman’s conception through witchcraft. It says “If a man terminates a woman’s conception through witchcraft and engages in sexual misconduct with her, let him repent throughout his life. When he is sick or he is on the verge of death, let him partake from the Holy Communion for he has committed three grave sins: sexual misconduct, murder and witchcraft."

The book also adds a related verdict of church fathers: "If women abort children conceived through sexual misconduct and conceal their sins let them depart from their fellow believers throughout their lives."  But then it rules that the time be shortened to ten years for the sake of God’s love for us. 

   Abortion as a ‘ Right’   

In some countries, terminating pregnancy is viewed in light of women’s rights. However, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church does not accept this point of view. People who are tied together in holy matrimony are unified into one being and hence are supposed to have one will. (Mathew 19:6) The man has power over his wife’s body, and vice versa. (1 Corinthians 7:4) Both are responsible for what happens in their marriage. Hence, the church encourages consensus and tolerance between couples. It teaches that both parents share the same rights and obligations in giving birth to children and raising them. 

Plus, the church firmly teaches that children, though not born yet, have the right to life once they are conceived. None of the parents should consider abortion as their rights. The church never accepts abortion even if the parents might be in favour of it. And in any discussion on such matters, father confessors always rule out the option of abortion and reflect the church’s stance as they are its ambassadors. 

As the church has a firm stance on the right of the unborn child to life, the only option couples are left with to avoid pregnancy is abstinence. If couples decide not to engage in any sexual intercourse, they have the right to do so. 

However, it is highly likely that married couples engage in sexual intercourse though they might not give serious thought to the prospect of giving birth to children. They usually engage in such intercourse to satisfy their bodily desires. None of us can analyse how God uses this intercourse to bring out new life out of it.  

In Psalms 27 verse 10, St. David says "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up."  This shows that parents engage in sexual intercourse primarily to satisfy their sexual appetite, and that God, in His boundless wisdom, makes life out of that. St. David also mentions that God protects children starting from their days in their mothers ‘wombs. (Psalms 116:6) 
___________
Source: This article appeared in one of the editions of ‘Hamer’ magazine published monthly by Mahibere Kidusan. The content of the article is taken from a study conducted by Deacon Zena Birhanu and presented at a symposium Mahibere Kidusan convened in 1995 E.C /2002 G.C at the Postgraduate Hall of Addis Ababa University.

Note: Fetha Nagast translated as "Law of the Kings") is a book of law that has been in use in Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido church since at least the l6th. cent. The first part of Fetha Nagast deals with mostly ecclesiastic affairs. The second part, concerning issues pertaining to the laity, such as family law, debt, civil administration etc. It was compiled from the Bible, writings of early Church fathers including St. Basil and St. Hippolytus, and various canons adopted at the Council of Nicaea, the Council of Antioch, and others.

    Translation: Tsegaye Girma & Kassa Nigus 

Abortion in the Teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church

November 01, 2016
The Beginning of Life

The Holy Bible tells us that Almighty God created man in His image and likeness. (Genesis 1:26) and because He wanted the humans to reproduce and fill the earth, He gave them holy matrimony. Since then, marriage has been the source of new lives in this world. 

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church teaches that matrimony is God-given sacrament by which a man and a woman live in unison and harmony to give birth to children. In other words, marriage is the field where the seed of life is sowed. 
The command God gave us to ‘multiply and fill the earth’ is fulfilled through lawful holy matrimony.  Every person is made of the blood of his/her parents. Job the tolerant says “Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.” (Job 10:8-12).  This shows that the semen from the father is sent to the mother’s womb to give out new life. 
 
St. Athanasius of Alexandria, one of the church scholars of the fourth century AD, taught the following:  

“O You, Who takes a child from his father’s waist to the woman’s womb, 
Who clots him after he is formed as fluid, 
You breathe out the breath of life into him
On the fortieth day, you designate him for wealth or poverty, for honour or condemnation 
You then take him out of there 
You open his eyes and show him his grave 
You open his throat and let him cry
 You move his hands and feet so that he reaches out to his mother’s breast 
O You, Who brings him up to adulthood and old age.”
(Liturgy of Athanasius, No. 113-115)
 
These words show us the means God created for humans to reproduce and perpetuate their race.  St. David restates this fact saying “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” (Psalms 100:3)
 
St. Athanasius’s words are explained in our church as follows: 
 
Athanasius makes reference to the forty days after fertilization not to mean that God determines whether the individual becomes rich or poor, righteous or wicked. Rather, it means that until the fortieth day, the embryo remains in a fluid state, almost invisible. On the fortieth day, the embryo takes the shape of a tail and acquires all its organs. After birth, the individual will enjoy wealth and righteousness or suffer poverty and condemnation depending on how he uses his body which is created on the fortieth day. That’s why St. Athanasius mentioned the forty days.  
 
Church fathers further elaborate the matter saying that after the baby is born it opens its eyes and throat; an angel reveals to it its burial ground and let it test the soil from the grave; the baby then cries bitterly without shedding any tears. It will later shed tears at its death.  
 
According to the teaching of our church, man is made of both body and soul. The church believes that both the body and the soul are created simultaneously; none is created before the other. (Genesis 1:26) This implies that children acquire both body and soul concurrently from their parents.  
 
Just as fire ignites when two stones collide, the human soul also comes into existence through sexual intercourse between parents. And just as butter resides in milk, the human soul is also embedded in the body. 
 
 Termination of Pregnancy (Abortion) 
Abortion is practiced in different parts of the world and there are different viewpoints regarding the practice. Let’s now discuss the stance of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church regarding abortion. 
According to the teachings of our church, termination of pregnancy (abortion) is totally prohibited. The church condemns any attempt to hinder pregnancy (fertilization) during sexual intercourse let alone abortion of a living foetus. Based on the story of (Awnan) Onan recorded in the Holy Bible, the church teaches that abortion is punishable by God. (Genesis 38:8-10)
 
Our church elaborates the story of Onan as follows:
 
Judah took a wife named Tamar for his firstborn son. But Judah’s son was unhappy because Tamar was a Canaanite, from gentiles with no prophesy told for them. He, therefore, stayed away from her and was unwilling to have sexual intercourse with her. God slew the first born for his arrogance and jealousy. Judah then told Onan to marry his brother’s wife. However, Onan knew that a child born from Tamar will not be regarded as his own son. So, when he slept with Tamar, he spilled his semen outside her womb. God also slew Onan for his envy and evil act. 
 
As we discussed earlier, if fertilization takes place after sexual intercourse, new life is conceived in the woman’s womb. Specially, on the fortieth day, as the foetus takes a human form, its right for life are supposed to be recognized. The church teaches that couples should suspend sexual intercourse since the time when the mother knows that she has conceived a baby. 
 
As the foetus takes the human form on the fortieth day, its rights are recognized by the church. Our church believes that the foetus will rise from its grave at the end of the world just as its parents do. In the interpretation of the Gospel, the church teaches that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ fasted for forty days and nights to atone for the sins of all who took the human form on the fortieth day of their conception.      
 
Our church also teaches that God visits humans even when they are in their mothers’ wombs. When St. John the Baptist was visited by the Holy Spirit before his birth, he prostrated for St. Virgin Mary and Our Lord Jesus Christ Who was in the virgin’s womb. (Luke 1:41-45) God also said to Jeremiah " Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."  (Jeremiah 1:5) 
 
Therefore, the church condemns abortion because it believes that the foetus is a living human being though it is not born yet because it has not completed its period in the womb. It considers any attempt to abort the embryo as an act of killing a human being. In Exodus 20:13, God commanded us not to kill: "Thou shalt not kill."  This applies to the unborn foetus as well.     
The issue of tampering with pregnancy is further elaborated in Fitiha Negest. In chapter 24, it explains that couples who are interested in sexual intercourse alone try to abort the foetus using different tools and drugs. It also mentions that people might want to avoid pregnancy to keep the woman’s posture intact or due to fear that they might not have the resources to raise a child (children). However, all these are un-Christian assumptions and acts. 
 
The book goes on to explain that killing a foetus could be worse than killing a born person. Unlike those of us living in this world, foetuses are pure and have never had sinful experiences. Besides, no one knows their destinies. They can end up being popes or leaders. 
 
Fiteha Negest also issues a verdict on anyone who terminates a woman’s conception through witchcraft. It says “If a man terminates a woman’s conception through witchcraft and engages in sexual misconduct with her, let him repent throughout his life. When he is sick or he is on the verge of death, let him partake from the Holy Communion for he has committed three grave sins: sexual misconduct, murder and witchcraft."    
The book also adds a related verdict of church fathers: "If women abort children conceived through sexual misconduct and conceal their sins let them depart from their fellow believers throughout their lives."  But then it rules that the time be shortened to ten years for the sake of God’s love for us. 
 
 Abortion as a ‘ Right’   
In some countries, terminating pregnancy is viewed in light of women’s rights. However, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church does not accept this point of view. People who are tied together in holy matrimony are unified into one being and hence are supposed to have one will. (Mathew 19:6) The man has power over his wife’s body, and vice versa. (1 Corinthians 7:4) Both are responsible for what happens in their marriage. Hence, the church encourages consensus and tolerance between couples. It teaches that both parents share the same rights and obligations in giving birth to children and raising them. 
Plus, the church firmly teaches that children, though not born yet, have the right to life once they are conceived. None of the parents should consider abortion as their rights. The church never accepts abortion even if the parents might be in favour of it. And in any discussion on such matters, father confessors always rule out the option of abortion and reflect the church’s stance as they are its ambassadors. 
 
As the church has a firm stance on the right of the unborn child to life, the only option couples are left with to avoid pregnancy is abstinence. If couples decide not to engage in any sexual intercourse, they have the right to do so. 
 
However, it is highly likely that married couples engage in sexual intercourse though they might not give serious thought to the prospect of giving birth to children. They usually engage in such intercourse to satisfy their bodily desires. None of us can analyse how God uses this intercourse to bring out new life out of it.  
In Psalms 27 verse 10, St. David says "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up."  This shows that parents engage in sexual intercourse primarily to satisfy their sexual appetite, and that God, in His boundless wisdom, makes life out of that. St. David also mentions that God protects children starting from their days in their mothers ‘wombs. (Psalms 116:6) 
___________
Source: this article appeared in one of the editions of ‘Hamer’ magazine published monthly by Mahibere Kidusan. The content of the article is taken from a study conducted by Deacon Zena Birhanu and presented at a symposium Mahibere Kidusan convened in 1995 E.C /2002 G.C at the Postgraduate Hall of Addis Ababa University.
Note: Fetha Nagast translated as "Law of the Kings") is a book of law that has been in use in Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido church since at least the l6th. cent. The first part of Fetha Nagast deals with mostly ecclesiastic affairs. The second part, concerning issues pertaining to the laity, such as family law, debt, civil administration etc. It was compiled from the Bible, writings of early Church fathers including St. Basil and St. Hippolytus, and various canons adopted at the Council of Nicaea, the Council of Antioch, and others.
Abortion is equal to killing. In Exodus 20:13, God commanded us not to kill: "Thou shalt not kill."  This applies to the unborn foetus as well.     
  •   Translation: Tsegaye Girma & Kassa Nigus

The Holy Cross According to the Teachings of Ethiopian Scholars

October 11, 2016

cross1.jpg

The mysterious meaning of the word Cross in the theological context connotes the way how we achieved everlasting joy due to the great love of God, and the passion of Christ that we received for our salivation …

which cannot be seen in flesh but can be contemplated, and those Christians who received persecution as bearer of the Cross having faith of the only Son of God Jesus Christ. 

Literally, the Cross is a means for the proclamation of everlasting peace, the throne of love, a sign of peace, and our pride to resist the evil one. 

Based on these, indigenous Ethiopian scholars taught and wrote about the glory of the Holy Cross. St. Yared and the golden age figure Abba Giorgis of Gasicha are among the Ethiopian scholars who witnessed the glory of the Holy Cross. Hence, it is better to present their thought in the following subtitles for Christians when we celebrate the finding of the True Cross.

The Holy Cross is the power and wisdom of God that made devil to be ashamed and flee

“If Satan knew his defeat by the Cross of the Son, he wouldn’t urge Jews to crucify and kill Christ the Nazareth, who is the redeemer.” Satan was defeated by the Cross he implanted with mischief and felt ashamed by his own false advice to the Jews.

“He made a pit and dug it and is fallen in to the ditch which he made” (Ps7; 15) 
St Yared relate his hymn with this psalm of David and amplified the value of the cross for us to be purified from the evil mind and a means to have the sprinkling precious blood of Christ on the Cross which pushed Satan out from believers’ heart. (ICor1; 18) Zemare (a hymn of St.yared.p136) 

In relation to this, when he explained about what was hidden to us before the ages “How amazing is his deed about the Cross-which ashamed Satan, destroyed the consequence of sin on Soul and flesh, avoided corruption of the human body. The power and wisdom of the Cross is amazing and wonderful. “(I Cor 2:7 Haymanote Abew Ze Kidus Athnatewos, The book of Ziq and Mezmur: p.21)

The Cross is the accomplishment of love by which Satan tied up, the love of God for us is revealed. Condemning Satan, we believed in Christ and saved by his Cross. We have seen the love of God for us by means of the Cross.

“By the power of the Cross Satan was arrested. Today the Cross is glorified, the world is saved, God is praised, and man achieved freedom” (Degua-ze Meskel).

The Cross is an altar on which the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, is crucified (Jn. 1:29), a means of joy for those who were saddened, as sung by St. Yared. 

“He was crucified on the Cross by His own will like a meek lamb he followed the slaughterers to be slaughtered. By this the world became bleached, the sad for 5500 years rejoiced, first person Adam who became poor by losing his grace is saved from his poverty.”

By this he meant that the Cross is the way, God revealed His love for us on it, a means that changed the word in our Sinner ears “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rages…” (Isa.64:6/, and enabled us to hear the voice of mercy, accomplishment of love and unchangeable testament. St. Yared praised the Holy Cross in the above hymns that beautified Ethiopia and prospers the human bones. /Rev 13:18, Degua-Zemesekal/ Really the altar of our salivation, the Cross is a shield of body and soul, a real rest for broken heart, and a state of conciliation for disturbed minds, /Zemare: p.82/

The Cross is a charter of reconciliation in which we heard the merciful voice of God and a means of our restoration from migration. “While He was on the Cross, the Son of God, Christ cried to His Father and said “forgive your hand’s work, do not destroy your own creature, do not leave the creature of your right hand as wandering or disappearing.”

“Adam disobeyed the law and ate the fruit of the tree. But, O Father look at the Cross on which they crucified me as a sinner”  Saying this on behalf of Christ, St. Yared tells us that the Cross destroyed our transgression, and brought complete peace to our conscious. The Cross is a means to attain the mercy of God when we sinned against God. /Heb. 9:29/ and a means of restoration from our miserable life. /Gen. 3:22, Zemare Ze-Fasika: p.86, Luke 23:34/

The Holy Cross is an altar on which Christ, the arch priest of the Father, presented Himself as a chosen sacrifice to restore our original state, and to reconcile us with His Father, the Holy Spirit and with Himself. It is a permanent charter or reconciliation according to St. Yared’s hymn in the fifth part of Zemare called Mestir, which is specifically dedicated to the mystery of the Eucharist. (p.163)

Of course, being a man of sorrows, surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows, and crucified in order to free us from the bondage of sin. /Gen. 3:6, Isa 53:3, Saint Yared/

As it is written in the book called “Metshafe Kidan”, “our reliance is on the cross to praise it.” Because of the first Adam everybody was dead, but, by the Cross of  the second Adam all became alive. “We are ransomed by the blood of the Cross and sin will not rule on our body again.” /Rom. 6:8, Icor.15:2/  We are also heard that He opened the paradise by His Cross. (Saint Yared)

After St. Yared, who always remembers the cross in his entire life saying, “how sweet are the words of the cross to my throat” Abba Giorgis of Gasicha, the great scholar of the 14th century, explains the theology of the Cross in a very deep mystery as the following.

The Cross is a vessel which contains the bread of life, and in it the Christ’s mystery of salvation is fulfilled.” The Lamb of God was slaughtered on the Cross by the hands of the crucifiers and a dining table of blessing is prepared for the believers.”

“Truly, pure sacrifice is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of holy calf.” By saying this elaborated the role of the Holy Cross in our salvation in his detail and deep taught. /Eph.1:7, Metshafe Mestir p.140, Monday’s Arganon/ The one who eats from this meal of blessing will not be hungry again and will have an everlasting life. For this purpose, Christ Himself was the lamb for the sacrifice, the priest who presented the sacrifice and the Cross was an altar. With these circumstances our salvation is accomplished and He proclaimed His love by mercy./Jn.6:51/

The one who has no any blame, our paschal lamb, Christ was slaughtered on the Cross, Because, of this, the meal of life is prepared for believers./1Cor.5:7/ And again, Abba Giorgis, who is called the pillar of religion, when he explained about the perfect salvation acquired by the Cross, said, “the Cross, which is the redeemer of all humanity, deserves salutation”  By saying this, praise with contemplation, he translated Christ’s mystery of salvation by interrelating with the word of the Apostle. /2Cor.5:19, Teameho Egzi’e Zezeweter/

The Cross is the Foundation of Faith and the pillar of Religion
“Your Cross is the foundation of faith and a pillar of religion for those who believe and relay on you. Having said this he witnessed that the Cross is a pillar which cannot be shaken by demons, a means to mortify those who stood on us, and a sign which is given to skip from the face of the arrow.” Ps 59:4, Wedasie Meskel (Prasise of the Cross) by Abba Giorgis/  In addition, when he explained the glory of the Cross, he said: “Christ is the light which daily shines on His saints and His Cross is the stand of the light in the church. And the blood of Christ for the redemption of the world is shaded upon it.”

In general, though it is difficult to summarize the theology of the cross in this short article, as mentioned in the introduction, the Cross transmits a message of reconciliation and agreement, a means for the salvation of Adam, who was given for destruction, a tree of life which restored Adam to his original state. A tree for the remission of sin, a source of life, foundation of our salvation, above all things the prophecy of prophets, Apostle’s sermon, paradise of the saint’s joy, rest for sinners, and retreat for Satan. Having the inspiration of the Holy Spirit both these indigenous scholars taught the theology of the Cross as mentioned above./2pet, 1:21,Zemare P.155/

The church, who follows the footsteps of the apostles, on the bases of the patristic taught, witnesses saying “we received grace and we have gained life by the power of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Because of this witness, members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, who washed their clothe by the blood of the lamb, have special place in their heart for the love of the Cross./ Rev.17;14/ They say, “Our hope in the heaven and on Earth is this Cross.” With this song of victory, they have celebrated the anniversary of the True Cross for centuries and it will be continued without having lost its special place of honor until the end of the world. 

  Praise be to the Cross of Christ, the tree of medicine, which is our power and strength!

Source: Taken from “Bulletin” prepared by Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Publication Committee for 2008/2016 anniversary of the True Cross. 

The Holy Cross in the Teachings of Orthodox Tewahedo

October 10, 2016 
The Holy Cross is a sign of peace and foundation of Christianity. The main purpose of this short article for 2008/2016 anniversary of the True Cross is to illustrate that true peace cannot be achieved without the Holy Cross which signify Christ’s passion and death.
When we celebrate the finding of the True Cross to get peace which we need desperately, we should keep in mind that Christ’s Cross is the foundation of peace, and we should announce its mystery to the world.
As we all know there are three basic necessities of human beings. These are: Food, Clothe and Shelter. One thing which is more important than these three is Air/Oxygen. Since oxygen is not countable or calculable in terms of money, economists did not consider it among these necessities. But, they do know how much it is necessary.
 
When it is explained in religious aspects, the very important thing is knowing God and to have faith in Him. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the month of God” Matt.4:4 This is the word of our Lord, the basic principle of our Religion, and a word which is a base for our life.
 
Without any difference peace is very significant to individual life of the human being, family, society, country and to the world. There are some people who try to classify peace as positive and Negative. But in Christian doctrine peace is always positive. With this perspective, there is no negative peace. A peace created by the agreements of people proceeds from peace seeking party and provider. Such kind of peace is based on common interests and is more productive. Also this kind of peace is long lasting.
 
Above all, a peace which is coming from reconciliation with God by repentance and by avoiding sin against God is not only long lasting but also a kind of peace from God Himself.  This is a basic concept when we preach about peace according to the Christian faith and doctrine. When the church uses this perspective on peace and when it is preached this why the effort to bring change on individuals, families, society, country and on the world, will be successful.
 
The Holy Cross is a Foundation of Peace
The Hebrew word “shalom” is found in many Semitic languages and can be defined as “wholeness” and “healthiness’. The word is used for greetings, to wish the best, and to say good bye. According to Kidanewold Kifle’s definition, the Geez equivalent word “Selam” connotes perfect health, rest, reconciliation, unity, wellness, joy happiness, greeting, benediction and  a word of good bye. The Holy Cross and peace relate each other by being a base one for the other. Also because of this meaning of peace, one is a fruit of the other as they interrelate.
 
Scholars say the Holy Cross is a means for reconciliation of the seven contradictory enemies. These seven conflicting enemies are soul and body, Man and Angels, Human beings and God, and Heaven and Earth. The major problem between these conflicting bodies is sin. Sin affected the magnificent relationship between God and Man and human relationship among themselves. The effect of sin is seen in disturbed relationship among human beings. At last, the Holy Cross restored the wonderful relationship between God and Man and between man and his neighbor. Because of this we say the Holy Cross is the foundation of peace and peace is the fruit of the Holy Cross. If we want to understand the relationship between the Holy Cross and peace, and if we want to understand the peace gained from Christ’s Cross and its value to our individual, family, societal, national and worldly life well, we should not try to see the Cross and peace separately.
 
It is true that the Cross was an instrument of criminals. But now, the Holy Cross is a mystery in which God saved the world by the death of His Son. Because of Christ’s death for the transgressions of humans, the mystery of the Holy Cross is salvation, reconciliation, providing peace, eradication sin- which was the reason for life without peace, destroying the wall of enmity between God and human beings, and preaching peace as the necessity of human life. The Holy Cross preaches peace when it is seen on the upper roof of the church, when it is in the hands of Christians when they tie it up on their neck, and when it is painted on the body and clothes of Christians. Off course, the peace which is not in our internal life cannot be achieved by this all. The cross will be a source of peace when we believe on the crucifixion of Christ by understanding eh mystery of the Cross, living the Christian life for the sake of God and by avoidance of sin.
 
The world’s Effort for Peace
Man is a peace seeking being in his nature. But there are reasons to fail what he wants to achieve and what he wants to give for others. These reasons can be religious, political, economic, cultural etc. But the major problem is religious. People do not give much attention for this major problem. In contrast, they try their best to bring peace by their own efforts. Religious institutions work with different international organizations and with governments in addition to their endeavors to teach people to seek peace. 
 
There are a lot of reasons not to have peace. Due to these the world is under the dangers of natural and manmade disasters. States are spending a large amount of money to protect their nation from internal and external enemies. “Peace, Peace…” is being broadcasted in world medias today. The usual sign white dove with olive leaf in its beak is being painted in different magazines, Newspapers, and mass Medias are discussing much about it. The United Nations’ messengers are trying to bring peace and reconciliation in different parts of the world. Awards are given for those who made more efforts to bring peace.
 
These all efforts were to minimize the tensions happened in the world. But human efforts didn’t help to achieve real and everlasting peace to the world. Because, this kind of peace is given only from God.
 
Peace is a Gift of God
As witnessed by St. Paul the Apostle God is a God of peace. “Now the God of peace be with you all” (Rom. 15:33) “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly (Rom.16:20) After His resurrection Jesus Christ himself revealed to disciples and said to them “Peace be unto you” (John.20:23-19) God promised about peace with the following words:-
“I will give peace in the land” Lev.26:6.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you” Jn.14:27.
“The lord will bless his people with peace” Ps.29:11.
“He will speak peace unto his people, and to his saint” Ps.85:8.
“Lord thou wilt ordain peace for us; for thou also hast wrought all our works in us” Isa. 26:12.
“And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quite resting places” Isa.32:18.
 
God promised his people through prophets saying “I will give you peace”. Christ said to His Apostles “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give unto you”. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Jn.14:27. This indicated that true peace comes only from God.
 
When and how this peace will be acquired? The answer is when every individual believes on God with love which is revealed by His Son Jesus Christ. As a result of man’s disagreement with God, man hates and hurts himself and others and his environment as well. So let’s reconcile and agree with God. In the book of Job, Eliphaz the Temanite advises us saying “Acquaint now thyself with him and be at peace; there by good shall come unto thee” (Job.22:21)
 
In relation to this Saint Paul also said; “Now the Lord of peace himself gives you peace always by all means” Thess.3:16.
“And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Philip.4:7.
Christ is the Prince of Peace for He is Our Peace (Ephe.2:14)
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, wonderful counselor, the Mighty God the everlasting father, the Prince of Peace”
As foretold in this prophecy, on the day of Christ’s birth Angeles and shepherds rejoiced together saying “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward….” Luke.2:14.
This is the fruits of Christ’s blood, who died on the Cross to bring peace between God and man and between man and his neighbors.
 
“And having made peace through the blood of His Cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” Col.1:20, as it is written Christ is our peace. Christ shed His blood on the Cross to give us peace. This shed of blood for love is a source of our peace. The Cross, the precious blood shaded on it, is a base and sign of our peace.
St. Yared said the following about the relationship between the Holy Cross and peace. “The Cross is a light for the whole world, a foundation of the church, giver of peace is savior of the world, and for us who believe the Cross is a remedy”.
 
God’s peace can control our heart. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you are called in one body; and be thankful” (Col.3:15).  If we have peace that controls our heart, the other parts of our body will be controlled by our heart and this means all parts are surrendered to the real peace. Now, we can say man is at real rest. How sad it is to be outside this peace and how can it be explained?
 
Peace is the Fruit of the Sprit
 As we are told in Galatians 5:20 “Strife and emulation are fruits of the flesh.” And peace is the fruit of the Sprit. A person who has peace is spiritual; he tries for others to be peaceful and to live peacefully. (Matt.5:9, Eph.6.15) We should live God’s peace in our life. The word of God says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you live peaceably with all men” (Rom.12:18).
“And be at peace among yourselves” (Thess.5:13).
“Depart from evil, and do well; seek peace and pursuit it” (Ps.34:14).
Conclusion
The Sign of Peace
In one side peace is the ultimate desire of a community. Therefore, to have peace we have to do some other things. In another side peace is a precondition to achieve other societal interests. For example where there is no peace, there is no way to development justly and equally. In this case peace and development are inseparable things. 
 
The need for peace is also inseparable from the need for God’s word, Grace and Mercy. Because of our differences of understanding on the source of peace our position on peace will be different. According to Christianity’s teaching peace is the property of God, and a great gift from God to human beings. The main reason for the absence of peace is also disagreement with God, the source of peace.
 
Some people consider peace as their own production. Off course, man in his nature is peaceful and lover of peace. Therefore he pays his most effort to have peace. But Sin is always in between and misdirecting the world. The world, which is controlled by Sin, unable to see the source of peace, but understands the absence of peace which is the result of Sin.
 
The church teaches people that they lost peace because of their disagreement with God. And also the church announces that peace is restored by the prince of peace-Christ and by His Cross. Since it is a religious mystery, a common agreement is not expected. Those who will agree are people who know the word of God and who understand His will. These people should teach others about the need for peace, its source and with what people should do to achieve peace.
 
“But now in Christ Jesus who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken dawn the middle wall of partition between us. (Eph.2:13-14).
 
Based on the above verse, the church and church members should do the following to keep both the church’s and their country’s peace.
 
1. Teaching peace as the gift of God and how much it is needed.
Education can direct Man’s misconduct. Education makes sinners righteous, non-believers believers, and a way to change people’s mind to peace seeking mentality. In this case evangelization is God’s law to preach peace to people. So, we have to teach people the Gospel of peace.
 
2. All believers should have an exemplary life holding peace in their life.
The peace which we are preaching must be reflected in our life. This will have more convincing power than words.
3. Peace keeping is a common responsibility of the church and the government. 
Therefore we have to work together with the government. Peace is the necessity of human beings and a guarantee of existence. Peace is a common interest of human beings, not one group’s world view. The way to serve all human beings is to give peace to them. Hence, having the example of the God of peace Jesus Christ, the church should work on peace. This is the meaning of the Cross. 
May God protect our country’s and people’s peace!
O, king of peace Jesus Christ, gives us your peace. Amen!
Source: Taken from “Bulletin” prepared by Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Publication Committee for 2008/2016 anniversary of the True Cross. 

The End of the Rainy Season

 September 10, 2016
   By Kassa Nigus
The last segment of the rainy season in the Ethiopian Church Calendar consists of 39 days from Nehese 22 – Meskerem 25 (August 28-October 6.) During this time, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church remembers, in her liturgical services, all living things and islands enclosed by water bodies. 

This is the time when the soil becomes less moist; the volume of water decreases; the clean earth, the clear sky and the clean water appear; and the earth gets decorated with flowers.

The end of the rainy season is divided into two parts;

The first part covers from August 22 – August 29 and is recognized by the following names:
A. Egule Qu’at (The fowl of crow): This is nominated after the teachings of St. Yared in his hymn saying “… the fowl of crow praise God….”, and the church associates it to the fact that when the eagle has incubated her egg, the fowl appears in the form of flames devoid of tresses. So, being afraid of the color of her little fowl, the mother crow runs away from her fowl.

During this time, the fowl feels hungry and opens its mouth so that pests and other insects flow towards its mouth, and then it satisfies itself by eating the flying insects through the generosity of God as it is stated in the following readings: “Who provides for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat” (Job 38 :41) ; “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds  them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26).  

The fowl of crow symbolizes all flying creatures in the teachings of the genesis. Among the common readings of these days are sited from the verse “who executes judgment for the oppressed: who gives food to the hungry. The Lord looses the prisoners” (Psalms 146:7).

B. Desseyat (Islands): This is also nominated after the teachings of St. Yared in his hymn saying “The islands are delighted in times of winter.”  Even if the islands are surrounded by water bodies, God saves them and all the creatures living in the islands from the calamities of winter, so they provide praise to their Lord. The church prays for the comfort of all creatures of islands as God saves Naoh, his family, and a remnant of all the world’s animals from the flood through the ark, which is the symbol of the church.

C. Ayne Kulu (The Eyes of All): Farmers patiently wait enduring all the temptations of winter to reap their harvest that is sown in pain (cold weather) of the winter, Christian farmers trust in Lord Jesus Christ that their hope of harvest will be fulfilled. So, the eyes of all wait upon the Lord Jesus Christ.  During this week, the church praises God with different recitals from Psalms:

“The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou gives them their meat in due season. Thou open thine hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Psalms 145:15-16)

“Who gives food to all flesh: for his mercy endures forever. O gives thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endures forever.” (Psalms 136:25-26); (Psalms 104:21-27),

The second part covers from August 30 to September 25 which is termed as:

A. ‘Dawn’, ‘Daybreak’ and ‘Light’: it is because the season when dark clouds begin to move away and the sun resurfaces and shines in the sky.

B. ‘Fruit’ : it is because the seed that was sown early blooms to flower, evolves to budding and ripens to be ready for harvest.

Source:  በሙሉ አስፋው 2001 E.C. ማኅቶተ ዘመን ፡ ገጽ 214-221
Note: the rainy season in Ethiopia covers the period from Senie 25 to Meskerem 26 in Ethiopian Calendar (July 2 to October 6).