The Covenant of St. Mary (Kidane Mihret)

Februray 22, 2017
By Kassa Nigus 


Saints enjoy greater grace before God for forsaking the world and receiving hardship for the love of God. They have received spiritual powers to perform miracles while in this world such as making the dead rise, healing different ailments and driving out demons.

Likewise, one who implores by invoking their names, commemorates them and believes in their role of intercession shall be rewarded as has been confirmed by God.Our Lord says in the Gospel of Mathew 10:41-42 “that if any one receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple; verily I say unto you, he shall in nowise lose his reward.”

Saints intercede not only in the realms of the flesh as the scriptures testify for they are alive in soul. (Ex.32:2-15; Enoch 12:33-40, Luke 20:37-40). The word of God is living, and it works on the living. His covenant never changes and He Himself has said that saints are also living.

The church believes in the covenant and honor bestowed on holy Apostles, martyrs and the righteous. Covenant has been given to them that those who forsook all and followed him by carrying his cross and received hardship for the name and glory of Christ shall sit upon the twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel when the son of man sits on his glorious throne. (Matt. 19:28)

If the Lord said this about the apostles, then how much more effective would be the prayers of the Mother of God for the salvation of her children? We have seen St. Mary receiving the motherhood of the Incarnate Son of God. This motherhood is not merely an honorable title but a responsibility of unceasing work. Being a superior member of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, she responds to the need of the other members seeking the salvation of everyone.

The story of the wedding of Cana of Galilee shows how great the intercession of Virgin Mary is. When St. Mary saw that the wine at the wedding had run out, she informed her Son, “they have no wine” (Jn 2:3). Of course the Lord was aware of that and surely he does not need to be reminded with the need of his children. But He who is full of love is pleased to see the mutual feeling of love in His mother and His children.

Her request was only made once, which shows clearly her confidence in Her Son’s reply, for she did not repeat her request but with every assurance she said to the people, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”  (Jn 2:5)  Through her conversation with the people of the wedding, we can visualize her role in intercession. For she presents our needs to her Son and then directs our hearts to diligently carry out His comandments and to do whatever He tells us.
Accordingly, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church commemorates  the covenant of St. Mary by the name Kidane Mehret.

Kidane Mihret (ኪዳነ ምሕረት) is a Ge’ez phrase which literally means ‘covenant of mercy’. The phrase is used to refer to God’s promise to St. Mary that he would forgive the sins of those who seek her intercession – a fact that underscores the enormous grace of Our Lady before the Almighty.  Kidane Mihret also refers to Yekatit 16 (February 23), the day on which St. Mary received the promise.It is also observed on the 16th day of each month though not as colorfully as on February 23. The day marks one of the 33 feasts of St.Mary.

According to the Ethiopic Synaxarium (pp.365), God has promised St. Mary that he will bless those who celebrate her commemoration, call upon her name, or give alms to the poor even if it were only a cup of cold water. He also promised to bless those who build churches in her name, give cloth to the poor; those who visit the sick, feed the hungry, comfort the grieving, or write the history of her strife.
May her prayer and intercession be with us!!!
• The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Faith, Order of Worship and Ecumenical Relations (1996: 60-62).    
• The book of the saints of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (Synaxarium).