A regeneration and is the sacrament through which a person is born again and is accepted into the membership of the church after being baptized by the pouring on or immersion in water three times in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Liberation of the Church
From the beginning the Ethiopian church was affiliated with the See of Saint Mark of Alexandria. After Abba Selama first bishop of Ethiopia, died, Egyptian bishops from Alexandria were appointed to head the Ethiopian church. This continued until the time of Emperor Haile Selassie I.
The Turkish Invasion
About 1528 – 1540 A.D Ahmed Gran led the Turks in a terrible battle against the Ethiopian Christians. Ahmed Gran, an Ethiopian citizen but Moslem, was born in Harrar to the South of Ethiopia. Assisted by all forces of Islam, he attacked the country from one end to the other and successfully opposed the Christians.
Jesuits The Offensive Mission
After the death of Ahmed Gran there was a gradual deterioration of harmony between the two types of Christians, Ethiopians and Catholics.
In the ancient northern capital city of Ethiopia there lived for the most part of his life one of the greatest Ethiopian saints. He was the son of pureblooded Ethiopians, Abyud (Isaac) and Christina, this saint "...whom we know as Yared," is the composer of the great sacred music of the church and is without equal to this day. Yared was born about A.D 505 in Axum, a son to a wealthy Christian family. When Yared was about seven years old his father died and he went to live with his Uncle Gedewon, who was at the time the gabaz (treasurer) of the Axum Tsion (Zion) Church. Yared’s uncle imparted to him a formidable knowledge of theology, natural history and music.
He was an excellent student, and within a period of twenty – five years he had acquired a vast knowledge of music. After Gedewon died, Yared took over the great responsibility of replacing his uncle. He also became a professor of theology, including the Old and New Testaments. He was ordained deacon; then he married and later was ordained priest, as is customary. Yared became communicating with the nine monks.
Abba Pantelewon, one of the nine remained in Axum, and thus communication between him and Yared was convenient. Yared learned much about Western traditions, customs and way of life from Abba Pantelewon. In addition to this, it is said that Yared visited Constantinople twice. Yared himself tells us as follows:"..I went to Rome [Second Rome, Constatinople] where I saw a Church, I knew her and loved her like my own sister, a few years later, I visited her again during the time she was bathing in the river Tigre." Yared composed all the music used for the Ethiopian church’s chants and developed classical musical art forms in the sixth century A.D. The music all speaks of the Creation and the prophecies and the life of Christ – His Advent, His Incarnation, Nativity, His great works and saving acts, His Baptism, Crucifixion, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and His Second Coming.
The music also reflects the national expression and Ideals of Ethiopian people. It is believed that some of the songs, especially those from the Old Testament, were used for singing and praying by many devoted Ethiopian churchmen before Christ. Therefore we must admit the existence of the art of music in Ethiopia during Old Testament times. It was one of the creative works of the African Empire. Notwithstanding Saint Yared of Axum must be credited for most of the music of the Ethiopian Church.
Yared complied the famous Mazbaga Deggua (Hymn of Sorrow). It includes three main stages:
- "Geez," the first stage of the song;
- "Uzil," the second stage, to be sung together with the first;
- "Ararai," a sorrowful, plaintive song.
The Mazbaga Deggua believed to have been written by Yared himself, can be found today in one of the oldest monasteries (the Tana Krikos Monastery). Yared begins his works with the words, "...Halleluia to the Father, Halleluia to the Son, Halleluia to the Holy Spirit." His divine composition is from the Old and New Testaments and from the works of the church fathers Saint Athanasius, Saint John Chrsysostom and Saint Cyril. His work is intricately done, with words suitable for prayers and the Glorification of God.
Though he visited Second Rome, his work is uniquely Ethiopian, bearing no resemblance to Western Notation. It consists of Geez syballic characters and projects the tradition and culture of the Ethiopian people. The different sounds of his chants indicate the joy or sorrow and brave determination of the Christian Ethiopian. Saint Yared lived between the time of Emperor Kaleb and his son Emperor Gabre Masqual. Yared gained information about the Western world not only from Abba Pantelewon but also from Abba Aragawi and Abba Yesehaq (Gerima).
The Tarika Nagast which means "History of Kings," and Gadla Aragawi state that Emperor Gabre Masqal, Abba Aragawi and Saint Yared lived at the same period as close friends. Emperor Gabre Masqal, Abba Aragawi and Saint Yared traveled thoughout Tigre, Begemidir and to Lake Tana together. After two years at Lake Tana, they went to Gaient and built the church of Saint Mariam at Zur Amba. It is said that the Emperor, Abba Aragawi and Yared, while going to the hill on which they built the church, had difficulty finding their way until a guide from God came to them and said to Abba Aragawi, "...Zur Abba Mengale Misraq...." which means "...Abba, turn to the east; you will find the way to the hill." The place is now called Zur Amba because of this miracle, for through the grace of God, they were able to find the right way and to build the church there.
The Saint Anba Khail (Mickel) 46th Patriarch of Alexandria
On March 12th, 767 A.D. the Holy Father Anba Khail (Mickel), the forty-sixth Patriarch of the See Of St. Mark, departed. This father was a monk in the monastery of St. Macarius and he was knowledgeable and ascetic. When Patriarch Theodorus the forty fifth Patriarch, his predecessor, departed the bishops of Lower Egypt (Delta) and the priests of Alexandria gathered in the church of Anba Shenouda in Cairo.
A Dispute arose among them about who was fit, and finally they called Abba Mousa, Bishop of Ouseem, and Abba Petros, Bishop of Mariout. When they arrived, Abba Mousa found the priests of Alexandria obstinate, he rebuked them for that, and dismissed them that night so their minds and souls might calm down.
When they met the next day he mentioned to them the name of the priest Khail the monk in the monastery of St. Macarius. They unanimously agreed to his choice and obtained a decree from the Governor of Egypt to the elders of the wilderness of Sheahat (Wadi El-Natroun) to bring him from the monastery. On their way, when they arrived to Geza they found Father Khail coming along with some elders to fulfill a certain task connected with the monastery. They seized him, bound him, and took him to Alexandria where they ordained him Patriarch on the 17th day of Tute, year 460 A.M. (September 14th, year 743 A.D.). It Happened that there was a drought in the city of Alexandria for two years, and on that day the rain fell heavily for three days and the people of Alexandria considered that a good omen.
During the reign of Marawan the last of the Khalifas of the Umayyad rule and during the governorship of Hefs Ebn El-Walid and during the days of this father many great tribulations fell upon the believers. A large number of the believers fled from Egypt and the number of those who denied Christ was twenty-four thousand, and because of that the Patriarch was in great sorrow until God perished those were responsible for that. This father endured many difficulties from Abdel Malek Ebn-Marawan the new governor. He imprisoned, beat, chained, and tortured him with many other ways of painful tortures, then he released him. The Patriarch went to Upper Egypt to collect alms and when he came back, the Governor took the money from him and threw him back in prison.
King Keriakos of Nubia
When Keriakos King of Nubia knew that, he was extremely enraged, he prepared one hundred thousand soldiers and marched down to Egypt. Going through Upper Egypt he slew all the Muslims that he met, until he reached El Fostat (Cairo), he camped around the city threatening to destroy it. When Abdel Malek the Governor saw the army surrounding the city and that all this had taken place for the sake of the Patriarch, he became terrified, so he released him from prison with great honor. The Governor entreated the Patriarch to mediate peace between him and the king of Nuba (Nubia). The Patriarch agreed to his request, so he went with some of the clergy to meet the king and asked him to accept the peace from abdel Malek which the king accepted and returned back.
Abdel Malek respected the Christians and lifted up all his retribution. When the father the Patriarch prayed for the sake of the Governor's daughter, who was possessed with an unclean spirit, and with his prayers the unclean spirit left her, the Governor increased his respect for the Christians. This father debated with Cosmas the Melchite Patriarch concerning the Hypostatic Union: The Chalcedonian formula of the Pope of Rome. Patriarch Khail wrote him a letter, signed it along with his bishops, which said in it: "...It is not right to say that in Christ there is two distinct Natures or two distinct Persons after the Hypostatic Union." Cosmas was convinced with that and asked to become a bishop under the authority of Abba Khail. When Abba Khail completed his strife, he departed to the Lord whom he loved after he had spent on the Chair of St. Mark twenty-three and half years. Teaching
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