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 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. 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 many devoted Ethiopian churchmen used some of the songs, especially those from the Old Testament, 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 must be credited for most of the music of the Ethiopian Church.
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