THE EDITOR, Sir:— Please allow me to respond to an article written by the Rev. J. E. C. Farrell and published in the Daily Gleaner on September 11. 1971. The Rev. Farrell, DD- questioned the doctrine of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, one of the oldest in all of Christendom, and It's teachings. The teachings of the Church are founded on the Apostles' experience of the Lord Eyesus Kristos (Jesus Christ) as the Saviour and Creator of the world. The Church is in accord with the first three ecumenical councils that were held between 325-431 A.D. and the Doctrine of Christ that was formulated at these councils. We do not agree with Arianism, Eutychesianism, Nestorianism or Mopsuestianism.
The Orthodox Church very strongly believes that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, and yet does not say that He was mere man; nor does the Church conceive of GOD the Word, apart from His human nature, but truly believes that He was One out of both. GOD. the Word, through Whom all things were made, took flesh and blood and was called Man, yet He lost not; not for the twinkling of the eye, what He was. The Word and the human constitute One Nature and union is established-without losing His original attributes. And says that after the union Jesus Christ is One, knowing the distinction of the Natures and keeping them unconfused with one another. The perfect union of the Divine is supported by St. John the Evangelist when he says: "...In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with GOD and "the Word was GOD —, All, things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made — In Him was Life; and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness understandeth it not — and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth." (St. John 1. reading from verse 1)'.
The Nicean Creed, in its totality, is the fundamental belief of the Orthodox Church, as it is with other Christian Churches. The Creed states:"We believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven, Earth and all things visible and invisible. And we believe in one Lord Eyesus Kristos, the only begotten son of the Father who was with Him before the creation of the world. Light from Light true God from true God, begotten not made of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made and without whom was not anything in Heaven or Earth made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, was made man and was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and from the Holy Virgin Mary. Became man was crucified for our sakes in the days of Pontious Pilate suffered died was buried and rose from the dead on the third day as was written in the Holy Scriptures. Ascended in Glory into Heaven, sat at the right hand of His Father and will come again in Glory to judge the living and the dead: there is no end of His reign. And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Life Giving God, who proceedeth from the Father: we worship and Glorify Him along with the Father and the Son who spoke by the prophets, and we believe in one Holy Universal Apostilic Church. And we believe in one baptism for the remission of sins, and we wait for the resurrection from the dead and the life to come, world without end. Amen -.
The Rev. Farrell said that the Ethiopian Church and its members should not receive support from the Jamaican people. These people, we must not forget are citizens of Jamaica and thus are entitled to all the rights and privileges to which Jamaicans are entitled. Jamaica is a Christian country and should continue to practise what Christ taught. It is not a Christian Principle to deny or to ignore others in need because of their culture and social condition. Are the Church members not entitled to an education, good housing, food, clothing and employment, as any other citizen of Jamaica? Rev. Farrell, you should not forget, sir, as a clergy to adhere to the Christian principles of equality and justice for all, regardless of race, creed and colour. Does the name Rastafarian, apply to an individual or group, diminish that individual's or group's humanity or citizenship? For many years Rastafarians just existed; today they are seeking, with their own incentive, because of the Orthodox Church, to establish themselves as citizens of Jamaica, the world, black men and children of GOD.
Regarding this situation created by Rev. Farrell. Jamaica is put in a situation similar to that of the parable of the Good Samaritan. The people can either be classed with those who passed on the other side or they can receive the crown of being a Good Samaritan. The Church members are calling upon the nation to support them through the Ethiopian Orthodox Community (Jamaica) fund and we hope that we will receive support from the whole Jamaican community.
From my own experiences with Rastafarians since my first visit to the Island last year, I know them to be an honest peace-loving, Godfearing and very creative people, and by their membership in an ancient Christian Church obviously do not oppose Christianity. The Orthodox Church welcomes and appreciates the support of the bishops and leaders of the Churches in Jamaica and also that of His Excellency, Sir Clifford Campbell. These men have shown true leadership responsibility to the whole Jamaican community in that they have included Rastafarians as a part of that community. These leaders are historical persons by the fact that they were blessed of GOD with their offices and also because they have done an historical act in supporting the oldest Christian Church in the world a member of the World Council of Churches, and a Church which has, in its own right made history in Jamaica. We cannot deny that Rastafarians, are an historical people because of their character and uniqueness.
The Church leaders and the Governor-General are helping to establish an historical foundation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Jamaica and that during the period of iheir leadership- For this, GOD and history will not forget them. His Excellency, the Governor-General, the Church leaders and others have had the foresight to give of themselves, to help fellow-humans and a noble cause. Their example is of merit to the whole nation and to emulate them is of virtue.
As a clergyman, I was a little taken aback to know that the Rev. J. E. C. Farrell. D.D., was nebulous or rather vague, as to the validity of the Church as a Christian Church and that he was totally unknowledgeable of its doctrine and teachings. It is always lack of knowledge that creates friction and fear. One should not seek to criticize or to foster doubt in the minds of others, particularly about something of which one has no knowledge. It is here hoped that the Jamaican people would be encouraged to strive together to see the nation in a situation of peace with love one to another practised by all.
We must express our deep and sincere appreciation to His Grace, Archbishop Carter; His Lordship, Bishop Swaby; Bishop Hastings and the committee they represent for their testimony as expressed in a letter to the Daily Gleaner in September and for their continued support of the Ethiopian Church, the Governor-General, Sir Clifford Campbell for his Christian example and to all who have Supported the Ethiopian Orthodox Community (Jamaica) Fund.
I am, etc..
ABBA LAIKE M- MANDEFRO
Head and Administrator
Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the USA and Jamaica
P.O. Box 292,
Nov. 19, 1971.