Church

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT

 
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Melake Sahle Qesis Mulugeta Wondimu
Administrator

A Faith Process

It is God who plants a church. He first plants churches in the hearts of faithful people. Once planted, the seed of a church in the heart of a leader goes through a nurturing process. "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—" (Titus 1:5).Paul’s missionary journeys produced great fruit. The churches which were produced required practical care at their inception and on an on-going basis. Spiritually gifted leaders like Titus saw to that practical care – setting things in order and appointing leaders as needed. We Christians, especially those chosen to serve God’s purpose, have the responsibility of spreading the word of God and shepherd his sheep.

Historical Background

The Ethiopian Orthodox church is one of the ancient churches with a history of more than 2000 years. Ethiopia accepted Christianity in the first century when its Treasure came to Jerusalem 34 AD. Ethiopia has accepted the old covenant during the Solomonic Era and has been worshipping God since that time. After the coming of Jesus Christ Ethiopia accepted Christianity through its representatives who visit Jerusalem every year during Easter time. Ethiopia sends its representative to Jerusalem every year during this time when Israelis come together to celebrate their freedom from Egypt as ordered by God in the Old Testament. As St. Luke described in Acts Vs 8, the Ethiopian Treasure was reading part of the bible and the Holy spirit ordered Philip to go and baptize the Ethiopian Treasure and explained to him the versus he was reading, Isa 53, which talks about our savior Jesus Christ’s suffering and sacrifice. The treasures then came back to Ethiopia and started preaching what he had learnt during his annual visit of Jerusalem. He was representing Ethiopians in the event of the annual Easter. He came with new evangelical news and preached the King and the Queen and the citizens. Since then Ethiopia has accepted Christianity as its sole religion and worshiped the King, Jesus Christ. The country embraced Christianity and maintained the doctrine of Christ from the era of the Apostles to the present day, as it is narrated in (Acts 8:26-39). The history of St. Philip the Apostle baptizing the Eunuch who was very much interested in religion is of great interest for the Ethiopian Church history. This Eunuch was a man of high rank, the finance minister of Candace Queen of Ethiopia.

Eusebius speaks of him as the first fruits of the faithful in the whole world. Irenius writes that he preached the Gospel of the Ethiopians. Other evidence is that during the time that the Eunuch preached Christianity, Ethiopian women wore crosses upon their heads signifying the recognition of the Crucifixion of Christ. Besides St. John Chrysostom witnessed that among those who were present at Pentecost (the birth of the Universal Church) were Ethiopians. In the history of the Church, it is further recorded that St. Matthew the Apostle preached the Gospel to the Ethiopians and won a few converts to the new doctrine and left the country.

As is with all Oriental Orthodox Churches the teachings of the Church is founded on the Apostles experience of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Creator and Savior of the World. The first three ecumenical councils Nicaea 325, Constantinople 381, and Ephesus 431 which confessed the Son of God as being of substance with the Father and condemned Arius' formula are accepted by the Ethiopian orthodox Church, but the Church refuses to accept the Council of Chalcedon 451 presided by Pope Leo I which teaches the formula of the "two natures" against that of "one nature" the teaching of St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria. The Ethiopian Church holds that there were two natures before incarnation, but only one after the union. Human nature was not dissolved in the Divine as Eutyches taught. But rather, the Divine made the human nature immediately its own. The word and the human constitute one nature, and union is established without confusion and without division. The Church rejects the idea of Eutyches, the monophysite who taught a confusion against the union of the human by the Divine, which was regarded by (Dyophysite) theologians to be the same with teaching of the Ethiopian Church and its sister Churches, which was done without investigation and hence ignorance because Eutryches' condemnation by St. Dioscorus is an evidence to the point. One can see that the words, "dysophysite" and "monophysite" as fitting to play a great role not between the oriental Churches which have nothing to do with such phrases but between the Caldedonian and Eutyches himself.

The Church emphasizes that all concerning Christ should be applied to His entire person as one Lord. Not to single out the "Human nature" as subjected to suffering hunger, passion etc., Properties peculiar to the human are referred to His Divine powers as God suffered, God was crucified, God shed blood, God died, and God was risen up for the salvation of all men. The seven sacraments (mysteries) Baptism, Confirmation, penance, Holy Communion, Unction of the Sick, Matrimony and Holy Orders are important in the teaching of the E.O.C. The administration of these sacraments is somehow similar to that of other Eastern Orthodox Churches in many ways. But with more native elements especially in hymary (chanting) and the custom of rites. Sacraments are holy ordinance through which the believer receives an invisible grace under the form of an outward sign. In the performance of each sacrament the Divine Majesty Himself is present.

Also the Church teaches other five pillars of Mysteries. They are the Mystery of the Trinity, Incarnation, Baptism, Eucharist and the Mystery of the Resurrection of the dead. These Mysteries are regarded by the Church as basic knowledge for all faithful and every Christian must know this. Fasting is strictly observed by all baptized members above the age of seven years. During lent; meat, and products of meat are prohibited.

Furthermore all faithful must keep the Ten Commandments and the six parables in Matt. 25:35- 36, in order to inherit eternal life. In the second coming of Christ the dead will be raised and sinners will receive punishment according to their deed. So man is responsible for his own committed sins. The church has built a strong relationship with the Coptic Church and shared different Christian values and experiences with sister churches. Although Ethiopia entertains different religious such as Muslim since the 15 th century, Majority of the people, more than 60%, are Christians and worship Jesus Christ.

Ethiopians in Exile

Due to Political, Economic, Educational and other reasons many Ethiopians exiled to the various parts of the world. As Israelis used to do during their exile in Babylon, the Ethiopians spread all over the world and continued worshipping their God wherever they are and whenever they can. Studies depict that more than a million Ethiopian immigrants live in the United States of America of which one fifth of them reside in the Washington DC area including The CommonWealth of Virginia and the state of Maryland. The Ethiopian church has played pivotal role in maintaining the unity of the country and development of unique humble personality amongst its fellowship, and significantly cooperated with other international churches for the spread of evangelism. Living in Exile brings a lot of opportunities, experiences and challenges. Many Ethiopians who come to the United States have a greater challenge of coping with the cultural shock, language barriers and understanding of the American way of life. Although many of them have the interest of allotting time for their God to worship there are few who got lost and involved in criminal activities. The church has the responsibility of shepherding its fellow members, helping them cope with the cultural differences, and also helping them to maintain a balanced life, understanding American way of living and of all showing and directing them God’s path.

Establishment of the Church

Considering the need of the Ethiopian Christians living in the Alexandria and Arlington Area, the church is established by Father Mulugeta Wondimu by the approval of his Holiness Archbishop Aba Fanuel head of the Washington DC area Diocese for Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido church. The church has been registered in the state of Virginia since April 2014.The current mailing address and contact information of the Church is Mulie Wondimu, 7308 Glendower Ct. Spring field , VA 22153

Mission Statement

Our church would like to maintain the Ethiopian orthodox Tewahido church value, traditional and spiritual worship. By doing so creating a generation that inherits spritual values, tradition, and worship and makes a difference in the world.

Our Objectives and purpose

  • To establish and maintain a Christian religious worship in accordance with the teachings of Christianity as adopted by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church and Oriental Church.

  • To conduct divine worship and religious services including Liturgical services observance according to the traditions and values of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church.

  • To offer Orthodox Tewahido religious services on every Saturday and prime Orthodox Christian holidays.

  • To provide spiritual and cultural programs in order to enhance understanding of the history, culture, languages and values of Ethiopia.

  • To provide spiritual sacraments such as Baptism, Matrimonial, and Burial rites (Faith) to fellow Christians of the Orthodox Tewahido faith.

  • To create a strong orthodox Christian community that promotes the teachings of the living God to love one another and promote peace to the world.

  • Educating children their mother tongue language, biblical stories, Christian ethics and moral values and helping them in their academics to make them realize their dream of success.

  • Creating visionary leaders who value the word of God and make a difference in the political, economical and social aspects by preaching peace, love and unity.

  • Assisting new arrivals to the USA in understanding cultural differences, teaching American History, helping them in language skill development and helping them find a job.

  • Providing marriage and relationship counseling to attain God’s purpose through these institutions.

  • Teaching the living God’s word and making his people ready for the eternal life he will bring with him when he comes again.

  • To create a fruitful, visionary generation who protects the community they live in and contribute does not condone any segregation or discrimination in our community as a result creating a non-criminal generation.

  • Enhancing the understanding of the history, culture, language, tradition, and values of Ethiopia.

  • To work with other sister churches in ecumenical basis for the spread of the word of God and saving the generation.

  • Encouraging fellow members to participate in social voluntary activities organized by different organizations, State and Federal Governments.

Faith and value

The EOTC Church will propagate the Christian faith of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church and oriental churches. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest churches in the world and shares a common faith with the Oriental Orthodox family of the Armenian, Egyptian, Syrian and Indian (Malankara) churches.

We believe in one God the Father almighty, maker of heaven, earth and all things visible and invisible. And we believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, 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 Him nothing 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 Pontius Pilate, suffered, died, was buried and rose from the dead on the third day as written in the holy scriptures ascended in glory into heaven, sits 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 with the Father and the Son; who spoke by the prophets; And we believe in on holy, universal, apostolic church, And we believe in one baptism for the remission of sins, and wait for the resurrection from the dead and the life to come, world without end.

The Church strives to fulfill the spiritual needs of its members by providing Christian spiritual and social related services in accordance with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahiedo church’s faith, values and tradition.

Financing

The church will be financed by the contributions collected from its members. In addition the church will conduct fundraising programs in the near future which will give it a greater advantage to raise a good amount of money that will enable us to sustain the services.

Language

Our liturgical and prayer sermon will be conducted in Geez, which is the ancient Ethiopian language and the nation’s language Amharic. In the near future the church has a plan to start English Liturgical and sermon. The latter will help to introduce the Ethiopian Orthodox church for people whose primary language is English.

All other correspondences with other sister churches, institutions and government offices shall be conducted in English.

                      Organizational structure

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