Ethiopian (Ge'ez) Catholic Church

 

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Rite: Alexandrian

Tradition: Ethiopian

Rescension: Ethiopian

Liturgical Form: Ùér’ata Qéddase (Divine Liturgy) of St Basil

Liturgical Language(s): Ge'ez (may include or be supplemented by Amharic)

The Ethiopian (Ge'ez) Catholic Church is a Church sui iuris of Metropolitan status, belonging to the Oriental Catholic Communion. (The parenthetical descriptor 'Ge'ez' is included in its name to distinguish it from the Ethiopian Latin Catholic Church.) The primatial hierarch is His Eminence, the Metropolitan Archeparch of Addis Ababa. In addition to the metropolitan archeparchy, the Church is organized under three eparchies in Ethiopia. In the diaspora, its faithful are canonically subject to the local Latin Ordinary within whose diocesan jurisdiction they reside.

Historically, Christianity in Ethiopia traces to the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch by St Philip, although it did not have an organized presence until the episcopal ordination of St Frumentius (Abune Salama Kesatie Berhan) as its proto-bishop three centuries later. Six centuries of separation from communion with Rome were followed by almost as many centuries during which there were limited and sporadic instances of union, none of which were sustained on an organized basis over the long-term.

The modern-day history of the Ethiopian (Ge'ez) Catholic Church is typically dated from the mid-nineteenth century and the endeavors of Father Justin de Jacobis, CM. Taking an approach radically different from that of the Capuchins and Jesuits whose missions, two centuries prior, had ended disastrously, Father Justin set out to recruit and develop an indigenous clergy. Moreover, he refused to supplant the local liturgical rites with those of the West. The newly-appointed Vicar Apostolic of the region, Bishop Guglielmo Massaia, OFM Cap, agreed with the wisdom of this approach, supported Father Justin in it, and adopted the same stance in his own work.

By the time of Father Justin's repose in 1860, the Abyssinian (later Ethiopian) Catholic Church can be said to exist. Still, it was a century later (1951) before an Apostolic Exarchate was erected and a native hierarchy ordained for Ethiopia.

[The Ethiopian (Ge'ez) Catholic Church formerly encompassed Eritrean Catholics, a distinct ethno-cultural constituency of faithful with whom it shares a common liturgical and spiritual heritage, although each retains linguistic and cultural praxis unique to their respective heritages. In January 2015, Eritrean Catholics were constituted as a distinct Church sui iuris.]

 


Icon: Detail from the iconic mural venerated as the Nine Saints of Ethiopia


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Metro Area: Denver (CO)
Ethiopian & Eritrean (Ge'ez) Catholic Communities of Denver
Status: ACTIVE MISSION
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Metro Area: Boston (MA)
Ethiopian & Eritrean (Ge'ez) Catholic Communities of Boston
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Metro Area: San Francisco - Oakland (CA)
Bay Area Eritrean (Ge'ez) Catholic Community (Oakland)
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Metro Area: Seattle (WA)
Eritrean (Ge'ez) Catholic Community of Seattle
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Metro Area: Las Vegas (NV)
Eritrean (Ge'ez) Catholic Community of Las Vegas
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Metro Area: Washington (DC) - Arlington - Alexandria (VA)
Kidane-Mehret Ethiopian & Eritrean (Ge'ez) Catholic Church
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Teachings of Christ

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Nativity of the Mother of God

Your nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, * heralded joy to all the world; * for from you has dawned the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * and, having annulled the curse, He gave the blessing * and by destroying Death He granted us eternal life. (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Through your holy nativity, O Immaculate One, * Joachim and Anna were freed from the reproach of childlessness, * and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death. * Delivered from the guilt of sin, your people celebrate this as they cry out to you: * "The barren woman gives birth to the Mother of God, the Nourisher of our Life." (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God on September 8th.

Random Proverb

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

For to despise the present age, not to love transitory things, unreservedly to stretch out the mind in humility to God and our neighbor, to preserve patience against offered insults and, with patience guarded, to repel the pain of malice from the heart, to give one's property to the poor, not to covet that of others, to esteem the friend in God, on God's account to love even those who are hostile, to mourn at the affliction of a neighbor, not to exult in the death of one who is an enemy, this is the new creature whom the Master of the nations seeks with watchful eye amid the other disciples, saying:"If, then, any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away. Behold all things are made new" (2 Cor. 5:17). 

St. Gregory the Great