Friday, 13 May 2016

The Teaching of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, by Abba Melcetsedek

I have a bit of a soft spot for Ethiopian Orthodoxy. I admire their deep devotion to the blessed Mother of God. I appreciate their rich musical tradition. I find it fascinating that their Old Testament canon includes the books of Enoch and Jubilees. I also like the fact that Ethiopian Orthodox Christians remove their shoes in their churches as an act of reverence. You may remember pictures of the makeshift tent church in the migrants' camp at Calais. Even in that humble place of worship, the devotees left their sandals and flip flops outside.

Abba Melcetsedek expresses concern that many Ethiopians are ignorant of their historic church, with the result that many are converting to Pentecostalism. In response he provides this catechism, with an exposition of the creed and other basic teachings. It also offers a short historical sketch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The author argues that while the Ethiopian Orthodox only accepts the first Ecumenical Councils, it agrees with the substance of the other four Ecumenical Councils are that confessed by the Eastern Orthodox churches.

This is a short book. I would have liked it to be a bit longer and to have provided a fuller exploration of differences between the Ethiopia Orthodox Tewahedo Church and other churches. Some more information on Ethiopian Orthodox practices of devotion would also have been interesting to read.

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