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"Let not your heart be troubled: Ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my father's house are many mansions"
- St. John 14:1-2
BELIEFS AND TEACHINGS OF ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX TEWAHEDO CHURCH
3. HOLY SCRIPTURES
All Scriptures are written with the inspiration of the Spirit of God or are the breath of God. They are also described as Holy Books (መጽሀፍ ቅዱስ) containing the word of God (ፍትሀ ነገስት- Fiteha Negest Art. 2). Illustration that Holy Books are the breath of God or are written by the inspiration of the Spirit of God; the Apostle St. Paul states in 2 Tim. 3:17 “all Scripture is God- breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Saint Cyril of Alexandria also wrote that “Holy Books are the breath of God” (Faith of Fathers 78:67). Hence, all that is written in the Scriptures is the absolute truth. Nothing can be added or deducted from it. It can neither be modified nor changed. It was written by Holy Men guided by the Spirit of God. (2Pet. 1:2, Mt. 5:18, Lk, 16:17).
It is written that there were times when the Lord either revealed himself, made his voice heard or acted through the one that he willed and commanded “write down these words” (Ex. 34:27; Deut. 31:19; Isa. 8:1).
81 are the Old Testament and New Testament books which have been accepted as canonical books of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, as listed here-under.
A. Old Testament Books
Books of Law (the 5 Books of Moses)
Books of History
9. 1st and 2nd Samuel
10. 1st and 2nd Kings
11. 1st and 2nd Chronicles (2nd Chronicles includes the prayer of Manasseh)
16. Ezra Sutuel and 2nd Ezra
20. 1st Meqabeyan
21. 2nd and 3rd Meqabeyan
22. Joseph Ben Guriyon
Books of Songs and Wisdom
Wisdom of Solomon
Song of Songs
Books of Prophecy
Jeremiah (including Lamentations, the Remainder of Jeremiah, and Baruch)
B. Books of the New Testament
Epistles of Paul:
7. 1st Corinthians
8. 2nd Corinthians
13. 1st Thessalonians
14. 2nd Thessalonians
15. 1st Timothy
16. 2nd Timothy
20. James (Jacob)
21. 1st Peter
22. 2nd Peter
23. 1st John
24. 2nd John
25. 3rd John
27. Revelation of John
Books of Church Order
28. The Order of Zion
29. Commandment (Te’ezaz)
32. 1st Books of Covenant
33. 2nd Books of Covenant
Books of the Old Testament 46
Books of the New Testament 35
Grand Total... 81
Even though there are variations in the number of Scriptures, the above are the 81 Accepted by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and are cited in the interpretation of the “Fetha Negest”.
c. St. Yared Hymnal Books
In addition, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has other books written by Holy Fathers based on the Old and New Testaments expanding the theological education and prayer; books on the hymns and chants of St. Yared and other related books.
St. Yared, an Ethiopian great scholar and hymnologist rose to prominence by A.D. 505 (Ethiopian Calendar). St. Yared is well known throughout the world for his incomparable knowledge, mastery and composition of hymns and as a prolific “Qene- ቅኔ” scholar.
St. Yared has four hymnal books:
Digua - ድጓ
Miraf - ምዕራፍ
He was also an authority on the interpretation of the Old and the New Testaments. St Yared carefully chose prayers and hymns from his books and bible, harmonized and arranged them in such a way that they can be prayed and sang in the four seasons of fall (መፀው - Met͟sewi), Spring (ፀደይ - T͟sedey), Summer (በጋ - Bega) and Winter (ክረምት - Kiremiti) with all the beauty and passion he graced them with.
He also classified his hymns into three namely:
St. Yared prepared his hymnal works and notations between 540-560 A.D. (E.C.). He spent 11 years teaching throughout the northern parts of the country. Later on, he retreated into one of the monasteries in the northern mountains and spent his last year as a hermit.
d. Books written by other Church fathers
Over and above these, there are also books written by other Church fathers and other works of translation. Besides, the Church has also in its repository books attesting the miracles, purity and Holiness of the blessed Virgin and also the act, suffering martyrdom and miracles of Saints, Prophets, Apostles and Martyrs. Few examples of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo books
Faith of the Fathers (Haimanote Abew - ሀይማኖተ አበው)
Feth Negest (The Book of Law of Kings)
Tsome Digua” (Hymn of Fast)
The suffering of Our Lord and Savior Eyesus Christos- Gibrehimamat - ግብረ ህማማት
Book of Liturgy- መጽሀፈ ቅዳሴ- mets’ihafe k’idase
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