BELIEFS AND TEACHINGS OF ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX TEWAHEDO CHURCH
10. THE ORDER OF WORSHIP
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is one of the oldest Churches which have ancient religious order. Subsequently, Ethiopia has been called an “Island of Christianity.”
Prior to Christianity, Ethiopia accepted the Law of Moses and has since been called the Land of God. Accordingly, she has been observing the Sabbath, fasting two days a week, having a male circumcised on the eighth day of his birth, bringing children to the temple on the fortieth and eightieth days after their birth and dedicating them to God along with the offerings of young pigeons and turtle doves.
Observing Sunday with the Sabbath, fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays instead of Esther’s and Judith’s fasts are still practised in accordance with the Order of Worship of our Church. But now instead of taking young pigeons and turtle doves to the temple, male children are taken to the church on the fortieth day and female children on the eightieth day of their birth for baptism. God said to Abraham, “This is my covenant which you shall keep between me and you and your descendants after you; every male among you shall be circumcised, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.” (Gen. 17:9-11; Rom. 4:9). In accordance with this covenant the uncircumcised cannot be counted as a member of Abraham’s family, neither inherit the Promised Land nor partake in the fulfillment of the covenant, nor is he considered a member of the people of God. (Gen. 17:7).
But in the New Testament, circumcision has been replaced by baptism. Unless one is baptized, one cannot inherit the kingdom of God. (Jn. 3:5, Col. 2:11). This order of worship is given to preserve worship of God and evangelical works. The order of praying, fasting and observing of festivals following the order of worship cannot be acquired through the Scriptures only; but it is a Holy Tradition which has come down from generation to generation.