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AsterEyo - አስተርዮ - Epiphany

The Holy Trinity ‘አጋዕዝተ ዓለም ቅድስት ሥላሴ’ [Tirr 7 - Jan 16]

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church celebration of the Holy Trinity is known by the name ‘Aga‘izite Alem Kidisiti Selassie -አጋዕዝተ ዓለም ቅድስት ሥላሴ. It is celebrated on January 16 (Tirr 07) of the Ethiopian Calendar. On this day at the Tower of Babel, the Babylonians wanted a tower that would reach to the heavens so that they could fight God. God saw the pride in their hearts and confounded their language.

Genesis 11:17

“let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.”

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity was not plainly revealed in the Old Testament. However the basis of the doctrine can be detected. The phrase "let us" in the above verse gives the idea of plurality.

Genesis 1:26

"Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness...."

In the above verse the word "us" cannot refer to the angels because angels do not create.

Timket ‘ጥምቀት' Baptism - AsterEyo (Epiphany)

‘ጥምቀት' or 'Timket’ is a Ge’ez word meaning, “immersion in water”. The feast of Timket covers the period from Tirr 10 – 12 (January 19 – 21). During this time, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church celebrates the baptism of Our Lord and Savior Eyesus Kristos, as well as the clear manifestation of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.

Day One: 'Ketera', means “making a reservoir” for the celebration of 'Timket'. The three days of Timket celebration starts on Tirr 10 (January19) early afternoon. The Holy Tabots of each church are carried out in slow procession to a river or pool of water accompanied by priests and church choirs chanting hymns. The hymns commemorate the humbleness of Our Lord Eyesus Kristos who walked to the River Jordan to be baptized by his servant, John the Baptist.

Matthew 3:13

“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him” A special tent is set up where the Holy Tabots reside. The prayer and the chant of priests and church choirs continue long into the night accompanied by drums, the ringing of bells, and the blowing of trumpets."

Day Two: 'Timket', the commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord Eyesus Kristos in River Jordan, is observed on Tirr 11 (January 20).

Matthew 3:14-15

“But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.”

Our Lord Eyesus Kristos was baptized at the River Jordan. This was meant to destroy the letter of condemnation written by Satan against Adam and Eve. The letter was hidden at the foot of Jordan River.

Colossians 2:14

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”

The Timket Divine Liturgy starts around 2:00AM. It is followed by prayers and blessings directed towards the river or the collected water from three water taps. The water from each tap is gathered in one cistern in the name of the Holy Trinity and is sprinkled on the believers. By noon on Timket Day all the Holy Tabots are paraded back to their respective churches except for the Saint Michael Tabots, which stay one more day by the river to celebrate ‘Qanna Ze Galilla’ (Cana of Galilee).

Day Three: 'Qanna Ze Galilla' celebrates the Wedding of Cana on Tirr 12 (January 21). This is where the first miracle at the beginning of the Lord's ministry where He changed water to wine.

John 2:1-11

“And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee?

mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.”

The story of the wedding of Cana of Galilee also shows how the Holy Virgin Saint Mariam intercedes on our behalf. When Holy Virgin Saint Mariam saw that the wine at the wedding had run out, she informed her Son, “they have no wine”. Of course Our Lord was already aware of their condition, but he was waiting for his Holy Mother's intercession to present their needs to him. So Our Lord Eyesus Kristos responded to His Holy Mother’s intercession by changing the water into wine. This shows how the Holy Virgin Saint Mariam always presents our needs to her Son and then advises us to do whatever He tells us. The presence of Our Lord and his Holy Mother at Cana is also an assurance of the sanctity of Matrimony, and an indication that the Lord is present in his Holy Church with his Holy Mother and Saints.

'AsterEyo' (Epiphany) means appearance or manifestation. The season of AsterEyo goes from January 19 (Ketera) to the start of the three-day Nineveh fast.

Matthew 3:16-17

“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Our Lord Eyesus Kristos, the incarnate God the Son standing in River Jordan, plus the Holy Spirit descending like a dove, as well as God the Father speaking from heaven, testifying about His Only Begotten Son is clear evidence of the three persons of God. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The great mystery of the Holy Trinity is revealed clearly for the first time right after John the Baptist baptized Our Lord Eyesus Kristos. At this point, the heavens open. This indicates that baptism is the opener to God's kingdom.

Galatians 3:25-29

“But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

The Holy Spirit descending like a dove reminds us of Noah at the end of the flood sending out the dove, which symbolizes peace with God.

Genesis 8:8-11

“Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth."

Christ was baptized by John, not because he was sinful, but because he is the one who took up on himself the sins of the world. This was also to sanctify baptism for us.

John 1:1-29

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

May the Light of his Baptism fill us with the Holy Spirit forever, Amen!

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