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Great Lent - Abiy Tsom - ዐብይ ጾም First Sunday - Zewerede - ዘወረደ

Updated: Mar 16

Great Lent (Abiy Tsom) - ዐብይ ጾም

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church commemorates the Great Fast (Abiy Tsom) – Hudadi means Vast Land and which relates to the Greatness of the Lent Fast. This follows the example of Our Lord and Savior Eyesus Kristos.

The Lent or Great Fast (Abiy Tsom) has eight weeks, which are divided into three separate periods:

1. 'Tsome Hirkal (Eraclius)' is the fast of Emperor Eraclius. During his reign the Persians invaded Jerusalem and took the Holy Cross of Our Lord Eyesus Kristos. Emperor Eraclius made an expedition to Persia and having defeated the Persians, he took the Holy Cross back to Jerusalem. The early Christians in Jerusalem were very happy because of Eraclius’ victory and the return of the Holy Cross. The first week of lent was dedicated to Eraclius and therefore was included in the Jerusalem church canon. Thus the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has accepted and included it in her canon to be a part of Great Lent.

2. Tsome Arba, is the forty days which Our Lord Eyesus Kristos fasted while in the wildness.

Luke 4:1-2 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

3. Himamat (Passion Week) are the seven days the Holy Apostles fasted in commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord and Savior Eyesus Kristos.

8+40+7 = 55 Days in total of the Lenten Fasting Period.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church hymn writer St. Yared, wrote the hymnbook known as “Tsome Digua” (Hymns of Fasting). In this Holy book he composed songs for each Sunday of the Great Fast.

Each Sunday of the Great Fast is named after a hymn that St. Yared wrote:

1. Zewerede - ዘወረደ : The one who descended from above

2. Kidist - ቅድስት : Holy

3. Mikurab - ምኩራብ : Synagogue

4. Mesague - መፃጉእ : One who is infirm/paralytic

5. Debre Zeit - ደብረዘይት : Mount of Olives

6. Gebrehere - ገብርሄር : Good Servant

7. Nicodemus - ኒቆዲሞስ : The coming of Nicodemus to Our Lord during the night

8. Hosanna - ሆሳእና : Palm Sunday

May Medhanealem Grant us to See The Light of His Resurrection in Peace Amen!

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