The Lent or Great Fast (Abiy Tsom) has eight weeks. Saint Yared, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church hymn writer, wrote the hymnbook known as “Tsome Digua” (Hymn of Fasting). In this Holy book Saint Yared composed songs for each Sunday of the Great Fast, which is named after the song for that Sunday.
The second Sunday of the Great Fast (Abiy Tsom) is called 'Kidist', which is a Ge’ez word meaning Holy or Sanctified. In the Tsome Digua, Saint Yared mentions that in addition to controlling what goes into our mouths, we must control what comes out of our mouths as well. Saint Yared said, “The other members of the body also need to fast: our eyes from seeing evil, our ears from hearing evil, our hand from doing evil, our feet from running to evil. And our mind from evil thoughts.”
During this time, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church teaches her believers about the Holiness of Our Lord Eyesus Kristos as well as encouraging purity and separation from sin, the devil and the world.
1 Peter 1:15-17
“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:”
The period of Tsome Arba (Forty Day Fast) starts in the 2nd week of Great Lent, because this was the actual time that Our Lord begin to fast.
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.”
The word Holy or Sanctified or Kidist also tells of the holiness of Sunday or Senbat (the Christian Sabbath).
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
The expression "keep the Sabbath day holy" means dedicating it to the Lord. So it is called "the Lord’s Day".
The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve before they sinned was to fast to practice self-control and obedience to the divine will.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
The fruit with which man was tempted led to the fall in Paradise. In like manner, it was bread that Our Lord Eyesus Kristos was tempted with in the wilderness, but He triumphed in fasting.
“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Sanctification not only consists of putting off the old nature of Adam and sin, but putting on the new nature of Our Lord and Savior Eyesus Kristos by practicing the true meaning of Holiness through Fasting, Prayer, Good Works, receiving Penance and taking Holy Communion.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
Therefore by the offense of one man judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one man the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
We have to overcome our earthly desires and stay away from those who advise: “let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.” 1 Corinthians 15:32
The main purpose of fasting is to make the desire of the body obey the will of the soul. For Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians it is mandatory to abstain from animal products and alcoholic drinks during this time. In most cases, only one full meal is taken a day after three o’clock (3PM) in the afternoon except on Saturdays and Sundays. Apart from the abstinence from certain foods, any form of music, including church drums and cymbals are unacceptable. The exception is listening to the Begena or mourning songs. These are acceptable because the Great Lent Fast represents a season of mourning.
“In those days Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”
The Importance of the FORTY DAYS in the Bible
1. God Created Adam and brought him into the Garden of Eden after Forty Days
The Book of Jubilees, መጽሃፈ ኩፋሌ Mets'hafe Kufale 3:9
“And after Adam had completed forty days in the land where he had been created, we brought him into the garden of Eden to till and keep it, but his wife they brought in on the eightieth day, and after this she entered into the garden of Eden”
2. When God destroyed the earth with water, He caused it to rain Forty Days and Forty Nights.
“And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.”
3. After Moses killed the Egyptian, he fled and spent Forty years in the desert tending flocks as spiritual preparation to lead the people of God to the Holy Land.
“And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.”
4. Moses fasted for Forty Days as spiritual preparation to receive the Ten Commandments.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.”
5. The Israelites wandered for Forty years in the desert as spiritual preparation to take the Holy Land.
“And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.”
6. The Prophet Elijah fasted for Forty Days as spiritual preparation, and then finally God revealed himself to him.
1 Kings 19:8-12
“And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.”
7. God gave Nineveh Forty Days to repent to receive his forgiveness and mercy.
“Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
8. There were Forty Days between Our Lord's Resurrection and His Ascension
“He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.”
The Departure of Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus (አቡነ ገብረ መንፈስ ቅዱስ ) from this World [Megabit 5 /March 14]
Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus is called the “Star of the Desert”
Born on January 7/Tahisas 29 – his date of birth and conception coincide with the day of Our Lord's birth
He lived 300 years in desert of Egypt
He went from Egypt to Ethiopia by the order of God
He stayed at Lake Ziquala-ዝቋላ for 100 years praying for Ethiopia and there received a covenant from God
He brought dead lions back to life
He met King Lalibela and promised him that he would live in the Mountains of Ziquala and not leave Ethiopia
He lived for 562 years on earth and departed from this world in the Mountains of Ziquala on Megabit 5/March 14, his body rests in Medre Kebed - ምድረ ከብድ.
May Medhanealem Grant us to See The Light of His Resurrection in Peace Amen!