Monday, January 12, 2015

Prayer for Peace — Ethiopian Orthodox

Illuminations from a Medieval Ethiopian Orthodox Bible.

Ethiopian Orthodox Church

This year as we pray for peace each week, we are learning about and pondering the many religious traditions that span the globe.  Today our thoughts turn to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one of the few pre-Colonial Christian churches in sub-Saharan Africa.  The church has traditionally been traced to the conversion by the Apostle Philip of a eunuch official in the service of Queen Candace of Ethiopia, as recorded in the Book of Acts 8:26-27.

Christianity was widely established in the Axumite Kingdom of Ethiopia as early as the 4th century AD through the efforts of St. Frumentius.  In the many early controversies over the nature of Christ, the Ethiopian Orthodox church sided with the Coptic Church in Egypt, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Armenian Orthodox Church, and the Indian Orthodox Church.  While Greek Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christianity asserts that Christ has two natures (He is at once wholly human and wholly Divine), the Ethiopian Orthodox and related churches assert that Christ has but “Once Singular Nature”.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has its own canon that includes the Book of Jubilees, the Ethiopic Book of Enoch, and the three Ethiopic Books of the Maccabees.  This tradition is famous for a dozen monolithic churches, carved entirely out of solid rock.  The church also claims to be the keepers of the Ark of the Covenant, which is said to be located within the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in the town of Axum.  The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has about 45 million members, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia, while smaller numbers live throughout the world, including here in Canada.

As we ponder the many, diverse, rich and historic traditions that comprise the body of Christ, we desire that knowledge and awareness of diverse distinctions may spread along with the cause of peace.

Prayer for Peace — Cheryl Peters, Sandusky, Michigan

May the peace of God be in you, to lead you every day. May the peace of God go out from you, to light another’s way. May the peace of God move all around to all nations of the earth.

May God in heaven be overjoyed as peace has been given birth. And may God’s peace stretch wider like bud to blooming flower. May the world be blessed with unity as we pray for peace this hour. And may Christ who blazed the pathway and showed examples clear, give each of us a reason to hold to peace, so dear. May we make the world a better place, a place of truth and peace. May the witness of our lives assure that love will never cease. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

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