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Ethiopian liturgy


Subject Religion » Christianity

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631232032.2001.x


Since its origins the Ethiopian church has always had close links with the coptic christianity of Egypt, though these have at times been more theoretical than real. There is evidence that an early Ethiopic version of the gospels was made from the Codex Alexandrinus, and many of the rites and liturgical texts of the Ethiopian church are translated from Coptic. Indeed, some scholars have assumed the liturgies of the two churches are virtually the same. In fact the Ethiopian church possesses its own distinctive pattern of worship, its own hymnography and euchology. This is in part the result of the isolation of Ethiopia from the rest of Christendom from the fifth century. The eucharistic liturgy of the Ethiopian church, while it has evident similarities with that of the Coptic church, is distinguished among other things by a very elaborate series of preparatory rites for the vesting of the priest and the preparation of the sacred vessels and the elements. An assistant priest, to whom certain parts of the rite are assigned specifically, and a deacon, are considered necessary for a celebration of the eucharist; indeed, one of the rubrics runs: ‘Before he vests himself completely, let him turn to the people and look to see if there is a deacon for service, because it is not fitting for the priest to take off his vestments after having put them on should there be no deacon to help in ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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