In the Ethiopian Orthodox Churches, there are prayers twice a day in the morning and in the evening. After the prayers are over all churches remain closed, but the Cathedral being a Church and a Museum, it is open all day long for visitors.
The Holy Sacrifice of Liturgy-mass
- The liturgy
SACRED LITURGY is the very heart of Ethiopian Orthodox worship. All the various kinds and types of Orthodox prayers and ritual cluster around the Sacrifice of the Mass which was instituted by the Lord the same night in which He was betrayed (1 cor. 11:23-25).
Liturgy is celebrated daily. In addition to the celebrant (main priest) and at least one other priest, the presence of three deacons is required. The Ethiopic Liturgy is an expansion of the version of St. Mark, the rite used by the Coptic Church in Egypt. It is divided into pre-anaphora and anaphora. Anaphora corresponds to CANON of the Mass in the Western Churches. While the Western Church has an anaphora (canon), the canon of the Mass with its Preface, there are fourteen anaphora’s in the Ethiopian Liturgy. However, the Anaphora of the Twelve Apostles is the standard form in the Ethiopian Church and the others are used on special days.
SYNOPSIS OF THE ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX LITURGY OF THE APOSTLES
- While the believers assemble in the church, the priest conducts the service of preparation.
- The Introit is chanted while the bread for the consecration is brought from the Bethlehem (place where wine and bread for Mass are prepared). The bread is taken in procession thrice around the altar. Wine is poured into the chalice and offertory prayers are said.
- The priest chants the Doxology which is followed by St. Basil’s Prayer, the prayer of oblation and the prayer of the Veil.
- While the people prostrate themselves the Bishop or priest says the prayer of Absolution which is followed by the Deacon’s Litany.
- The blessing of the Censer and offering of incense follows. An invocation of the Mother of God and a praise of the Holy Trinity are sung.
- The censing of the whole church and the preparatory prayer before the reading of the Epistle take place at the same time. The Epistle consists of three lections.
- Triaging follows and the Gospel is taken around the altar. A litany is said by the assistant priest and the Gospel is read by the Bishop or priest. The Gospel is taken around to be kissed by the whole congregation.
- ‘Missa Fidelium’ begins with the priest’s prayer for peace and is followed by the Deacon’s Litany for all the faithful. The Creed is recited by the deacon.
- Lavabo or priest’s washing of hands is followed by the “kiss of peace” in the form of the people bowing to each other.
- The Anaphora proper begins with ‘sursum corda’ (Lift up Your hearts): Following the sursum corda and the Thanksgiving for Redemption (Preface), there are the commemoration of the saints and the Intercession for all the faithful. This is followed by the rest of the Eucharistic Prayer including the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), the words of Institution, Anamnesis and the Epiclesis or invocation of the Holy Spirit for the consecration of the elements.
- Fraction follows and the Lord’s prayer (Pater Noster) is said. The prayer of penitence is said by the priest and the prayer of Intercession follows. The priest declares. “Holy things to the Holy”, elevates the host and communion follows. Prayers of Thanksgiving are said and the priest blesses and dismisses the people.