reverence was due to God alone, not to the Blessed Virgin, nor to such physical representations as icons or crosses, nor to worldly figures such as the king.29 The Stephanites were readily suppressed, but more serious were the followers of Ewostatewos, who advocated observance of the Sabbath as a holy day equally worthy as Sunday.30 The followers of Takla Haymanot and the metropolitans both opposed the Ewostatian position on the Sabbath.
These conflicts were resolved at the council of Dabra Metmaq in 1449, over which King Zar'a Ya'qob (1434-68) presided.31 He managed, at one and the same time, to reimpose episcopal authority and to regularise belief and practice according to Ethiopian, rather than Alexandrian, precedent. He had obtained two bishops from Cairo, along with a suffragan, and persuaded them to accept observation of the Sabbath.32 This practice the council successfully declared to be normative, along with adoration of the Blessed Virgin, whose intercession, Zar'a Ya'qob proclaimed, effected salvation. He introduced a host of monthly festivals whereby She would be honoured.33 These actions of the council proved lasting, and the common practices which it mandated strengthened a 'religious nationalism' throughout Ethiopian Christendom. So strong had this nationalism become, a rupture with Alexandria was openly discussed at a council during the reign of Zar'a Ya'qob's successor. The king had yet other concerns. He felt himself threatened by the practice of sorcery and witchcraft within the royal court itself, and attempted, ruthlessly, to stamp it out. Devout and learned as Zar'a Ya'qob was,34 he followed the marital practices of his predecessors. He had three official wives whose individual
29 See Taddesse Tamrat, 'Some notes on the fifteenth century Stephanite 'Heresy' in the Ethiopian Church', RassegnadiStudiEtiopici 22 (1966), 103-15; and GetatchewHaile, 'The cause of the 3st'ifanosites: a fundamentalist sect in the Church of Ethiopia', Paideuma: Mitteilungen zur Kulturkunde 29 (1983), 93-119.
30 See G. Lusini, Studi sul monachesimo eustaziano (secoli XIV-XV) (Naples: Istituto universitario orientale, 1993).
31 For the date, I follow Derat, Domaine des rois ethiopiens, 170. Taddesse, Church and state, 230, gives 1450. In addition to the numerous writings of the king, an important primary source is J. Perruchon, Les Chroniques de Zar'a Ya'eqob et de Ba'edaMaryam, rois d'Ethiopie des 1434 a 1478 (Paris: Emile Bouillon, 1893).
32 See Getatchew Haile, 'The Homily of As'e Zar'a Ya'eqob of Ethiopia in honour of Saturday', OrientaríaLovaniensiaPeriodica 13 (1982), 185-231.
33 GetatchewHaile, 'Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahédo Church', in Encyclopedia Mthiopica, 11, 414-21; and GetatchewHaile, The Mariology of Emperor Zar'aYa'eqob of Ethiopia [Orientalia christiana analecta 242] (Rome: Pontificium institutum studiorum orientalium, 1992).
34 He was a prolific author. See C. Conti Rossini and L. Ricci (ed. and trans.), Il Libro della Luce del Negus Zar'a Ya'qob (Mashafa Berhan) [CSCO, Scriptores ^thiopici 47 (text), 48 (trans.); 51 (text), 52 (trans.)] (Louvain: Secretariat du Corpus scriptorum christianorum orientalium, 1964-1965); Getatchew Haile (ed. and trans.), The Epistle of Humanity of Emperor Zar'a Ya'eqob (Tomara Tssbs't) [CSCO, Scriptores ^thiopici 95 (text), 96 (trans.)] (Louvain: Peeters, 1991).
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