Other rites

The baptismal rite of the Ethiopic church is similar to that of the Coptic, which is what we would expect. Likewise the ordination prayers, more obviously so because the Coptic Church supplied bishops for this Church. The office has some peculiarities of its own, and studies of these rites are still in their infancy. The liturgical book, the Me'eraf, gives the ordinary of the cathedral office, while the deggua has antiphons proper to the season, and the qene contains the poetic elements. Vespers (Wazema) has an opening prayer, proper hymn, supplication for travellers, Psalm 23 with proper antiphon and first evening qene. A supplication for rain is followed by Psalm 92 with antiphon and second qene. Supplication for the king is followed by Psalm 140, with antiphon and third qene. There follows Liton, which is a thanksgiving, readings from Epistles and

Acts, followed by Daniel 3: 52-6, with antiphon and final qene. A chant before the Gospel and Gospel follow, and three prayers for the evening. The office concludes with petitions, doxology, Creed, Lord's Prayer and dismissal.

Mawaddes, or Vigil, begins with thanksgiving, trisagion and kidan of the morning. The remainder of the service consists mainly of groups of psalms which are each followed by intercessory prayers, such as for rain and the fruits of the earth. At a festal vigil the whole psalter is recited. Morning prayer (sebhata naghe) has three different forms. The festal form begins with an opening prayer, and a prayer of absolution, the ezl (proper), Liton, a series of psalms, with supplication for the sick. There are canticles, Psalms 148-50, supplications, reading of the Gospel, and further psalmody before ending with the Creed and Lord's Prayer. The minor Hours tend to be mainly recitation of psalms.

The marriage rite is similar to the Coptic rite, but includes a ceremony of cutting a piece of the groom's hair and placing it on the head of the bride, and then vice versa. It is celebrated with the Eucharist, and the crowning takes place at the end.

The burial rite includes preparation of the body, accompanied by psalms, reading from the Gospel of John, and the 'praises of Mary'. Psalms and the 'praises of Mary' are appointed for the burial. Many of the customs of the rite are found in the Ethiopic translation of the Testamentum Domini. Because this Church believes that only on the Last Day will a person's fate be known, it is quite proper to pray for the departed. According to Rowell, burial practice includes the winding of a strip of parchment, inscribed with a mixture of prayers and magical formulae, around the body (Rowell 1977).

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