Practical Liturgics – Deacon (Zema level one)
Zema (liturgical chant) is one of the major areas of study in the Traditional Schools of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. This course is designed for beginners and organized in two levels, given over the course of two years (4 semesters). Zema introduces the role of the deacon and of the believers (laypeople) which is commonly known as “ግብረ-ዲቁና” (literally- the works of deacon) in relation to the Eucharistic prayer and chants performed during the preparatory service and the Anaphora, according to the tradition of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church. During the course, participant will learn the theological signfiicance of the hymns and the common readings and relate it to their own lives and to the life and worship of the community.
- Identify and books used for liturgical services
- Enumerate and recite the hymns assigned to the deacon from the Liturgical Book
- Locate the positions and directions of the deacon during liturgical services
- Compare and contrast various modes of liturgical hymns assigned to the deacon
- Relate the priestly role and directives to the service of the deacons and laypeople
- Reflect on the theological concepts of the hymns assigned to and sang by the deacon and relate them to their own lives and to the life and worship of the community
Practical Liturgics – Priest (Zema level two)
This course is an intermediate level course which will be given for those participants who have completed Zema Level I (Diaconal program) and intend to train for the priesthood. The course provides formation in the elements of Eucharistic liturgical service required of EOTC, namely Kidan, Liton, Mestebquae and some rudimentary chants (Zema) in the fourteen Anaphoras, including basic musical notation. The course is given over the course of two years and will be divided in two levels (levels 3 and 4). During the course, participant will broaden their understanding of the theological message of the hymns and the common readings and relate it to their own lives and to the life and worship of the community.
- Identify musical notation and apply it accordingly.
- Enumerate and recite the hymns assigned to the priest from the Liturgical Book
- Locate the positions and movement of the priest during liturgical services
- Perform the sacraments according to the Tewahedo tradition.
- Relate one’s priestly role and directives to the service of the deacons and laypeople
- Explain the theological significance of the liturgical texts and relate them to their own lives and to the life and worship of the community
Practical Liturgics Mahletay (Zema Level Three)
This course is an advanced practical hymnal (Zema) course. This course is for candidates who have completed Practical Liturgics (Deaconal and Priest) and wish to serve as an ordained deacon/priest and cantor (Mahletay); Alternatively it is suitable for those who wish to directly join the course in order to serve as cantor (Mahletay) only. The course is follows the festal calendar of the church following the hymnal books of St Yared. The course content includes hymns composed for the annual feast days in accordance with the Orthodox Tewahedo calendar, starting from the feast of St Mary named as “Qusquam” (ቁስቋም) and continues throughout the year. The course lasts four years, (eight semesters). During the course, the participants will get instruction, first on the content of a section of the hymn, and then on the historical and theological meaning of the feast. Then, based on the “hymnal notations” (ምልክት), rehearse the sounds until they master them. Textbooks, mainly “the Book of Ziq and Mezmur” (መጽሐፈ ዚቅ ወመዝሙር) will be provided for study and further rehearsal of the contents and for hymnal notations (ምልክት).
At the end of the course the participants will be able to:
- Identify the musical notations and the sounds they represent.
- Perform basic feast-day hymnal (mahlet) service for the feast days they covered during their studies
- Instruct basic hymnal (mahlet) chants for starters
- Co-celebrate and assist hymnal scholars (Merigeta) in major hymnal services
- Understand and to be able to teach the basic historical and theological meanings of the contents in the hymnal literature they have studied.
Geez Language course (Deacon, Priest and Mahletay)
Ge’ez is a Semitic language that was once one of the main languages in Eritrea and Ethiopia. With the decline of the Aksumites in the 13th-14th centuries, Ge’ez ceased to be used in everyday communication but has lived on in the readings and the liturgical life of the Church. Today, learning Ge’ez is the key to accessing the spiritual treasures of the Eritrean-Ethiopian liturgical world and is a necessary skill for those who want to immerse themselves in its spiritual life. The teaching takes its starting point from the perspective of the participant’s pre-knowledge and, if deemed suitable, the teacher may divide the group into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
Geez I (module)
- Enumerate basic grammatical, phonological, orthographic and lexical structures (grammar, reading, writing and vocabulary)
- Combine linguistic structures to translate basic texts
- Access and participate in the Liturgical heritage of the Tewahedo tradition by participating in the reading and recitation of basic liturgical texts in Geez
Geez II (module)
- Incorporate more advanced grammatical structures and expand vocabulary
- Analyze, relate and explain linguistic structures
- Combine linguistic structures to both produce and translate short texts with the help of reference resources
- Participate in the liturgical heritage of the Tewahedo tradition by fluently reading and reciting liturgical texts in Geez and thereby becoming an active agent and propagator of the linguistic and liturgical tradition.
Geez III (module)
- Combine and relate linguistic structures to both produce and translate texts with some help
- Integrate the linguistic heritage of Tewahedo into the participant’s own life, and contribute to its continued use in the community, by expressing themselves in simple sentences in Geez.
Dogmatic Theology (module)
This course focuses on the dogmatic theological teachings of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The course begins by introducing the concept of faith as a requisite for the study of dogma. Participants will explore the Church’s teaching on the existence of God, the essence of God and His attributes. Subsequently, the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity in the Old and New Testaments will be studied. After a short summary on the creation of man, the fall and the effects of sin, the course deals with the mystery of the Incarnation, Baptism, the Eucharist (Holy Communion), repentance and eschatology.
- Discuss the existence and nature of God based on the evidence of nature and witness of scripture.
- Interpret scripture and the tradition of the Church on the Mysteries.
- Reflect on the purpose of the Incarnation
- Participate in sacramental services
- Discuss and reflect on the role of faith in relation to dogmatic teaching, both at an individual and corporate level
Church History I (module)
This module covers the history of the Church from the 1st to 5th centuries. Participants will explore the self-understanding of the church, its qualities and characteristics, its foundation, challenges, history of persecution, and its spread and growth out of Jerusalem into the wider world. The course also addresses the historical background and context of the ecumenical councils: the Council of Nicaea (325 AD), the Council of Constantinople (381), Council of Ephesus (431AD), and Council of Chalcedon (451), as well as their decisions and decrees.
- Describe the self-understanding of the Church
- Describe the foundation and establishment of the Church
- Identify the major incidents in the life of the church in the first five centuries
- Describe and explain the historical background of controversies and ecumenical councils.
- Reflect on historical events and explore how they have shaped the tradition and the self-understanding of the Church as well as their contemporary significance for the Church
Bible Study (module)
This module will explore the Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s understanding of the nature of the sacred scriptures, their composition, and how they are read, interpreted and understood in the Church. It also addresses different approaches that can be used to classify and study the Holy Bible. The course gives special attention to the 81 canonical scriptures of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Studying the Holy Bible is a significant way to approach and participate in the experience of God and attain eternal salvation. The Bible is the literature of faith, a collection of writings to which the church attaches canonical authority. Therefore, its true meaning and importance is only fully realized through faith, by to those who believe in God. The authors of these sacred scriptures were neither scientists nor historians, but without exception they were all firm believers in God and what they have committed to writing is based on their experience of God.
- Describe the Church’s understanding of the scriptures.
- List and categorise the holy scriptures
- Participate in and discuss the readings of the Bible according to the framework of the Church.
- Explain the canonical grounds of the scriptures
- Discuss the sources and languages of the holy scriptures
- Apply various approaches of Bible study, discuss and contrast these approaches
- Integrate a faith-based approach to scriptural interpretation in the participant’s own’s life, personal formation and growth
This module highlights the meaning and importance of studying patrology. It will provide an overview of the history of prominent Fathers of the Church (mainly from the 1st up to 5th centuries) and their theological writings.
- Identify the most significant Church Fathers and their schools of thought that shaped and influenced the development of the doctrine of the Church.
- Reflect on the significance of the Church Fathers’ writings and their spiritual life for the Church today, and for the participant’s own’s life, personal formation and growth
- Compare and contrast the Church Fathers’ teachings.
Church History II (module)
This module explores the History of the Orthodox Tewahdo Church from its beginning to the 21 century. It will start by summarizing the general history of the Church from the time of Jesus to the council of Chalcedon (451), then it will focus on the foundation and development of the Orthodox Tewahdo Church. It will survey the major movements, individuals and theological developments that arose during this time which affected the growth of the Church both positively and negatively. The course discusses the fall of the Axumait kingdom and growth of the Christian community in the region, monastic life, the nine saints from the Roman empire, the Church under Islam, western missionaries, the journey towards autocephality and its history up to the present.
- Explain the historical foundation of the Church, including her introduction to and development in Africa.
- Describe the major events in the history of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
- Reflect on the rise of Islam and its impact on the Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
- Analyze the present situation of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church and identify contemporary challenges and problems that she faces
- Reflect on the participant’s own role and responsibilities in facing and working to overcome these challenges and problems
Ecclesiology introduces the participant to the self-understanding of the Church and her formation from an Orthodox perspective. It also discusses the nature of the Church, as well as her mission and ministry. In addition, the course highlights the images and figures of the Church depicted in the Old and New Testaments and in Orthodox Tewahedo liturgical texts. Finally, the course summarizes how the Church accomplishes her mission through the sacraments.
- Define the concept of Ecclesiology
- Identify the nature of the Church
- Explain the mission and ministry of the Church
- Analyze the images of the Church portrayed in the scriptures.
- Describe the participant’s own role in accomplishing the mission of the Church
- Discuss and reflect on the participant’s own understanding of the Church, the factors that have potentially influenced this understanding, and how it relates to the traditional Orthodox self-understanding of the Church.
This course introduces the Eucharistic Liturgy of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church which has been regarded as the supreme act of communal worship through the ages. The course explores the two parts of liturgy: preparatory service or pre-Anaphora (Serate Qedase) and the Anaphora (Qedase). In addition, it examines the origins and sources of the fourteen Tewahdo Anaphoras and their developments, and the significance of Qedase. Moreover, the course discusses the theological message of the actions performed during the actual liturgy. Key elements in the practice and leadership of worship will be explored.
At the end of this course, participants will be able to the understand the origins and developments of the Tewahedo Anaphora. They will also have clear theological knowledge about the actions that are performed during the Eucharistic Liturgy. In addition, they will be motivated to participate in the Eucharist and strengthen their spiritual life.
Church Administration and Canon Law (module)
The Church is not merely an idea but, rather, a common life which requires order. This course will introduce participants to the organizational structures of the Church. In addition to an introduction to church (canon) law, participants learn skills in communication, administration and financial management. Furthermore, participants will develop an understanding of leadership as well as the competencies required to meet the responsibilities and challenges of different leadership roles within the organization of the Church.
- Describe the basic canons of the Church
- Describe the Church’s organizational structure
- Explain communication and administration in the Church
- Be able to carry out accounting and generate financial statements.
- Navigate the Church’s governance structures and the life of the Church
- Develop the participant’s leadership skills and enable them to relate their practical administrative skills to their leadership role
- Develop a personal and corporate consciousness of, and respect for, administrative work as an essential service for the Church
Homiletics is the art of composition and delivery of a sermon or discourse. It includes all forms of preaching, presenting a sermon or delivering catechetical teaching. Christianity has spread through, and is still sustained by, homilies. In Homiletics we study the art of preparation and delivery of preaching according to the time, space and situation. Participants will study types of sermons (homilies), parts of specific sermons (homily), identify audience and prepare sermons according to the need of the gathered faithful in line with the Tewahedo faith and tradition.
- Define the role and rhetorical character of various types of sermons and homilies
- Identify various types of settings and gathered constellations of the faithful and reflect on their implication for preparing and delivering sermons
- Correlate various scriptural sources in relation to the preparation and delivery of sermons
- Evaluate the delivery and outcome of one’s own and others’ sermons and participate in giving and receiving constructive critical feedback.