Ethiopian (Ge'ez) Liturgy

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The Ethiopic Liturgy is broadly similar to the copticliturgy, but translated into Ge'ez, ancient Ethiopian. The Ethiopian Divine Liturgy can be divided into two parts: (1) the Pre-anaphora including entrance, incensing and preparation of the altar, blessing and offering of the bread and wine, prayers of thanksgiving and petition, trisagion, Epistle, Gospel, dismissal of catechumens, and Creed; and (2) the Anaphora including prayer for peace, the Gloria and the Kiss of Peace, the Preface, Sanctus, Consecration, Anamnesis, Epiclesis, fraction, Lord's Prayer, elevation, consignation (a moistening of the Host with the Precious Blood), commingling of the Sacred Species, Communion, prayer of thanksgiving, and the final blessing of the faithful.

Traditionally, there are as many as 17 Anaphoras (Eucharistic Prayers) in the Ethiopian Liturgical Books, although that "Of the Apostles" is most commonly used. Church buildings, often with open sides and thatched roof, are generally circular or octagonal in design, although some are rectangular. Church interiors are usually divided into three concentric circles, marked off by high partitions: for the altar, the singers, and the assembly. For liturgical services other than the Divine Liturgy, drumbeating, hand-clapping, and the jangling of sistra set the rhythm of the singing. Fasting is frequent and rigorous. Worthy of note, too, are remnants of an early Jewish influence, e.g., ritual purification for mothers, and distinction between clean and unclean meats.

Bibliography: d. attwater, The Christian Churches of the East (rev. ed. Milwaukee 1961) 1:138146; 2:193203. s. mercer, The Ethiopic Liturgy (Milwaukee 1915). a. hÄnggi & i. pahl, Prex Eucharistica (Freiburg 1968).

[e. e. finn/eds.]