The beliefs of the Abyssinian church are, in general, those of the Alexandrian patriarchate, and can be summarized as follows. The first authority for the definitions of faith is the Bible, whose books received as canons are those of the canon of the Catholic Church and of the Orthodox; it therefore also includes the deuterocanonicals (apocryphal for Protestants) Tobias, Judith, Ecclesiastical, etc., but in addition to this also some apocryphal ones. Conversely, the Abyssinians do not have our Maccahei books. The first three ecumenical councils are recognized: Nicaea (325); Constantinople (381); Ephesus (431), nor is it correct that the latter was not admitted. The council of Chalcedon (451) is rejected, with which the splitting of the Monophysites from the Catholics and Orthodox begins, and so too, as is natural, all subsequent councils. For the
God is one and three, in three equal and distinct persons; the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father; the Word became man for the redemption of the world, and in incarnation, human nature was, according to some, absorbed by the divine and has, so to speak, disappeared (but this doctrine of Eutyches never, or almost never had, followers in Abyssinia); according to others, and they are by far the most, it has joined the latter, so however that only one nature has resulted. The virgin must be called “Mother of God” not “Mother of Christ”, as the Nestorians want. It enjoys a very special veneration and cult, and Zar’a Yā‛qob prescribed that in every church there should be an altar dedicated to the Madonna, and her annual feasts were not less than 33. God created all beings from nothing. visible and invisible. For Ethiopia 2014, please check thesciencetutor.org.
Sacraments. – The sacraments are, at least theoretically, seven, as in the other Eastern churches. Baptism is done by threefold immersion; in the genuine doctrine of the church sacramental baptism is quite distinct from the commemoration of baptism in the Jordan (Epiphany), the well-known Coptic feast of ghi ṭā s, and from the custom of diving into water, though also called baptism. The Eucharist is administered under two kinds: the bread which is fermented and in the form of a focaccia, has small crosses imprinted on it; the priest removes from this bread a fragment that has the cross, dips it in wine, and gives it to the faithful: wine, which would often be difficult to have, is obtained by squeezing a few grapes. Doubts about real presence or transubstantiation do not seem to have ever been expressed; and it is natural, because the great relative disputes did not arise in the West until when Abyssinia was separated from it. Confession has no fixed time for its obligatory nature; at the time of the Jesuits it was not practiced before the age of 25; but all confess at the point of death. Anqa ṣ in Nessh ā (Gate of Penance); the acquittal is in a purely deprecatory form. Then there was a special ritual, the Mo ṣḥ afa Qa ṣ dr or Book of Impurity, for renegades, and for Christian women who had had sexual relations with non-Christian people; one and the other numerous after the terrible invasion of Grāñ. Holy orders (priesthood, etc.) are conferred by the metropolitan. Confirmation can be said to be abandoned; perhaps the difficulty of obtaining sacred chrism contributed to this. Extreme unction, although it has a ritual in ge‛ez (the ” Ma ṣḥ afa qandil “) and Zar’a Yā‛qob had issued orders in this regard, it seems that it is no longer administered to the dying. The marriage is celebrated in the presence of the priest, who recites the Pater noster, and blesses the spouses: they communicate, so that such a religious marriage is called baquerb ā n, that is with the Eucharist. Divorce is allowed, but especially in the case of adultery (cf. Matt., V, 32). Despite the great relaxation of customs, whoever is married to a religious marriage (The b ā la (ieg) is highly esteemed. The canonical provisions relating to marriage are summarized in the Fet ḥ a Nagast (see Guidi’s translation, p. 218 ff.); a council under John IV, in 1869, dealt with a part of them probably no longer observed. Circumcision is generally practiced and considered by many to be a religious duty, but by the church it is not officially regarded as such.
Eschatology. – Only after the resurrection and the universal judgment do the souls of the righteous go to heaven and those of the reprobate to hell; the former meanwhile are in the place of quiet or earthly paradise, the others wander here and there agitated; similar beliefs were also among the Siri. Purgatory is not known, but prayers for the dead are in full use, both immediately after death and in the entombment, and in subsequent days, the 3rd, 7th, 12th, etc. The ritual (or Ma ṣḥ afa Genzat, translated from the Coptic-Arab ritual) was then variously expanded.