Thursday, 22 January 2009

Ge'ez 1

Three years ago, I had the great privilege of having an Eritrean Cistercian monk, one Abba Negusse, stay with me for a couple of months. He cheerfully celebrated the Ordinary Form Mass, but on a few occasions, he also celebrated Mass in the Ethiopian rite for such parishioners as were interested. The first time, he did so in the ancient language of Ge'ez. That was fascinating; I remember the great triple 'qadoos qadoos qadoos', clearly cognate with the Hebrew 'kadosh' ('holy') that begun the Ethiopic Sanctus. I found on the internet (and I can't remember where I got it from) an English rendering used by the Ethiopian Catholic Church in the US. Abba Negusse used that for subsequent celebrations, and though I would have preferred him to use Ge'ez, at least people were able to follow and join in. I thought you might be interested to see some text and pictures from the celebration.

You'll see, of course, lots of inauthentic bits: I don't imagine many churches in Asmara have advent wreaths, and the masob is not a basket, but a good old Latin paten. And their Eucharistic vestment most closely resembles a cope, but of course a very Roman one had to do in Shoreham. But you get the idea. The hand cross he is using for the blessings is, however, authentic. An Ethiopian priest had given it to me some years before, and it is nice to think that it has been used properly.

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