Debre Hail Kidus Raguel Church was established on April 2010 under the Washington DC and Its Surroundings Archdiocese of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC). It obeys, adheres to and follows the administrative structure of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church – The Mother Church - in Ethiopia, as defined in the Canon Law (Fiteh Mensesawi) and Kale Awadi. The Church recognizes and accepts the spiritual leadership of the Holy Synod based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The highest governing body of the Church is the Holy Synod, which is the assembly of Archbishops and bishops who are members of one body in the holy apostolic church chaired by His Holiness the Patriarch. The authority of the Holy Synod extends to the entire Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Churches inside and outside Ethiopia. The church abides by the regular notices of spiritual and secular legislative guidelines of the EOTC Holy Synod.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is one of the ancient apostolic churches established in the first Christian era. According to Eusebius’s HISTORY OF THE CHURCH, Ethiopian Eunuch /acts, 8:26-40/, was the first apostle of the country. Starting from that time, Ethiopians accepted Christianity and the structural church was established in the 4th c. The E.O.T.C accepts only the first three Ecumenical Councils: Nicene325 AD, Ephesus 431AD and Constantinople 381 AD as legitimate and canonical.
The official name of the church is Debre Haile Kidus Raguael Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
The very origin of the church establishment started, in its miniature form, with the help of two Christian companions forming a prayer group called Tsion Mariam. Then after, with additional four members, the Tsion Mariam prayer group officially started on September 4th 2005. The one and main reason that compelled to start this prayer group was, there was no any Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church around the Dulles airport area, and people had to drive 30-40 miles to find and attend a church in DC or Maryland. The very first meeting of these six people took place at the parking lot of TC Williams High School, and on this first meeting day, the name of the prayer group was chosen, and various committees were formed.
In September 2005, the Tsion Mariam prayer group got the blessings of the then regional archbishop His Eminence Abune Kewestos, and continued the spiritual service until March 2010. Then after, on March 7, 2010, with the blessings of His Eminence Abune Abraham, the successor archbishop of DC and the surroundings archdiocese, Debre Haile Kidus Raguael Church was officially established. On this very same day, the first Parish Council of the church, comprised of 9 members, were also elected to oversee the church’s administration.
On September 2010, with the prayers and blessings of the then archbishop His Eminence Abune Abraham, the church began spiritual services at 655 Spring St., Herndon VA 20170, with 170 parishioners. At this location, the church stayed for only two months, and due to the growing number of members, the church moved in to a repurposed warehouse located at 506 Shaw Rd., Suite 307/309, Sterling VA 20166. In September 2014 the church bought a building from Gilford Baptist Church for 1.3 million dollars.
Currently, the Church has three fathers (priests), more than 10 deacons and 380 enrolled/registered active members.
Debre Haile Kidus Raguael Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was established under the Washington DC and Its Surroundings Archdiocese of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC). The Church obeys, adheres to and follows the administrative structure of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church – The Mother Church - in Ethiopia, as defined in the Canon Law (‘Fiteh Mensesawi’ and ‘Kale Awadi’). The Church recognizes and accepts the spiritual leadership of the Holy Synod and abides by the regular notices of spiritual and secular legislative guidelines of the EOTC Holy Synod. The Church accepts and follows the overall spiritual leadership of the respective Archdiocese (Archdiocese of Washington DC and Its Surroundings – www.eotcdc.org).
Church programs like the Liturgy, sermons, and other spiritual services are mainly conducted by the Clergy of the church who are ordained according to EOTC Canon.
The weekly spiritual services schedule is as follows:
- Sunday: 4AM-11AM – Morning prayers, Liturgy, and Sermon
- Sunday: 12PM-3PM – Sunday School program
- Sunday: 12PM – 1PM – Youth program
- Sunday: 9PM – 11PM – Kids program
- Friday: 6PM-8PM – Prayer and sermons/bible study
- Tuesday through Saturday: 7AM-11AM – Morning Prayer and Confession
Through these spiritual services, the church fulfills its main purposes, which are:-
- ·propagation, development and practice of the tenets, philosophy and beliefs of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (hereafter EOTC), the Mother Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and their promotion and implementation for the betterment of all church members;
- ·strengthening our faith in Christ in accordance with the teachings, traditions and laws of the EOTC;
- ·Committing to expanding our church and enriching its basic Creed, which has made a significant contribution to our common national culture.
Our church’s specific spiritual activities include:
Liturgy and Prayers
The church conducts the Divine Liturgy every Sunday morning from 4AM-11AM, every month on the feasts of Archangel Raguael and Archangel Gabriel, and on annual feasts (Nativity, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter, etc.) which are celebrated according to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) calendar.
According to the EOTC, the Divine (Eucharistic) Liturgy is regarded as the supreme act of communal worship. Through it, devout believers hold intimate communion with their Living Lord, through the consecrated elements called “Qurban” which is the Holy Communion, the Lord’s Table, the Eucharist, the Flesh and Blood of Christ, as it is said in the Gospel, ‘Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body. Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’ [Matthew 26:26-27]. The Liturgy was composed by the Apostles as taught to them by Jesus Christ, who after His resurrection appeared to them, "To whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). The EOTC has fourteen Anaphoras, a unique phenomenon in any Christian Church. Each is used on special occasions to mark the observance of a particular holy day. Through the Anaphoras differ in length and content, they have common characteristics. They stress the Incarnations, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.
The Church also conducts a weekly prayer and confession programs on Tuesday from 6PM-7PM, and on Friday and Saturday from 7AM-11 AM.
The Sunday Morning Service including the Divine Liturgy and the sermon is broadcasted live on our website at www.dhkidusraguel.org/index.php/live-broadcast. Previously broadcasted programs can be found at our Ustream Channel: www.ustream.tv/channel/dhkidusraguel.
Sermons and religious teachings
Sermons and religious teachings are provided on a weekly basis (twice a week): on the Sunday morning program right after the Divine Liturgy (usually from 9AM-10:30AM) and on the Friday Evening program from 7PM-8PM. The Church teaches the EOTC faith, doctrine, canon and tradition.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” Matthew 28: 19 – 20
Sunday School programs
The Sunday School is responsible for teaching the youth and children about the EOTC religion, the bible and hymns. Sunday School is also responsible for educating our very young and future generations, who are cut off from their culture, to read and write in their own languages so that they will have a sense of their own cultural identity and belongingness.
The Sunday School has two weekly programs one for the youth and the other one for children between the age of 2 to 12. The Youth Program includes courses on various topics such as bible study, church history, EOTC doctrine, church sacraments, Christian living, and more. The children program includes bible story, Amharic language study, Hymn study, and more.
We believe in one God the Father almighty, maker of heaven, earth and all things visible and invisible.
And we believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of the Father who was with Him before the creation of the world:
Light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one essence with the father:
By whom all things were made, and without Him was not anything in heaven or earth made:
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, was made man and was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and from the Holy Virgin Mary.
Became man, was crucified for our sakes in the days of Pontius Pilate, suffered, died, was buried and rose from the dead on the third day as was written in the holy scriptures:
Ascended in glory into heaven, sat at the right hand of His Father, and will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead; there is no end of his reign.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the life-giving God, who proceedeth from the Father; we worship and glorify Him with the Father and the Son; who spoke by the prophets;
And we believe in one holy, universal, apostolic church,
And we believe in one baptism for the remission of sins, and wait for the resurrection from the dead, and the life to come, world without end. Amen.
About The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church – The Mother Church
The EOTC is one of the few Churches of Christendom where the worship of the primitive church has been preserved. It is an ancient church which upholds the Apostolic Teachings.
The term “Ethiopia”, which means “burnt face” in Greek, was first used by Homer and Herodotus to refer to the place between south of Egypt and Indian Ocean because the area was inhabited by people having that colour. Ancient Egyptians used to call the place south of their country as “Land of the Cush”. Prophet Moses used the term to refer to that place because he grew up in Egypt learning their language and culture. The Seventy Scholars, who lived in the second century B.C. and translated the Holy Bible from Hebrew into Greek, used the term “Ethiopia” to refer to the place that Moses called “Cush”. This term has been mentioned more than 40 times in the Holy Bible. Currently the term Ethiopia is used to refer to the East African country which has an area of about 1,119,683 Km2.
Orthodox means, in Greek, straight or right. This term was used as part of the name of the church by the bishops and scholars of the church who attended the Council of Nicea (a city near the current Istanbul). The council was summoned because of Arius’ false teachings on the nature of Christ. The scholars and bishops called their faith “Orthodox” after defeating Arius in the argument in the council.
Tewahido stands for the term incarnation or union, which in other words means oneness, and shows the Son being perfect God- perfect man, but as one entity, which is the basic dogma of the church. Our church believes that the Son, who existed before the creation of this world, came to this world and assumed the human flesh and soul, and in doing so, he has become a perfect God - a perfect man, having just one entity. Ethiopia has been worshipping God in the three eras (rules); please see the attached for further details.
Worship is conducted in a Church. The Church worships the Living God using the following:
- Liturgy (explained above)
- “Mahelet” or Cantillation which is an integral part of worship in the EOTC. Hymns are sung in different modes and Rhythms. The hymnary is created by Saint Yared, a scholar who lived in Aksum, Ethiopia in the 6th century. He created the chant and the notation system inspired and guided by Holy Spirit. In the Ethiopian synaxarium it is written that when the Almighty God wanted to establish sacred chants as he was desirous of being praised up on earth, three angels were sent from heaven in the form of three birds to teach Yared heavenly songs in his own language.
- Celebration of Holidays and Feasts
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church doctrine is based on the “five pillars of Mystery” through which it teaches and demonstrates its basic religious belief. They are called pillars of Mystery because they support and strengthen the faithful in religious teachings as a polar supports a roof. These mysteries have Biblical foundation (1Cor. 14:19). Accordingly, the five pillars of mystery are expressed in the creed, which is the confession of our faith.
- Mystery of the Trinity
This describes the mystery of Unity and Trinity of the Triune God.
The Holy Trinity is three in name, in person (Akal, in Amharic), in deed and one in essence, in divinity, in existence, in will.
Three in name: Father, Son, Holy Spirit
Three in deed: The Father is the begetter
The son is begotten
The Holy Spirit is the one who proceeds
Three in person: The Father has a perfect person
The Son has perfect person
The Holy Spirit has a perfect person
The Father is the heart, the son is the word, and the Holy Spirit is the life (breath).
The Father is the heart for Himself, and He is the heart for the Son and for the Holy Spirit. The Son is the word for Himself, and He is the word for the Father, and for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the life (breath) for Himself, and He is the life (breath) for the Father and the Son.
Even though we say the Trinity are three in name, in deed and in person; the three are one in essence, in divinity, in existence and in will; we do not mean three Gods but one God. While the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit exist in their own perfect person, they are one in existence. (Abulidis, Faith of the Father's Chap. 40 Verse 4:6)
- Mystery of Incarnation
Mystery of incarnation means the mystery of the descending of God the Son who is one of the Trinity from heaven and taking up flesh and rational soul from the Holy Virgin Mary. This is the mystery of God becoming man and man becoming God. "The word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (Jn. 1:14).
- Mystery of Baptism
Baptism is the sacrament given to all who believe in the Mystery of the Trinity and the Mystery of Incarnation for the remission of sin, to obtain adoption from the Triune God, to inherit the kingdom of God. It is called mystery, because, when the priest recites the prayer of baptism over the water and blesses it, it will be changed and become the water that flowed from the right side of our Lord Jesus Christ and one can receive the invisible grace of the adopted sonhood of God (Jn. 19:34-35). Whosoever believes and is baptized, shall get remission of sin. "We believe in one baptism for the remission of sin" (Creed).
- Mystery of the Holy Communion
Mystery of the Holy Communion is a supreme act of life through which we can hold intimate communion with God and that, which makes us one with God. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the son of Man, and drink his blood; ye have no life in you." "Who so eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood hath eternal life. My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed, for it is a real food. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelled in me, and I in him." (Jn. 6:53-57)
- Mystery of the Resurrection of the Dead
Resurrection is the Mystery of life after death. All those who have departed from the time of Adam, and will pass away until the second coming of Christ, will be raised in the union of body and soul. The souls of the righteous shall abide in paradise and the souls of sinners in heads until the end of this world but on the last day, when our Lord and savior Jesus Christ shall come in His glory, to judge the living and the dead, the souls shall be united with their bodies on the day of resurrection and they shall rise from the dust of the earth. (Lk. 16:19-31)
The main sources of doctrines of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church are Holy Scriptures, Decisions of Councils and Apostolic Tradition.
- Holy Scriptures
In different times, God has chosen many people to write scriptures that man can learn from. Of these, 46 books of the Old Testament and 35 books written after the birth of Jesus Christ create the Holy Bible. There are also many other books, which explain the rest of the books in the Holy Bible, record the events after the books in the New Testament have been written and are used for prayer and thanks giving.
- Decisions of Councils
Fathers of the church who followed in the footsteps of the Apostles called for councils to solve the problems that arose in the church and anathemise those who had refused to forsake their false teachings. The EOTC accepts three councils and their decisions: The Creed of Nicea held in 317 E.C., the Council of Constantinople held in 373 E.C. and the Council of Ephesus held in 423.
- Apostolic Tradition
Apostolic tradition refers to the activities, values and teachings of the apostles that have been passed onto generations in written, oral and other practical mediums. The apostles first taught the Gospel orally. Later on they wrote what they have taught to preserve it for future use. Many of their writings are included in the Holy Bible. Nevertheless, there is a lot that has not been written in the Holy Bible; the apostles themselves wrote that all has not been written.
“And there is also many other things which Jesus did, and if they should be written everyone, I suppose even the world itself could not contain the books that could be written” (John 21: 25)
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle” (Thessalonians II: 15)
These traditions have been passed on from one generation to the other and we have received them in our turn. We accept them and use them to guide our lives because they have been given to the apostles and our fathers by the Holy Spirit. In fact the Scriptures on the Holy Bible are also parts of this tradition.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has 46 books of the Old Testament and 35 books of the New Testament that will bring the total of canonized books of the Bible to 81.
The Holy Scriptures are one of the two great foundations of the faith and here is what our church holds and teaches concerning it. The word of God is not contained in the Bible alone, it is to be found in tradition as well. The Sacred Scriptures are the written word of God who is the author of the Old and New Testaments containing nothing but perfect truth in faith and morals. But God’s word is not contained only in them, there is an unwritten word of God also, which we call apostolic tradition.
In addition to the bible the church accepts and uses the theological books such as “Haymanote Abew” (meaning Faith of the Fathers) in which other writings of the Apostolic Church Fathers; and Book of the Monks (“Metsehafe Menekosat”); Books of church administration and Canon; and Book of the Saints