Ethiopian Orthodox (Coptic Church)--sacraments are valid?


#1

We are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. The child was baptized at birth (day 14) in the Coptic rite; I assume he was also given the other sacraments of initiation. Does anyone know what we would need to do once we bring the child home? Baptism is probably valid, what about the other sacraments? And if there are no written records, how would we get some sort of a birth certificate, which is always requested in a Catholic's future life (other sacraments)? Thanks to anyone who could help us.


#2

You might wish to consult a Coptic or Ethiopian Catholic priest on the matter. Or an Orthodox one. If you don't have one near you, there are lots of websites with contacts.

But if no records are available, conditional baptism would probably be the order of the day.

God bless you! :)

Alex


#3

[quote="casey_zia, post:1, topic:248820"]
We are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. The child was baptized at birth (day 14) in the Coptic rite; I assume he was also given the other sacraments of initiation. Does anyone know what we would need to do once we bring the child home? Baptism is probably valid, what about the other sacraments? And if there are no written records, how would we get some sort of a birth certificate, which is always requested in a Catholic's future life (other sacraments)? Thanks to anyone who could help us.

[/quote]

The Sacraments are 100% valid. You should definitely try to get documentation from Ethiopia because this child has received Confirmation and "First Communion" already, and should not be re-Confirmed (and they could receive Communion at any time). I don't know how exactly you would go about getting that documentation, but hopefully the adoption agency knows the ropes as this would seem to be a fairly common concern.

Another issue that might come up is that your child will technically (I think) be Ethiopian Catholic and not Roman Catholic. Should they decide to enter religious life later on, or even just get married to a non-Roman Catholic this could become an issue.

Peace and God bless!


#4

I understand that there are different rites that make up the universal Church, but I didn’t think the Coptic (Ethiopian) rite was one. Their patriarch is in Ethiopia, and the split from the Alexandrian rite was in the last century. The Pope of Alexandria is their spiritual head. That’s why I wonder about the sacraments, except for baptism, if the Holy Father in Rome is not considered the head of their church.


#5

Congratulations on the adoption of your son!

The Orthodox sacraments are fully valid. When a child under age 14 is adopted by two Roman Catholics, he becomes Roman Catholic. You will have a Roman Catholic baby with the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Holy Communion. Your baby may receive the Eucharist because he will be a Confirmed Catholic in a state of grace. You might choose to celebrate his First Solemn Confession around the age of 7 if you want him to fit in with the other Roman Catholic children who will be preparing for First Confession and First Communion. Contact the Coptic Orthodox church in the area of your son's orphanage and request his baptismal certificate. If you really can't get any proof of Baptism even the word of those who witnessed it, a conditional Baptism when he comes home and a conditional Confirmation at the appropriate age would be appropriate.


#6

Ethiopian Orthodox (Coptic Church)--sacraments are valid?

Of course. (yes)


#7

The Ethiopian (Tewahedo) Orthodox did not "split" from the Coptic Orthodox Church. They were granted their own patriarch by the Patriarch of Alexandria following the 1948 agreement granting the Ethiopian church its autocephaly. So you would not want to contact the local Coptic Orthodox church for information on your child's baptism, unless you are adopting a very old "child". ;)

I would additionally look into issues (under the guidance of an RC priest) like those raised by Ghosty, as there is likely some precedent to be followed here, separate from questions about the validity of ETOC sacraments (which are not in doubt, according to Rome).


#8

[quote="casey_zia, post:4, topic:248820"]
I understand that there are different rites that make up the universal Church, but I didn't think the Coptic (Ethiopian) rite was one. Their patriarch is in Ethiopia, and the split from the Alexandrian rite was in the last century. The Pope of Alexandria is their spiritual head. That's why I wonder about the sacraments, except for baptism, if the Holy Father in Rome is not considered the head of their church.

[/quote]

The Tehwado Orthodox are valid; a portion became the Ethiopian Catholic Church, and clergy who convert are received by vesting and affirmation of the Faith.

They are as valid as any other Orthodox Church. And are in communion with the Pope of Antioch, too...


#9

[quote="casey_zia, post:4, topic:248820"]
I understand that there are different rites that make up the universal Church, but I didn't think the Coptic (Ethiopian) rite was one. Their patriarch is in Ethiopia, and the split from the Alexandrian rite was in the last century. The Pope of Alexandria is their spiritual head. That's why I wonder about the sacraments, except for baptism, if the Holy Father in Rome is not considered the head of their church.

[/quote]

In actual fact, the pope of Rome's primacy in the first millennium was exercised more within the context of ecumenical councils where he had the first chair, but that is another story.

The rite of Africa is called the "Alexandrian Rite" and it is used by the Coptic Church of Egypt, the Ethiopian Church, the Nubians and others.

A rite as such does not exist in isolation to the Particular Church that uses it and more than one Particular Church can use the same rite (although there are local differences, as there are in the Ethiopian tradition).

Alex


#10

Greetings to everyone,

This message is obviously a late response, but for future reference:
(1) the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church is an autonomous Church with Her own Patriarch/Katholikos. She was previously governed by Her Mother Church of Alexandria and the Coptic Pope/Patriarch, until 1959.

(2) The EOTC is an Oriental/Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Church. She only accepts the First Three (3) Ecumenical Councils as valid and canonical. There is no INTERCOMMUNION with Chalcedonian or Catholic Churches, including Melkites, and even the Ethiopian Catholic Church.

(3) If the parents wanted to obtain a baptismal certificate, they would have to (attempt) to do so at the local Ethiopian Orthodox Church where the child was baptized or request from an EOTC bishop. The Coptic Orthodox Church administration most likely wouldn’t grant it, as it would be difficult to obtain proof of baptism.

(4) In the EOTC & the COC, the baptized also receives confirmation (myron) and the Eucharist at once (during the Divine Liturgical Service).

(5) The EOTC has its own language (Gi’iz) and Liturgical anaphora(s).

(6) The EOTC is an ancient Church with a wealth of resources from other Orthodox Churches. It would be advisable to learn and even keep the child (person) affiliated with this great heritage for Christianity. I don’t intend to turn this into a theological or dogmatic debate, but from my view, the parents should look toward Orthodoxy, which is not impractical. Our Orthodox Churches have stable order, dogmatics and theology. Of course, there are developmental and cultural issues, but the preservation of the faith and order of the Apostles is completely intact.

I hope that Christianity will be under one umbrella one day…thanks for listening.


#11

[quote="PETROSMARKOS, post:10, topic:248820"]

(1) the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church is an autonomous Church with Her own Patriarch/Katholikos. She was previously governed by Her Mother Church of Alexandria and the Coptic Pope/Patriarch, until 1959.
(2) The EOTC is an Oriental/Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Church. She only accepts the First Three (3) Ecumenical Councils as valid and canonical. There is no INTERCOMMUNION with Chalcedonian or Catholic Churches, including Melkites, and even the Ethiopian Catholic Church.
(4) In the EOTC & the COC, the baptized also receives confirmation (myron) and the Eucharist at once (during the Divine Liturgical Service).
(5) The EOTC has its own language (Gi'iz) and Liturgical anaphora(s).

[/quote]

This is EXACTLY the information I've been seeking out! I didn't think there was intercommunion with the Roman Catholic Church.

(3) If the parents wanted to obtain a baptismal certificate, they would have to (attempt) to do so at the local Ethiopian Orthodox Church where the child was baptized or request from an EOTC bishop. The Coptic Orthodox Church administration most likely wouldn't grant it, as it would be difficult to obtain proof of baptism.

These boys didn't even have birth certificates; birthdates had to be made up for them. Ethiopia doesn't have a Vital Statistics department, and things like baptisms and weddings take place, but not with documents or a need to celebrate particular anniversaries.

(6) The EOTC is an ancient Church with a wealth of resources from other Orthodox Churches. It would be advisable to learn and even keep the child (person) affiliated with this great heritage for Christianity. I don't intend to turn this into a theological or dogmatic debate, but from my view, the parents should look toward Orthodoxy, which is not impractical. Our Orthodox Churches have stable order, dogmatics and theology. Of course, there are developmental and cultural issues, but the preservation of the faith and order of the Apostles is completely intact.

Slightly impractical, as my husband and I and our children are all Roman Catholic and have been all our lives; and the closest Orthodox Church of any kind is about 1500km away. Would the EOTC have anything in communion with the Orthodox Churches? I would think not, so what would be the difference between these boys joining us in our RC faith and joining an Orthodox Church?

I do appreciate your information on this post.


#12

Keep in mind that there is a Coptic Catholic Church and an Ethiopian Catholic Church that are among the 23 Catholic Churches in union with the pope. These churches are made up of members of the Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches that reunited with Rome in the past. They could join the Catholic Church, but learn about their heritage and join the equivalent Eastern Catholic version of their church.


#13

[quote="Rolltide, post:12, topic:248820"]
Keep in mind that there is a Coptic Catholic Church and an Ethiopian Catholic Church that are among the 23 Catholic Churches in union with the pope. These churches are made up of members of the Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches that reunited with Rome in the past. They could join the Catholic Church, but learn about their heritage and join the equivalent Eastern Catholic version of their church.

[/quote]

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the Coptic Catholic Church was not "members of the Orthodox counterpart that reunited with Rome", but rather the Latin Church establishing an equivalent Catholic Church for the Copts so that they laity who would want to reunite with Rome can do so while keeping their Liturgical traditions (although I also heard they are badly Latinized). I heard it here on CAF before and I'd love to be corrected if that information is wrong. Basically, unlike the Chalcedonian Churches who had bishops decide to reunite with Rome, the Coptics didn't really had bishops who wanted to reunite with Rome.


#14

I'm not sure about there Eucharist. Just saw a documentary on the Ethiopian Church and their communion wine is not made from grapes (Vitis Vinifera) but is made from honey. That would mean they don't have valid matter.


#15

nonsense

dmstmichael.com/Communion.html
Holy Communion

The Ethiopian Church believes that the Holy Communion is both a Sacrament and a Sacrifice offered for our salvation, an unbloody sacrifice. As a sacrament it is that august mystery through which we eat the blessed flesh of our Lord, and drink His precious blood under the form of bread and wine. It is called also the Eucharist, the Lord’s Table, the Body and Blood of Christ. The bread and wine which are blessed and consecrated by the word and help of the Lord and by the hand of the priest are united with His Body and Blood and truly changed, the bread is the Body of the son of God, and the wine is truly the Blood of the Son of God. Cor. 16, 17; Jn. xx 28. That which we receive is for a memorial of His death, for the forgiveness of sin, for the strengthening of faith and for eternal life. Mat. xxvi 26, 27, Jn. vi. 54. But he who eats and drinks when he ought not, eats and drinks condemnation to himself; it does not profit him.

It is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who blesses and changes the bread and wine. By His word and grace, when the priest who has received authority blesses the bread, it becomes truly the Body of the Lord, and when he blesses the wine, it becomes truly the Blood of the Lord. Before receiving the Holy Eucharist the soul must be free from sins, be washed in the water of repentance. What is necessary to prepare the body to receive the Eucharist is purity of heart and the works of faith, love, gentleness and mercy; outward fasting alone does not prepare the body with honor. But nevertheless, the ordinances of the church command those who intend to communicate to fast beforehand, taking no food and no liquid. The sick are exempted from the requirement of fasting and Eucharist may be celebrated for the faithful in time of sickness when they desire it.

Communion is administered in both kinds. Immediately after the reception the deacon gives water to those who have received in order that they may rinse their mouths. The wine is made before each service by the deacon from dried grapes and water. The sacrament is reserved in the Tabot because occasional reservation is in use f.e. the last sacrament is administered in the homes of the sick people.

In brief the Church’s faith is that our Lord Jesus is truly and actually present in the Sacrament of Eucharist, the faithful partake of the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, get the spiritual food which helps them to grow in grace, receive remission of sins, abide in Christ and Christ abides in them, get holy companionship with Christ and fellow worshippers and with all the Church on earth, are given true life in this world and eternal life. Bells ring and believers prostrate themselves when the Holy Eucharist is in procession. When the flesh is divided and given to the believers, every part of it even the smallest part is perfect body of the Lord, the same with the blood. It is also believed that once the bread and wine are changed they remain flesh and blood till they are completely consumed. Communion is consecrated and given on the same day. Believers go and communicate in the church. In case of the very sick the priest takes communion to those who are near; for those who are far he consecrates Communion in a tent.

More here:
orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=25338.0


#16

Hi OP, title and the comments are confusing, though.

Ethiopian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox are all under Oriental Orthodoxy. These are not the same as e.g. Coptic Catholic, Ethiopian Catholic, etc


#17

Oh i'm sorry! I didnt know i dig an old thread! I havent been here for quite sometime, i got confused


#18

[quote="stjoanofarc, post:14, topic:248820"]
I'm not sure about there Eucharist. Just saw a documentary on the Ethiopian Church and their communion wine is not made from grapes (Vitis Vinifera) but is made from honey. That would mean they don't have valid matter.

[/quote]

The Documentary could possibly be speaking about Te'J, the national or cultural Hamo-Semitic Honey Wine (Ethiopian version of Honey Mead). This is NEVER USED in the Divine Liturgical Service. There are some Holy Places in Ethiopia that give Honey as a Blessing, but again, it is not administered in any way or form as one of the Liturgical Elements.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church traditionally presses dried-grapes (raisins) approximately one hour before what is known as the Great Entrance or Procession of the Eucharistic Elements (to the Preparatory Service of the Pre-Anaphora. It is mixed with Pure Water depending on the day (the Bishop or Priest) will use his discretion, whether this is a Major Feast Day or typical turn-out for the congregants.

Hope this clears up the misunderstanding.


#19

i heard this being said by a BBC documentary here the link youtube.com/watch?v=m8XU7mAR0DQ it is at 2:30 in the video that he says honey is made to make a type of meed which is used for holy communion?


#20

[quote="stjoanofarc, post:19, topic:248820"]
i heard this being said by a BBC documentary here the link youtube.com/watch?v=m8XU7mAR0DQ it is at 2:30 in the video that he says honey is made to make a type of meed which is used for holy communion?

[/quote]

Likely a misunderstanding. The video appears to be showing a blessing, not Communion. I'm not familiar with any Communion service that has a mass of people pressed against the priest with their hands extended as he spreads a honey mixture on their fingers. :confused:


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