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Hymns of the Church: St. Yared vs. Worldly music

Why not add an organ in the background, even use different chants in the church? Wouldn’t it sound beautiful to add the guitar? As long as you are praising God, why should it matter how?

Our Lord and savior Jesus Christ passed down the faith to the Apostles.
Each Orthodox faith has its own different, and deep culture in the history of its hymn use. From different apostles establishing those churches like St. Thomas & the Indian Orthodox Church, & St. Mark to the Coptic Orthodox Church, & the other Armenian, Syrian, & Malankara Orthodox churches to St. Yared & the Ethiopian & Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Churches.

The Church history on hymns dates back to St Yared, in the 5th century. Inspired by the Holy Spirit and moved by a deep love of the Church, he composed all the hymns of the church with musical notations. He created special hymns and musical variations for different occasions & seasons. It is described as hymn akin to the song of the angels in praise of God. Hence, after we sing hymns, we finish by saying “Zimarie melaikt yesmealna” or “May He make us worthy to hear the hymns of the Angels.”

So what instruments do we use?

The hymn of St. Yared is the central and most beautiful element of Orthodox worship.
We use the tsenatsil (cistern), the kebero (drum), meqomya (staff), shambiqo (flute), a mesenqo (lute) a 5 string Krar (lyre), and 10 string harp called a begena.

The only instruments used inside the Biet Meqdes, (the sanctuary) are the cistern, kebero & meqomya. The others can be used outside the sanctuary walls. Just as St. Yared brought back the chants from the heavenly jerusalem, we also choose to use only those special hymns that encompass the full range of chants.

Since this inspired hymn is the work of the Holy Spirit, it has been transmitted from generation to generation with great respect and honor.
So at the end, the church doesn’t conform to the standards of the world. The church has it’s own deeply rooted tradition & culture in which has been established.

When we try to go outside of the Yaredawi ziema (Chants of St. Yared) we are choosing to go outside the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Churches tradition, we do not bring any other types of variation of chants into the singing in the church, when the full range of chants has been encompassed in the Chants of St. Yared.

Let's be honest, do we desire the worldly music simply for our own pleasure, or to praise God? Is desiring change to being ‘modern’ for God’s sake, or for our enjoyment?

“Stand fast & hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.” 2nd Thess. 2:15

Glory be to God

Glory be to His Virgin Mother

Glory be to the Holy Cross

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