Five Pillars of Mystery
The Eritrean Orthodox Church has Five Pillars of Mysteries through which it teaches and demonstrates its basic religious belief. They are called Pillars of Mystery due to the fact that they support and strengthen the faithful in religious teachings as a pillar supports a roof. These mysteries have Biblical foundation (l Cor. 14:19). Accordingly, the five pillars of mystery are expressed in the Orthodox Tewahdo Creed, which is the confession of our faith. The five mysteries of the church are as follows:
- The mystery of the Trinity
- The mystery of the Incarnation
- The mystery of Baptism
- The mystery of Communion
- The mystery of Resurrection
The Mystery of Incarnation
The Mystery of Incarnation is 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” (John.1:14).
The Reason for the Incarnation of the Son of God is because Adam and Eve were created without sin and death. "God did not make death" But, man, through" his transgression brought on himself misery and suffering as well as sin and evil, and was condemned to death - death of body and· soul, grave and hell (Gen. 3: 19-24). For God did not make death, He takes no pleasure in destroying the living. Do not court death by the errors of your ways, nor invite destruction through the work of your hands. To exist for this he created all things the creatures of the world have health in them, in them is no fatal poison, and Hades has no power over the world. But the godless call for death with deed and word, counting him friend, they were themselves out for him; with him they make a pact, working as they are to belong to him" (Wis. 1:12-16; Rom.6:23). "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thes. 5:9).
Adam and Eve disgraced" and impoverished themselves. They were expelled from the Garden of Eden. They brought suffering and misery and were subject to the dominion of the devil. Death reigned from Adam to Christ, even to them that had not sinned. (Rom. 5:12-14). They knew that all that had happened a result of their transgression and violation of the commandment of God; both felt regret and repented. They cried to their Creator seeking mercy. God in his forgiveness along with his judgment, hearing their cry, observing their tears and accepting their repentance, was pleased to redeem them, and gave them his covenant. (Isa. 63:8; Heb. 2: 14-16).
When the appointed time had come forth, God sent His only Begotten Son, according to the covenant he had given them. God the Son, descended from heaven and was born from the Holy Virgin Mary. He was born so that all who believe in Him would be saved. When it is said that He became man, it is said to mean that He united to himself the body and soul of man. One God had become Man the words and teachings of the prophets were fulfilled. (Isa. 7: 14, 9:6; Mich. 5:2; Gal 4:4). Without separation of His Divinity from His humanity and His humanity from His Divinity, He became one person, one nature without change, without confusion, without separation and without division. "He is one Son and one Christ before and after His; Incarnation" (Cyril. Faith of the Fathers Ch. 78 Part 48 Yerse 9-18). St. Gregory of Nazianzium said “He is the only God the Son who became man, and the only man who became God in unity" (Faith of the Fathers Ch. 61 part 4 Verse 23).
John Chrysostom has written that the human body was honored by the union of the Divine Word. The poverty in the nature of the flesh was abolished by the Unity of the Word of God with the flesh, and the flesh retained the glory of the Word of God to itself by the unity. (John Chrysostom, Faith of the Fathers Ch. 66 part 9 Verse 18- 19). After birth He grew like men, doing all human works except sin. He taught them for 33 years and 3 months in this world. For us He died on the Cross, destroyed death by His death and saved the world (Called Medhanie Alem or Savior of the World).
He was laid in the tomb for three days and three nights; rose from the dead on the third day; appeared to His disciples, stayed on earth for forty days, gathering His disciples and teaching them the Book of the Covenant. On the fortieth day, while the. disciples beheld, He ascended unto heaven to the Father in glory praised by angels, sat at the right hand of His Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead, when everyone will be recompensed according to is work. (In. 3:13; 1Pet.3:22; Mt. 25:31; Eph. 4:8-10; Acts 2:30; 2Cor. 5: 14; therefore, the -teaching highlighted in the Mystery of Incarnation is to believe that Christ is the Word-of the father and of the Holy Spirit, thus the Virgin Mary is the true Mother of God; the Mother of the Word. Cyril Hai Ab.).
-The Holy Bible
-Faith of the Fathers by John Chrysostom