Five Pillars of Mystery: The mystery of the Trinity
The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo 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 belief of the faithful in religious teachings just 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
Mystery of the Holy Trinity
In this section the mystery of Unity and Trinity of the Triune God is described. The Holy Trinity is three in name, in person, in deed and one in essence, in divinity, in existence, in will.
- Three in name:
- The Father, The Son and The 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 a 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. And finally, 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 Holy Trinity is also One as well. They are three are:
- one in essence,
- One in divinity,
- One in existence
- One in will;
When an orthodox tewahdo beliefs says they believe in the Holy Trinity, it is not say they believe 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).
Ignatius wrote in the Book of the Faith of the Fathers (Haymanote Abew) the name of the Father is not changed to be the name of the Son or the Holy Spirit. The name of the Son is not changed to be the name of the father or the Holy Spirit, the name of the Holy Spirit is not changed to be the name of the Father or the Son. The Father is called Father but not the Son or the Holy Spirit. The Son is called Son but not the Father or the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is called the Holy Spirit but not the Father and the Son. The Father is the Father, the Son is the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit. The three exist eternally in their own name and person. (Faith of the Fathers Ch. 11 part 1 Verse 7.8). In their name of unity, the three are called Lord, God. Lord the Father, Lord the Son, Lord the Holy Spirit One Lord. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy spirit One God. The three hundred eighteen fathers in The Book of Faith (Haimanote Abew) said "we believe in Lord the Father, in Lord the Son, in Lord the Holy Spirit. (Hai Ab. Ch. 19 Part 1 Verse 30).
The Apostolic St. Athanasius Archbishop of Alexandria said that "The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. They are called one God but not three Gods.” (Apostolic Athanasius Faith of the Fathers Ch.24 Part 4 Verse 4).
It is stated in many places in the Old and the New Testament Books about the Oneness and Trinity of the Holy Trinity. Some of these include:
- In the Old Testament:
Gen. 1:26; 2: 18; 3:22; 11:7; 18: 1-8; Ps. 33:6; 146:5; Isa. 6:3,8
- In the New Testament:
Mt.3:16-17; 28:19; 1n.14:26; 2Cor.14:13; 1 Pet. 1:2;11n. 5:7-8
Symbolic Metaphors: The Sun
There are many ways that the mystery of the Holy Trinity can be symbolic. For example, often times The Sun is used as metaphor to example Qdist Silassie or the Holy Trinity. The Sun can be described in three ways: its form, Light and warmth (hot). Our fathers explain that its form is like the Father, the Light being the Son and the Warmth (hot) being the Holy Spirit. Just as one cannot separate the physical form of the Sun from away from the light or warmth it gives, it same can be said of the Holy Spirit. Which the Holy Trinity describes as being the Father, the Son and the Spirit; One cannot exist without the other two. The Holy Spirit is three while also being One.