Why not add an organ in the background, even use kinds of 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?
Each Orthodox Church has its Own different, & 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 established the hymns of the Eritrean & Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Churches. (*Note- This is in reference to the hymns)
Our Church History on Hymns: St. Yared-6th 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 the hymn akin to the song of the angels in praise of God.
Our Church bases of Instrument use on the Psalm 150 & St Yared.
We believe St Yared received his Hymns from the heavens as he said, “What hymns I heard from the heavens?!” Since then, our Church completely uses these “Yaredawi” hymns and instruments associated as a way to praise the Lord. And only the hymns that St. Yared brought down--no others. Why??
2 Thessalonians 2:15
St Paul teaches, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.” Because our Church is APOSTOLIC, we know the teachings of our father St Yared being passed on in the 6th century are God’s, and are well pleasing to Him.
Why might our Sister Churches use more modern instruments, while we don't?
We should first understand the relationship between the Coptic, Syrian, and other Sister Churches, with the Eritrean Orthodox Church. We share the same dogmatic foundation with the Coptic Church, but we differ in some aspects of our canon. This is why you may step into a Sister Church and see different things. Each sister Church has different gifts that are implemented in worship such as hymnology. Notice that these canonical differences should not be confused with cultural differences. In the case of hymnology, we know that St Yared, the composer, saint, and 6th century scholar of the Church bore the hymns of the Church from divine revelation.
Is it a sin?
The Church completely prohibits any other type of hymn or instruments to be practiced in the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church. Practices outside of these hymns are considered “reformed” and they neglect the beauty and order that has surrounded our Church for the past 1400 years. The Holy Synod does not allow or recognize the guitar or piano even though they may be used in the Coptic or other Sister Churches. Practicing a ritual that is not acceptable by the Church within her domain is a sin.
Closer to Home
In my house, I am governed by my parents and you are raised by your parents in your home, but it is the same God who commanded each of us to obey our parents. Even greater than our earthly parents is our Mother, the Church.
Having understood this, it is important to note that the Copts or other Sister churches may have hymns that we are welcome to share in because unlike other denominations (Pentecostal music) we know their dogma and tradition are unwavering from Orthodoxy. However, we have to sing our Church’s hymns within our Church.
We cannot mix our hymnology because there is a lot of mystery and intentionality delivered through this worship. In the same way we have St Yared, other sister Churches have come to the knowledge of their hymnology within their Church’s eye.
So, What Instruments DO we use?
We use the tsenatsil (cistern), the kebero (drum), meqomya (staff), shambiqo (flute), a mesenqo (lute) a 5 string Kirar (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.
Since this inspired hymn is the work of the Holy Spirit, it has been transmitted from generation to generation with great respect and honor. Yet with all this beauty, enduring 1400 years. Why do we desire to change it now? The church doesn’t conform to the standards of the world. The church has its own deeply rooted tradition & canon in which it has been established. Let's be honest, do we desire this simply for our own pleasure, or to praise God? Is desiring change to being ‘modern’ for God’s sake, or for our own enjoyment?