COVID-19: Fundraising to Help the Church, Monastery, Theology School and LisanTewahdo
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”- 2 Cor 9:7
Due to COVID-19, for the past two months, all churches within the country have stopped the usual gathering inside the Church. The Church and its organizations have been significantly affected financially. This has posed a great challenge in the continuation of spiritual projects and services across the country. The detrimental effect of COVID-19, has caused our Church to look toward her children in helping financially for the following causes:
1. To help the churches and Monasteries who have suffered the most.
2. To buy medical equipment and materials needed to protect from COVID-19 in our Churches and Monasteries.
3. To guarantee the continuation of self-funded projects including the Theology College and religious-schools
4. To strengthen and guarantee the continuation of the spiritual service of LISAN TEWAHDO especially to the diaspora faithful through Youtube.
The monasteries have been the source of our Tewahdo identity from history, authentic Holy Tradition, and continuity of orthodox teaching places for new monks, nuns, priests, and deacons; above all they have been holy places where the holy fathers have been praying for our country, the world, and for our safety on a daily basis. Almost all the Church fathers like St. John Chrysostom, St. Athanasius, St. Shenouda, Aba Philippos, the Nine Saints, and St. TekleHaimanot alike are products of our monastery.
The Eritrean Tewahdo monasteries have been one of the first of their kind, next to that of copts, out of the African continent as a whole. They are the pillars for sound and correct teaching of the Tewahdo Orthodox Church. Historically in the state of Eritrea there were over 300 monasteries. However, on top of the lack of adequate maintenance over the years, the neglect of these historical places since colonial periods; and lack of rain and drought which have forced monks to leave the monasteries, COVID-19 has posed a major problem for our Monasteries. Since COVID-19, each Monastery who was receiving financial help through alms of visitors, alms have now dwindled down to none. The few existing monasteries, in the lack of financial help, are on the verge of closing. Some don’t even have a roof but if they do, it is leaking, and unsustainable. Some fathers/monks are leaving unsafe, hazardous conditions in the monasteries seeking to be in a mildly improved monastery financially. Not only are the places inadequate but also due to the drought, the church fathers are forced to leave their original monastery to other larger “capable” monasteries to pray for us all.
The Church through its Holy Synod is asking for all especially for believers to help. In doing so, we would be allowing the Church Fathers to do what they do best: praying for our country, our faith and the faithful as a whole! If we don’t act now, there will be detrimental consequences:
1. Monasteries are the source of sound, foundational orthodox teaching of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They are the guardian of this Holy faith. Destruction of our monasteries means restricting a blood vessel to the heart of our body, later leading to death.
2. Monasteries are the basic school for our Tewahdo Faith where Bishops, Monks, Mergieta’s, Priests and Deacons alike, are educated and equipped with the orthodox teaching and Holy Tradition that was passed down from our forefathers. It is the Monasteries that give birth to Patriarchs and Bishops and it is the Bishops that appoint the Priests and Deacons and it is the Priests and Deacons who serve the mass. Destruction of monasteries compromises the authentic teaching of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the teachings that have been passed since the Holy Apostolic time.
3. Monasteries are the library of our faith where centuries of books including written and oral are found. They not only provide the necessary materials for what the faith should look like literally but also are the source of the life and practicality of Orthodox Christian faith in terms of liturgy, fasting, prayer and e.t.c. Destruction of monasteries makes our faith a corpse where later generations would end up with a lifeless faith.
4. Monasteries are archives of thousands of years of Eritrean History.
They are the shelters to the fatherless and the needy.
Lisan Tewahdo. This is an official YouTube TV broadcast to proclaim the Gospel of of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to teach and spread the Orthodox Christian Faith, to energize, cultivate, and guide the life of the Church mainly in the diaspora according to the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Christian Faith and Tradition. This is a channel we all hear from the Church Scholars about the correct understanding of the Orthodox faith. As you have already known, the Channel has been able to answer questions, and so many contemporary issues, from the Church Scholars and has been made available for all believers to watch, listen and understand the core teaching of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church. This program is able to function through the generous funding of the faithful in the diaspora. It has many expenses related to the broadcasting, and other costs as well.
Debre-Sina Theology School and Finote Birhan Traditional Church School. These two Schools play a large role in maintaining, proclaiming and transferring the sound Orthodox faith that was given to the saints once. Debre-Sina Theology School is the first official modern theological School of our Church. The first cohort are now in their second year, and these schools have been funded by the Church itself. The Church expenses include an allowance to the students, food, salary for the teachers, etc. However, Due to COVID-19 and closure of Churches for the past two months [meaning less income through donations], these programs have been experiencing difficulty financially and have not been able to provide adequate resources.
This is a critical time and we cannot delay and continue to watch the deterioration of our immensely blessed and ancient monasteries, our schools and the only Eritrean Tewahdo official Youtube channel that feeds us the sound faith. This is a tremendous risk and burden on our beloved Church as a whole. Hence the Eritrean Oriental Orthodox Tewahdo Diocese of the United States and Canada is asking the faithful, as well as anyone who is interested in helping our Holy Church through contributing as much as you can.
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”- 1 John 3:17
- Rahel Mehari
Fundraising team (3)
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