Liturgy of the Hours
Dcn. Mehari and I are collaborating on a translation project with what we believe is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, extant versions of the ሰዓታት (seatat) or liturgy of the hours. Following the Xzibit meme of the late aughts, “yo dawg, I heard you like prayer, so we put prayers before your prayers, so that before you pray, you can pray.” That’s an accurate description of these noneucharistic liturgical prayers which precede the eucharistic liturgical prayers on Sundays at medium-large sized parishes, and everyday at certain monasteries.
The modern seatat are traced back to Aba Geeyorgees of Segela/GasiCHa, Ethiopia, an older version are traced back to Alexandria, Egpyt, and we are not quite sure where this version we found originates, but there is something special about it. Here’s the first sample. Expect a full print book one day. Remember us in your prayers.
…in the highest (heavens) and he sees the lowly ones on heaven and on earth. he raises up the needy from the earth and he lifts up the poor from the dust of the ground so that he would seat him with the princes of his people. He is the one who sits the barren woman inside his house as a joyful mother of children.
I rejoiced when they said to me let us go to the house of the lord. And stand our feet in the enclosure of jerusalem. jerusalem was built as a city, those that are like her and in fellowship with her. Because there the peoples ascended. The people of the lord and the testimony of israel, so that they could submit to your name, o lord. For there, the thrones have been placed for judgment; the thrones of the house of david. You will herald salvation to jerusalem, and joy for those who love you. May there be peace, by your power, and joy inside the shroud of your honor. For the sake of my brothers and my kin folk, I have spoken peace for your sake, and for the sake of the house of the lord my god, I sought your good.