Following the one adult, two children and two babies, all five female, baptised in the previous Portsmouth Liturgy twin boys Behaylizgi Kibron and Temesgen Kibron were baptised and chrismated in the Church of Saint Mary the Mother of God and Saint Moses the Black on Saturday 4th July. A packed congregation of around eighty witnessed and supported the baby boys and their family and enthusiastically welcomed them into membership of the Church, the Body of Christ.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy Father Simon gave two Ethiopian icons to the family, one for each boy. One was of the Archangel Michael with his drawn sword standing over and protecting the suppliant who had sought his intervention. Behind the archangel stood other angels. This icon was for Temesgen whose name has meanings of fullness and reflected a desire that he might enjoy the fullness of God’s blessings with the archangel and all the heavenly host praying for him and watching over him. Behaylizgi refers to the arm of God or strength of God. The icon given for him was the crucifixion with our Lord hanging on the cross which when we learn to look at with Christian eyes we see not so much weakness in the death of Christ but the power and strength of God in overcoming and defeating death and the devil. However apparently contradictory to one who does not believe in Christ, to a Christian an icon of the crucifixion is as much a declaration of the strength and power of God as is an icon of the resurrection. This is reflected in one of the many Old Testament readings from Good Friday (from Isaiah) speaking of our Saviour’s clothing being red like one who had trodden the wine grapes and being stained with blood and how of the people none was with Him, none to help therefore His own arm brought salvation. Father Simon’s explanation for the choice of the icons was clearly valued.
Following the Divine Liturgy Father Simon and Tasony Sheila Smyth together with Deacon Antony Holland were all invited to a celebration of this joyous occasion at which they were all three made extremely welcome and where they enjoyed generous helpings of traditional Ethiopian food.