Orthodox Tewahedo Church (Amharic:
Yäityop'ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan) is the largest of the
Oriental Orthodox Christian Churches. One of the few pre-colonial
Christian Churches in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Ethiopian Orthodox
Tewahedo Church has a membership of between 45 and 50 million
people, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia. It is a founding
member of the World Council of Churches. The Ethiopian Orthodox
Tewahedo Church is in communion with the Coptic Orthodox Church of
Alexandria having gained autocephaly in 1959.
Orthodox Tewahedo Church was administratively part of
Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria from the first half of the
4th century until 1959, when it was granted its own
Patriarch by the
Patriarch of All Africa, Cyril
VI. As one of the oldest Christian churches and a
non-Chalcedonian Church, it is not in communion with the Ethiopian
Ethiopia is the second country only after
Armenia to have officially proclaimed
state religion (in 333 AD) though some argue it may even be the first;
due to biblical references.
Ge'ez ተዋሕዶ) is a
Ge'ez word meaning "being made
one". This word refers to the Oriental Orthodox belief in the one
perfectly unified Nature of Christ; i.e., a complete union of the
Divine and Human Natures into one nature is self-evident in order to
accomplish the divine salvation of humankind, as opposed to the "two
Natures of Christ" belief commonly held by the Roman Catholic and
Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran and most Protestant Churches. The
Oriental Orthodox Churches
Oriental Orthodox Churches adhere to a Miaphysitic Christological view
followed by Cyril of Alexandria, the leading protagonist in the
Christological debates of the 4th and 5th centuries, who advocated
"mia physis tou theou logou sesarkōmenē", or "one (mia) nature of
the Word of God incarnate" (μία φύσις τοῦ θεοῦ
λόγου σεσαρκωμένη) and a "union according to
hypostasis" (ἕνωσις καθ' ὑπόστασιν henōsis kath'
hypostasin), or hypostatic union. The distinction of this stance was
that the incarnate Christ has one nature, but that one nature is of
the two natures, divine and human, and retains all the characteristics
of both after the union.
Miaphysitism holds that in the one person of Jesus Christ, Divinity
and Humanity are united in one (μία, mia - "united") nature
(φύσις - "physis") without separation, without confusion, without
alteration and without mixing where Christ is consubstantial with
God the Father
God the Father in as much as He is with Mankind. Around 500 bishops
within the Patriarchates of Alexandria,
to accept the
Dyophysitism (two natures) doctrine decreed by the
Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon in 451, an incident that resulted in the first
major split in the main body of the Christian Church.
The Oriental Orthodox Churches, which today include the Coptic
Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the
Syriac Orthodox Church, the Malankara Orthodox Church of India, the
Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo
Church, are referred to as "Non-Chalcedonian", and, sometimes
incorrectly by outsiders as "monophysite".
Monophysitism is a theology
adopted by a 5th-century presbyter and archimandrite in Constantinople
Eutyches and claims that Christ has "One Single Nature" where
His Divinity absorbed His Humanity resulting in a "Simple"
mathematical "One" Nature to which the Oriental Orthodox Churches
object. According to these, both natures in Christ are perfectly
preserved after the union in "mia physis" - One Nature; yet, not
resulting in a distinct third Nature.
1.2 Middle Ages
1.3 Jesuit interim
1.4 Recent history
2 Practices and beliefs
3 Distinctive traits
3.1 Biblical canon
3.4 Ark of the Covenant
3.5 Similarities to Judaism
Abuna Patriarch-Catholicoi, Archbishops and bishops
5 See also
7 External links
Ethiopian Orthodox icon depicting St. George, the Crucifixion, and the
Many traditions claim that Christian teachings were introduced to the
region immediately after Pentecost.
John Chrysostom speaks of the
"Ethiopians present in Jerusalem" as being able to understand the
Saint Peter in Acts, 2:38. Possible missions of some
Apostles in the lands now called
Ethiopia is also reported as
early as the 4th century. Socrates of
Constantinople includes Ethiopia
in his list as one of the regions preached by Matthew the Apostle,
where a specific mention of "
Ethiopia south of the Caspian Sea" can be
confirmed in some traditions such as the Roman Catholic Church
among others. Ethiopian Church tradition tells that Bartholomew
accompanied Matthew in a mission which lasted for at least three
months. Paintings depicting these missions are available in the
Church of St. Matthew found in the Province of Pisa, in northern Italy
portrayed by Francesco Trevisan (it) (1650-1740) and Marco
The earliest account of an Ethiopian converted to the faith in the New
Testament books is a royal official baptized by Philip the Evangelist
(distinct from Philip the Apostle), one of the seven deacons (Acts,
Then the angel of the Lord said to Philip, Start out and go south to
the road that leads down from
Jerusalem to Gaza. So he set out and was
on his way when he caught sight of an Ethiopian. This man was a
eunuch, a high official of the
Kandake (Candace) Queen of
charge of all her treasure. (Acts, 8:26–27)
Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa
The passage continues by describing how Philip helped the Ethiopian
treasurer understand a passage from the
Book of Isaiah
Book of Isaiah that the
Ethiopian was reading. After Philip interpreted the passage as
prophecy referring to Jesus Christ, the Ethiopian requested that
Philip baptize him, and Philip did so. The Ethiopic version of this
verse reads "Hendeke" (ህንደኬ); Queen Gersamot Hendeke VII was
the Queen of
Ethiopia from c. 42 to 52. Where the possibility of
gospel missions by the
Ethiopian eunuch cannot be directly inferred
from the Books of the New Testament,
Irenaeus of Lyons around 180 AD
writes that "Simon Backos" preached the good news in his homeland
outlining also the theme of his preaching as being the coming in flesh
of the One God that "was preached to you all before." The same
kind of witness is shared by 3rd and 4th century writers such as
Eusebius of Caesarea and
Origen of Alexandria.
Coin of King Ezana, under whom Oriental Orthodox
the established church of the Kingdom of Aksum
Christianity became the established church of the
Ethiopian Axumite Kingdom under king Ezana in the 4th century when
priesthood and the sacraments were brought for the first time through
a Syrian Greek named Frumentius, known by the local population in
Ethiopia as Abba Selama, Kesaté Birhan ("Father of Peace, Revealer of
Light"). As a youth,
Frumentius had been shipwrecked with his brother
Aedesius on the Eritrean coast. The brothers managed to be brought to
the royal court, where they rose to positions of influence and
baptized Emperor Ezana.
Alexandria to ask the Patriarch, St.
Athanasius, to appoint a bishop for Ethiopia.
Frumentius, who returned to
Bishop with the name of Abune
Selama. From then on, until 1959, the
Pope of Alexandria, as Patriarch
of All Africa, always named an Egyptian (a Copt) to be
Archbishop of the Ethiopian Church.
Late 17th century portrait of
Abba Giyorgis by Baselyos
Union with the Coptic Orthodox Church continued after the Arab
conquest of Egypt. Abu Saleh records in the 12th century that the
patriarch always sent letters twice a year to the kings of Abyssinia
(Ethiopia) and Nubia, until Al Hakim stopped the practice. Cyril, 67th
patriarch, sent Severus as bishop, with orders to put down polygamy
and to enforce observance of canonical consecration for all churches.
These examples show the close relations of the two churches throughout
the Middle Ages.
In 1439, in the reign of Zara Yaqob, a religious discussion between
Abba Giyorgis and a French visitor led to the dispatch of an embassy
Ethiopia to the Vatican.
Abuna Samuel of Waldebba, a 15th-century Ethiopian monk and
ascetic of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
The period of Jesuit influence, which broke the connection with Egypt,
began a new chapter in church history. The initiative in Roman
Catholic missions to
Ethiopia was taken, not by Rome, but by Portugal,
in the course of a conflict with the
Ottoman Empire and the
Sultanate of Adal
Sultanate of Adal for the command of the trade route to
India via the
In 1507 Matthew, or Matheus, an Armenian, had been sent as an
Ethiopian envoy to
Portugal to ask for aid against the Adal Sultanate.
In 1520 an embassy under Dom Rodrigo de Lima landed in
which time Adal had been remobilized under Ahmad ibn Ibrihim
al-Ghazi). An interesting account of the Portuguese mission, which
lasted for several years, was written by Francisco Álvares, its
Ignatius Loyola wished to take up the task of conversion, but
was forbidden to do so. Instead, the pope sent out João Nunes Barreto
as patriarch of the East Indies, with
Andre de Oviedo as bishop; and
Goa envoys went to Ethiopia, followed by Oviedo himself, to
secure the king's adherence to Rome. After repeated failures some
measure of success was achieved under Emperor Susenyos I, but not
until 1624 did the Emperor make formal submission to the pope.
Susenyos made Roman Catholicism the official state religion, but was
met with heavy resistance by his subjects and by the authorities of
the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and eventually had to abdicate in 1632
in favour of his son, Fasilides, who promptly restored Ethiopian
Christianity as the state religion. He then in 1633 expelled
the Jesuits, and in 1665
Fasilides ordered that all Jesuit books (the
Books of the Franks) be burned.
Abuna Salama III, head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo
In more modern times, the Ethiopian church experienced a series of
developments. The earliest was in the 19th century with the
publication of an
Amharic translation of the Bible. Largely the work
Abu Rumi over ten years in Cairo, this version, with some changes,
held sway until Emperor
Haile Selassie ordered a new translation which
appeared in 1960/1.
Haile Selassie also played a prominent role in
further reforms of the church, which included encouraging the
distribution of Abu Rumi's translation throughout Ethiopia, as
well as his promotion of improved education of clergy, a significant
step in the Emperor's effort being the founding of the Theological
College of the Holy
Trinity Church in December 1944. A third
development came after Haile Selassie's restoration to Ethiopia, when
he issued, on 30 November, Decree Number 2 of 1942, a new law
reforming the Church. The primary objectives of this decree were to
put the finances of the church in order, to create a central fund for
its activities, and to set forth requirements for the appointment of
clergy—which had been fairly lax until then.
The Coptic and Ethiopian Churches reached an agreement on 13 July
1948, that led to autocephaly for the Ethiopian Church. Five bishops
were immediately consecrated by the Coptic
Patriarch of All Africa, empowered to elect a new
Patriarch for their
church, and the successor to
Abuna Qerellos IV would have the power to
consecrate new bishops. This promotion was completed when Coptic
Pope Joseph II consecrated an Ethiopian-born Archbishop,
Abuna Basilios, 14 January 1951. Then in 1959,
Pope Cyril VI of
Abuna Basilios as the first
Patriarch of Ethiopia.
An Ethiopian Orthodox priest displays the processional crosses.
Patriarch Abune Basilios died in 1971, and was succeeded that year by
Patriarch Abune Tewophilos. With the fall of Emperor
Haile Selassie in
1974, the Ethiopian
Orthodox Tewahedo Church was disestablished as the
state church. The new Marxist government began nationalising property
(including land) owned by the church.
Abune Tewophilos was
arrested in 1976 by the Marxist
Derg military junta, and secretly
executed in 1979. The government ordered the church to elect a new
Abune Takla Haymanot was enthroned. The Coptic Orthodox
Church refused to recognize the election and enthronement of Abune
Tekle Haymanot on the grounds that the
Synod of the Ethiopian Church
had not removed
Abune Tewophilos and that the government had not
publicly acknowledged his death, and he was thus still the legitimate
Patriarch of Ethiopia. Formal relations between the two churches were
halted, although they remained in communion with each other. Formal
relations between the two churches resumed on July 13, 2007.
Abuna Paulos, the late
Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo
Tekle Haymanot proved to be much less accommodating to
Derg regime than it had expected, and so when the
in 1988, a new
Patriarch with closer ties to the regime was sought.
Archbishop of Gondar, a member of the Derg-era Ethiopian
Parliament, was elected and enthroned as
Following the fall of the
Derg regime in 1991, and the coming to power
of the EPRDF government,
Patriarch Abune Merkorios abdicated under
public and governmental pressure. The Church then elected a new
Patriarch, Abune Paulos, who was recognized by the Coptic Orthodox
Pope of Alexandria. The former
Patriarch Abune Merkorios then fled
abroad, and announced from exile that his abdication had been made
under duress and thus he was still the legitimate
Ethiopia. Several bishops also went into exile and formed a break-away
alternate synod. This exiled synod is recognized by some Ethiopian
Churches in North America and Europe who recognize
Merkorios, while the synod inside
Ethiopia continued to uphold the
Patriarch Abune Paulos.
Following the independence of
Eritrea as a nation in 1993, the Coptic
Orthodox Church in 1994 appointed an
Archbishop for the Eritrean
Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which in turn obtained autocephaly in 1998
with the reluctant approval of its mother synod. That same year the
Patriarch was consecrated.
As of 2005, there are many Ethiopian Orthodox churches located
United States and other countries to which Ethiopians
have migrated (
Archbishop Yesehaq 1997). The church claims more than
38 million members in Ethiopia, forming about half the country's
Abune Paulos died on August 16, 2012, followed four days
later by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. On February 28, 2013, a
college of electors assembled in
Addis Ababa and elected Abune Mathias
to be the 6th
Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Practices and beliefs
Priests and deacons conducting a church service at St. Michael
Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Washington, DC.
The faith and practice of Orthodox Ethiopian Christians includes
elements from Miaphysite
Christianity as it has developed in Ethiopia
over the centuries. Christian beliefs include belief in God (in Ge'ez
/ Amharic, ′Egziabeher, lit. "Lord of the Universe"), veneration to
the Virgin Mary, the angels, and the saints, besides others. According
to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church itself, there are no non-Christian
elements in the religion other than those from the Old Testament, or
Higge 'Orit (ሕገ ኦሪት), to which are added those from the New
Testament, or Higge Wongiel (ሕገ ወንጌል). A hierarchy of
Kidusan (angelic messengers and saints) conveys the prayers of the
faithful to God and carries out the divine will, so when an Ethiopian
Christian is in difficulty, he or she appeals to these as well as to
God. In more formal and regular rituals, priests communicate on behalf
of the community, and only priests may enter the inner sanctum of the
usually circular or octagonal church where the tabot ("ark") dedicated
to the church's patron saint is housed. On important religious
holidays, the tabot is carried on the head of a priest and escorted in
procession outside the church. It is the tabot, not the church, which
is consecrated. At many services, most parish members remain in the
outer ring, where debteras sing hymns and dance.
Processional crosses carried on long poles in Ethiopian Orthodox
Eucharist is given only to those who feel pure, have fasted
regularly, and have, in general, properly conducted themselves. In
practice, communion is mainly limited to young children and the
elderly; those who are at a sexually active age or who have sexual
desires generally do not receive the Eucharist. Worshippers
receiving communion may enter the middle ring of the church to do
Ethiopian Orthodox believers are strict Trinitarians, maintaining
the Orthodox teaching that God is united in three persons: Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit. This concept is known as səllasé,
Daily services constitute only a small part of an Ethiopian Orthodox
Christian's religious observance. Several holy days require prolonged
services, singing and dancing, and feasting. An important religious
requirement, however, is the keeping of fast days, during which
adherents abstain from consuming meat and animal products, and refrain
from sexual activity. All devout believers are to maintain
the full schedule of fasts, comprising at least 250 days a year apart
from other forms of fasting purely left to individual decision of the
An Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony at Fasilides' Bath in Gondar, Ethiopia,
Fast for Hudadi or Abiye Tsome, 55 days prior to Easter
(Fasika). This fast is divided into three separate periods:
Tsome Hirkal, eight days commemorating an early Christian figure;
Tsome Arba, forty days of Lent; and Tsome Himamat, seven days
commemorating Holy Week.
Fast of the Apostles, 10–40 days, which the
Apostles kept after they
had received the Holy Spirit. It begins after Pentecost.
The fast Tsome Dihnet, which is on Wednesdays in commemoration of the
plot organized to kill
Jesus Christ by
Caiaphas and the members of the
house of the high priest and Fridays in commemoration of the
Jesus Christ (starts on Wednesday after
spans up to Easter, in other words all Wednesdays and Fridays except
during 50 days after Easter).
The fast of Dormition, 16 days.
The fast preceding Christmas, 40 days (Advent). It begins with Sibket
on 15th Hedar and ends on Christmas Eve with the feast of Gena and the
29th of Tahsas and 28th if the year is preceded by leap year.
The Fast of Nineveh, commemorating the preaching of Jonah. It comes on
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the third week before Lent.
The gahad of
Timkat (Epiphany), fast on the eve of Epiphany.
In addition to standard holy days, most Christians observe many
saints' days. A man might give a small feast on his personal saint's
day. The local voluntary association (called the maheber) connected
with each church honors its patron saint with a special service and a
feast two or three times a year.
An Ethiopian Orthodox hand cross, used by priests in church services
and to perform exorcisms.
Priests intervene and perform exorcisms on behalf of those believed to
be afflicted by demons or buda. According to a 2010 Pew Research
Center study, 74% of Christians in
Ethiopia claim to have experienced
or witnessed an exorcism. Demon-possessed persons are brought to a
church or prayer meeting. Often, when an ill person has not
responded to modern medical treatment, the affliction is attributed to
demons. Unusual or especially perverse deeds, particularly when
performed in public, are symptomatic of a demoniac. Superhuman
strength – such as breaking one's bindings, as described in the New
Testament accounts – along with glossolalia are observed in the
afflicted. Amsalu Geleta, in a modern case study, relates elements
that are common to Ethiopian Christian exorcisms:
It includes singing praise and victory songs, reading from the
Scripture, prayer and confronting the spirit in the name of Jesus.
Dialogue with the spirit is another important part of the exorcism
ceremony. It helps the counselor (exorcist) to know how the spirit was
operating in the life of the demoniac. The signs and events mentioned
by the spirit are affirmed by the victim after deliverance.
The exorcism is not always successful, and Geleta notes another
instance in which the usual methods were unsuccessful, and the demons
apparently left the subject at a later time. In any event, "in all
cases the spirit is commanded in no other name than the name of
Orthodox Tewahedo biblical canon
Drawing of the
Virgin Mary 'with her beloved son' in pencil and ink,
from a manuscript copy of Weddasé Māryām, circa 1875.
The Tewahedo Church Canon contains 81 books. This canon contains the
books accepted by other Orthodox Christians.
The Narrower Canon contains Enoch, Jubilees, and I II III Meqabyan.
(These are unrelated to the Greek I, II, III Maccabees with which they
are often confused.) The canonical Enoch differs from the editions of
Ge'ez manuscripts in the
British Museum and elsewhere (A-Q) used
by foreign scholars (OTP), for example in treatment of the
Genesis 6. The current 81 book version was published
in 1986, containing the same text as previously published in the Haile
Selassie Version of the Bible, only with some minor modifications to
New Testament translation.
Some sources speak of the Broader Canon, which has never been
published as a single compilation but is said to include all of the
Narrower Canon, as well as additional
New Testament books said to have
been used by the early church: two Books of the Covenant, four Books
of Sinodos, an Epistle of Peter to Clement—also known as "Ethiopic
Clement," and the Ethiopic Didascalia. These may not all bear close
resemblance to works with similar titles known in the West. An
eight-part, Ethiopic version of the history of the Jewish people
written by Joseph ben Gorion, known as the 'Pseudo-Josephus' is
considered part of the broader canon, though it would be considered an
Old Testament work.
Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of
Ge'ez for "cross")
The divine services of the Ethiopian Church are celebrated in the
Ge'ez language. It has been the liturgical language of the Church at
least since the arrival of the
Nine Saints (Abba Pantelewon, Abba
Gerima (Isaac, or Yeshaq), Abba Aftse, Abba Guba, Abba Alef, Abba
Yem’ata, Abba Liqanos, and Abba Sehma), who fled persecution by the
Byzantine Emperor after the
Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon (451).[citation
Septuagint Greek version was originally translated into
Ge'ez, but later revisions show clear evidence of the use of Hebrew,
Arabic sources. The first translation into a modern
vernacular was done in the 19th century by a man who is usually known
as Abu Rumi. Later,
Haile Selassie sponsored
Amharic translations of
Ge'ez Scriptures during his reign, one before World War II and one
Sermons today are usually delivered in the local language.
The Church of Saint George, a monolithic church in Lalibela
There are many monolithic (rock-hewn) churches in Ethiopia, most
famously eleven churches at Lalibela. Besides these, two main types of
architecture are found—one basilican, the other native. The Church
of Our Lady Mary of Zion at Axum is an example of the basilican
design, though the early basilicas are nearly all in ruin. These
examples show the influence of the architects who, in the 6th century,
built the basilicas at Sanʻāʼ and elsewhere in the Arabian
Peninsula. There are two forms of native churches: one oblong,
traditionally found in Tigray; the other circular, traditionally found
in Amhara and
Shewa (though either style may be found elsewhere). In
both forms, the sanctuary is square and stands clear in the center,
and the arrangements are based on Jewish tradition. Walls and ceilings
are adorned with frescoes. A courtyard, circular or rectangular,
surrounds the body of the church. Modern Ethiopian churches may
incorporate the basilican or native styles and use contemporary
construction techniques and materials. In rural areas, the church and
outer court are often thatched, with mud-built walls.
Ark of the Covenant
The Chapel of the Tablet at the
Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion
Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion is
said to house the original Ark of the Covenant.
The Ethiopian church claims that one of its churches, Our Lady Mary of
Zion, is host to the original
Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant that
Israelites during the Exodus. Only one priest is allowed into
the building where the Ark is located, ostensibly due to dangerous
biblical warnings. As a result, international scholars doubt that the
original Ark is truly there, although a case has been put forward by
controversial popular writer
Graham Hancock in his book The Sign and
Throughout Ethiopia, Orthodox churches are not considered churches
until the local bishop gives them a tabot, a replica of the tablets in
the original Ark of the Covenant. The tabot is at least six inches
(15 cm) square, and it is made of either alabaster, marble, or
wood (see acacia). It is always kept in ornate coverings on the altar.
Only priests are allowed to touch the tabot. In an elaborate
procession, the tabot is carried around the outside of the church amid
joyful song on the feast day of that particular church's namesake. On
the great Feast of T'imk'et, known as Epiphany or Theophany in Europe,
a group of churches send their tabot to celebrate the occasion at a
common location where a pool of water or a river is to be found.
Similarities to Judaism
The Ethiopian Church, Jerusalem
The Ethiopian church places a heavier emphasis on Old Testament
teachings than one might find in Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic or
Protestant churches, and its followers adhere to certain practices
that one finds in Orthodox or Conservative Judaism. Ethiopian
Christians, like some other Eastern Christians, traditionally follow
dietary rules that are similar to Jewish Kashrut, specifically with
regard to how an animal is slaughtered. Similarly, pork is prohibited,
though unlike Rabbinical Kashrut,
Ethiopian cuisine does mix dairy
products with meat. Women are prohibited from entering the church
temple during menses; they are also expected to cover their hair with
a large scarf (or shash) while in church, as described in 1
Corinthians, chapter 11. As with Orthodox synagogues, men and women
are seated separately in the Ethiopian church, with men on the left
and women on the right (when facing the altar). (Women covering
their heads and separation of the sexes in churches officially is
common to some other Christian traditions; it is also the rule in some
Islam and Orthodox
Judaism among them).
Ethiopian Orthodox worshippers remove their shoes when entering a
church temple, in accordance with Exodus 3:5 (in which Moses,
while viewing the burning bush, was commanded to remove his shoes
while standing on holy ground). Furthermore, the Ethiopian Orthodox
Tewahedo Church upholds Sabbatarianism, observing the seventh-day
Sabbath (Saturday), in addition to the
Lord's Day (Sunday),
although more emphasis, because of the
Resurrection of Christ, is laid
upon Sunday. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church calls for male
circumcision, with near-universal prevalence among Orthodox men in
Main article: Debtera
A painting of performing debteras.
A debtera is an itinerant lay priest figure trained by the Church as a
scribe, cantor, and often as a folk healer, who may also function in
roles comparable to a deacon or exorcist. Folklore and legends ascribe
the role of magician to the
Debtera as well.
Abuna Patriarch-Catholicoi, Archbishops and bishops
Main article: List of Abunas of Ethiopia
Since 1959, when the church was granted autocephaly by Cyril VI, Pope
of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, an Ethiopian
Eritrea also carrying the title of
the head of the Ethiopian
Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The
Abuna who is
known officially as
Catholicos of Ethiopia, Archbishop
of Axum and Ichege of the See of Saint Taklehaimanot. the incumbent
head of the Ethiopian
Orthodox Tewahedo Church is
Abune Mathias who
acceded to this position on 28 February 2013.
Archbishops and bishops
Abune Mathias, Head of all Archbishops and
Patriarch of the Ethiopian
Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Abuna Dioskoros (Aba Wolde Tensai), former bishop of the dioceses of
Shewa and Chebona Gurage diocese
Bishop Matthias of the Canadian diocese, residing in London, Ontario
United States there are the following bishops:
Abune Fanuel, archbishop of Washington, D.C and California.
Abune Zekarias, archbishop of New York and its surrounding areas
Abune Thaddaeus, archbishop of the Caribbean and Latin America
Archbishop of Europe, in Rome.
Archbishop of United Arab Emirates and its surrounding
Archbishop of Jerusalem
The church has 60 bishops and 44 dioceses.
The current eparchies of the church include:
South Wollo (Dessie)
West Gojam (Bahr Dar)
East Gojam (Debre Markos)
Gondar (Debre Tabor)
Mizan Teferi (Kaffa)
Nubia (Sudan, Africa)
North Shoa (Debre Berhan)
America and Western Hemisphere
Trinidad and Latin America
Oriental Orthodoxy portal
Christianity in Ethiopia
Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Ethiopian Catholic Church
List of Abunas of Ethiopia
Oriental Orthodox Church
^ "Ethiopia: Orthodox Head Urges Churches to Work for Better World".
^ Berhanu Abegaz, "Ethiopia: A Model Nation of Minorities" (accessed 6
Orthodox Tewahedo Church", World Council of Churches
website (accessed 2 June 2009)
^ "Ethiopia: The First Christian Nation?". Retrieved 2015-12-03.
^ The Blackwell Companion to Eastern
Christianity by Ken Parry 2009
ISBN 1-4443-3361-5 page 88 
^ "Catholic Encyclopedia: Henoticon". Newadvent.org. 1910-06-01.
Meskel and the Ethiopians. EOTC Publicatiol Committee, September,
^ Socrates and Sozomenus Ecclesiastical Histories, p. 57
^ "St. Matthew: Catholic Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2015-12-04.
^ a b
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^ Edward Ullendorff,
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^ Margary Perham, The Government of Ethiopia, second edition (London:
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^ Perham, Government of Ethiopia, p. 132
^ Perham, Government of Ethiopia, pp. 130
^ Discussed in fuller detail by Perham, Government of Ethiopia, pp.
^ ""Common Declaration" of
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practices". A Country Study:
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the Practice of
Exorcism in Ethiopian Churches Archived 2010-01-01 at
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^ a b Hable Selassie, Sergew (1997). The Church of
Ethiopia – A
panorama of History and Spiritual Life. Addis Abeba, Ethiopia:
Berhanena Selam. p. 66.
^ Binns, John (28 November 2016). The Orthodox Church of Ethiopia: A
History. I.B.Tauris. p. 81. ISBN 9781786720375. The king
presided, overruled the bishops who were committed to the more usual
position that Sunday only was a holy day, and decreed that the
Sabbatarian teaching of the northern monks became the position of the
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African Church. Winston-Derek Publishers.
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This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Abyssinian
Church". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University
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Orthodox Tewahedo Church site – English version
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Tewahedo Songs & Records
CNEWA article by Ronald Roberson: Ethiopian
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Abbink, J. A Bibliography on
Christianity in Ethiopia. Leiden: African
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AN INTRODUCTION TO Ethiopic Christian Literature BY J. M. HARDEN,
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