Ethiopia And Christianity

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Ethiopia: The First Christian Nation?

Before the Ethiopian king Ezana whose kingdom was then called Aksum embraced Christianity for himself and decreed it for his kingdom c. During the persecutions of Diocletian A. Such was the religious climate that St.

Frumentius faced when his ship was pillaged by the native Ethiopians at the start of the fourth century A. The Ethiopian king spared his life, and Frumentius received a place of honor at the royal court. In this position, he nourished the Christian faith by locating Christians and helping them find places of worship. Unlike the case of Armenia, we have tangible proof of this conversion:.

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Historians have uncovered a public acknowledgement of the Christian faith from Ezana. Thus, the Church in Europe needed to be reformed in the direction of the Church of Ethiopia. I also believe that the dialogue between Luther and Michael the Deacon is historically significant. In historical terms, it might be on par with the colloquy between Luther and Zwingli.

Christian Ethiopian art

It also counters other narratives that place Europeans in Africa during this era, without studying African Christians in sixteenth-century Europe. From this discussion, it appears that Luther did make connections between his Protestant reforms and the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia. Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, : 46, Accessed October 30, Martin Marty Center. The country is also the spiritual homeland of the Rastafari religious movement.

2. Orthodox Christians are highly religious in Ethiopia, much less so in former Soviet Union

Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian states in the world. The apostle St. Matthew is said to have died in Ethiopia. The Kingdom of Aksum was one of the first nations to officially accept Christianity , when St. Many believe that the Gospel had entered Ethiopia even earlier, with the royal official described as being baptised by Philip the Evangelist in chapter eight of the Acts of the Apostles Acts — Orthodox Christianity has a long history in Ethiopia dating back to the 1st century, and is dominant in northern and central Ethiopia.

Both Orthodox and Protestant Christianity have large representations in southern and western Ethiopia. A small ancient group of Jews , the Beta Israel , live in northwestern Ethiopia, though most emigrated to Israel in the last decades of the 20th century as part of the rescue missions undertaken by the Israeli government, Operation Moses and Operation Solomon.

Today, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church , part of Oriental Orthodoxy , is by far the largest denomination, though a number of Protestants P'ent'ay churches have recently gained ground. The name "Ethiopia" Hebrew Kush is mentioned in the Bible numerous times thirty-seven times in the King James version.


Abyssinia is also mentioned in the Qur'an and Hadith. While many Ethiopians claim that the Bible references of Kush apply to their own ancient civilization, pointing out that the Gihon river, a name for the Nile , is said to flow through the land, some scholars believe that the use of the term referred to the Kingdom of Kush in particular, or Africa outside of Egypt in general.


The modern name Ethiopia is from the Greek term Aethiopia used to translate Kush , and was applied to all of Sub-Saharan Africa, including what is now Sudan , but with a few classical geographers giving more detailed descriptions of present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea e. Adulis as well.

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Islam in Ethiopia dates back to the founding of the religion; in , when a group of Muslims were counseled by Muhammad to escape persecution in Mecca and travel to Ethiopia via modern-day Eritrea , which was ruled by Ashama ibn Abjar , a pious Christian king. Moreover, Bilal ibn Ribah , the first Muezzin , the person chosen to call the faithful to prayer, and one of the foremost companions of Muhammad, was from Abyssinia Eritrea, Ethiopia etc. Also, the largest single ethnic group of non-Arab Companions of Muhammad was that of the Ethiopians.

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According to the most recent CSA governmental data, Muslims are State Department, however, estimates that "approximately 45 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim. Islam first arrived in Ethiopia in with the First Migration to Abyssinia. Addis Ababa , Ethiopia's capital city, is home to about , Muslims or Central Statistical Agency.

The Beta Israel , also known as the Falashas though this term is considered derogatory , are a long-isolated group of African Jews who have lived in Ethiopia since antiquity. Their existence was not widely known to the outside world for many years, and they likewise were not aware of other Jewish groups outside of their own community. After this, Operation Moses and Operation Solomon , conducted in and , respectively, airlifted the vast majority of the Ethiopian Jewish population to Israel, where there is currently a population of , Beta Israel.