AbstractThe Tigray region of Ethiopia converted to Christianity in the fourth century and became a very important ally of the Byzantine empire, ruled from Constantinople (Istanbul), in controlling the trade routes to India. Tigray also maintained contacts with other Christian communities of the eastern Mediterranean, including those in Syria and Egypt. The compelling images on this double-sided leaf are from a group of early fourteenth-century Gospels that feature a revival of motifs that reached Ethiopia from the eastern Mediterranean, probably in the seventh century.
Both sides of the leaf are inscribed in Ge'ez, the ancient language of Ethiopia. On the front is a dramatic octagonal Fountain of Life flanked by peacocks, which are identified in the inscriptions as "ostriches" (royal birds in Ethiopia), and gazellelike "babula." The text within the domed space refers to the arrangement of the Eusebian Canon Tables, or index to the Gospels, which preceded the image in the original manuscript. On the reverse, the Crucifixion is represented by a monumental jeweled cross topped by a Lamb of God, symbol of Christ's sacrifice. At the sides are the two thieves bound to their crosses. Other leaves from this Gospel are in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.
World Council of Churches press. “Patriarch Matthias: ‘Peace Is the Message of Every Day.’” February 10, 2017.
AbstractPatriarch Abune Matthias of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church offered a special greeting at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 10 February, commending the success of global ecumenical work while acknowledging the grave crises tearing the world apart.
Abate, Yohannis. “Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity: Faith and Practices.” In A Country Study: Ethiopia, edited by Thomas P. Ofcansky and Berry LaVerle, 116–20. Pam: Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data, 1993.
AbstractThis bibliography on Christianity in Ethiopia covers material published from the early 1960s onwards. It focuses on the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, including the Eritrean Orthodox Church, which became autonomous in 1993, but references on modern missionary and evangelical Christianity, as well as Catholicism are also included. The focus is on foreign-language studies, but a limited number of works in Ethiopian languages is also included. The entries are arranged in three parts: 1. Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity and missionary churches: historical, political, religious and sociocultural aspects; 2. Christian texts, manuscripts, hagiographies; 3. Ethiopian Christian art and architecture.
Abraha, Tedros. “Quotations from Patristic Writings and References to Early Christian Literature in the Books of St. Yared.” Museon 122, no. 3–4 (2009): 331–404.
AbstractThe main purpose of this article is to enhance the discussion on the role of the Church Fathers and of early Christian literature in the formation of the books attributed to St. Yared (6(th) cent.), a historical figure, who according to the tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahedo Church is the father of its hymnary and sacred chant. Yared is also acclaimed as the first native author of Ge'ez literature. From this preliminary study it has been possible to establish that in the Yaredian corpus there are explicit and implicit quotations from the writings of the Church Fathers. Elements from early Christian literature too have been detected. The paper has not dealt with, in detail, the history of the transmission of the quotations, allusions and of the other material taken into consideration. Nonetheless, having the texts alongside their sources, paves the way to carry on with an in-depth search for their Vorlage. Interesting clues have been encountered along the way that permit for a glimpse of Yaredian biblical hermeneutics.
Abuna Merkorios. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church: Faith, Order of Worship and Ecumenical Relations. Addis Ababa: Tensae Publishing House, 1996.
AbstractOur study of contextualization must be basically descriptive, that is, to observe and describe how the gospel is understood and shapes practices in the context of a people. Especially we have to take into consideration different global church traditions in our discussion of contextualization. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (eotc) provides a compelling historical example of contextualization. It has developed its own unique tradition by weaving together elements from different sources of both internal and external traditions through dynamic interaction with other traditions. These include Ethiopian primal, Hebraic-Jewish, apostolic, Syriac and Egyptian Coptic. Ethiopian nationalism has functioned as the guiding principle underlying Ethiopian contextualization. The eotc will continue to display how a church with a long history and tradition copes with new challenging situations and establishes its distinctive tradition in a dynamic interaction of its local and global orientations.
An, Keon-Sang. An Ethiopian Reading of the Bible: Biblical Interpretation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. Cambridge: James Clarke; Pickwick Publications, 2016.
AbstractIn An Ethiopian Reading of the Bible, Keon-Sang An explores the distinctive biblical interpretation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC). He illuminates the interpretation of the Bible in a particular historical and cultural context and presents a compelling example of the contextual nature of biblical interpretation. Since the earliest years of the Christian church the EOTC has significantly informed the unique spirituality of Ethiopia. Drawing on his own experience of teaching theology in Ethiopia, Keon-Sang An provides a comprehensive consideration of the EOTC's past and present, and examines the interplay between tradition and context in biblical interpretation. An Ethiopian Reading of the Bible contributes much to current biblical scholarship and equips readers with the tools for a future of mutual learning.
Ancel, Stéphane, and Éloi Ficquet. “The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church.” In Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Lucian N. Leustean, Giulia Bonacci, and Joachim G. Persoon, 63–91. London: Routledge, 2014.
AbstractThis book provides an up-to-date, comprehensive overview of Eastern Christian churches in Europe, the Middle East, America, Africa, Asia and Australia. Written by leading international scholars in the field, it examines both Orthodox and Oriental churches from the end of the Cold War up to the present day. The book offers a unique insight into the myriad church-state relations in Eastern Christianity and tackles contemporary concerns, opportunities and challenges, such as religious revival after the fall of communism; churches and democracy; relations between Orthodox, Catholic and Greek Catholic churches; religious education and monastic life; the size and structure of congregations; and the impact of migration, secularisation and globalisation on Eastern Christianity in the twenty-first century.
Ancel, Stéphane. “The Centralization Process of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church: An Ecclesiastical History of Ethiopia during the 20th Century.” Revue d’Histoire Ecclésiastique 106, no. 3–4 (July 2011): 497–520.
AbstractThis paper attempts to explain the policy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and its goal of achieving a centralized ecclesiastical authority during the 20th century. The joint initiatives of the political powers, both monarchical and revolutionary, and the holders of high-ranking ecclesiastical positions made possible the establishment of an ecclesiastical decision-making body, centralizing all the decision-making processes in the Ethiopian Church administration. Through the establishment of a long list of reforms enacted during the 20th century, while upsetting the old traditions of this particular Church, the Ethiopian bishopric was able to assume, step by step, an unprecedented ecclesiastical hegemony over the ecclesiastical establishment. Beyond serving the purpose of revealing previously unknown facts through the analysis of archival documents, this paper contributes to our knowledge about the recent evolution of one of the most influential institutions in Ethiopia.
Cet article vise à expliquer par quels moyens l'Église Orthodoxe d'Éthiopie s'est dotée d'une administration ecclésiastique centralisée durant le 20e siècle. Le pouvoir politique éthiopien, qu'il soit monarchique ou révolutionnaire, s'est joint aux efforts des plus hautes instances de l'Église éthiopienne pour créer une autorité ecclésiastique centrale ayant vocation à monopoliser la prise de décisions au sein de l'administration ecclésiastique. Ainsi, grâce à une longue série de réformes successives, bouleversant les traditions de cette Église, l'épiscopat éthiopien a pu petit à petit jouir d'une autorité sans précédent sur l'ensemble de la société ecclésiastique. Fondé sur l'étude de faits méconnus, et nourri de documents d'archives non exploités auparavant, cet article contribue à notre connaissance sur l'évolution récente d'une des institutions les plus influentes d'Éthiopie.
Ancel, Stéphane. “The Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahedo Church and the Revolution: How to Survive Thanks to a Reform (1974-1991).” Cahiers D Etudes Africaines 220 (2015): 687–710.
AbstractIn September 1974, King of Kings Haile Selassie I (1930-1974) was deposed by a military junta of Marxist allegiance which came to power in Ethiopia. The patriarchate of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahedo Church of Ethiopia could take part to the ideological apparatus established by the new regime despite having been a pillar of the monarchy system. Besides it could launch an important reform concerning all the ecclesiastical society of the country. This paper aims at analyzing the place and the role of this huge reform within all decisions taken by the patriarchate at that time in order to survive to the difficult political context. And we will see that this analysis permits to understand the Church-State relations during the military junta times and thus to avoid the usual dichotomy presenting the patriarchate of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as, in one hand a martyr of the military repression or, in another hand, as the creature of the military junta.
En septembre 1974, la déposition du roi des rois d'Éthiopie, Hailé Sélassié (1930-1974), par une junte militaire marxiste marqua le début de la révolution éthiopienne. Pilier historique de la monarchie éthiopienne, le patriarcat de l'Église orthodoxe täwahedo d'Éthiopie a pu toutefois trouver sa place dans les nouveaux horizons idéologiques proposés par cette junte militaire. Il a surtout pu imposer une incroyable réforme à l'ensemble de l'Église. L'objet de cet article est d'interroger la place et le rôle de cette réforme dans l'ensemble des mesures prises par le patriarcat éthiopien afin de survivre dans le contexte de la junte militaire. Nous verrons que cette analyse apporte des éléments primordiaux sur les relations entre l'Église et l'État durant la période de la junte militaire, et qu'elle permet de sortir des dichotomies manichéennes qui présentent l'Église täwahedo soit comme martyre de la répression militaire, soit comme créature du régime révolutionnaire.
Appleyard, David. “Ethiopian Christianity.” In The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity, edited by Ken Parry, 117–37. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
AbstractNow available in paperback, this Companion offers an unparalleled survey of the history, theology, doctrine, worship, art, culture and politics that make up the churches of Eastern Christianity. Covers both Byzantine traditions (such as the Greek, Russian and Georgian churches) and Oriental traditions (such as the Armenian, Coptic and Syrian churches) Brings together an international team of experts to offer the first book of its kind on the subject of Eastern Christianity Contributes to our understanding of recent political events in the Middle East and Eastern Europe by providing much needed background information May be used alongside The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity (1999) for a complete student resource
Asale, Bruk A. “Mapping the Reception, Transmission, and Translation of Scriptural Writings in the EOTC: How and Why Some ‘Pseudepigraphical’ Works Receive ‘Canonical’ Status in the Ethiopian Bible.” Journal for Semitics 22, no. 2 (2013): 358–75.
AbstractThe Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC) has its own unique history of reception, translation, and transmission of scriptural texts and traditions. This history has resulted in a significantly distinctive collection of scriptural books, with the canon of this church containing both "canonical" and certain "pseudepigraphical" works which are viewed as equally authoritative. In addition to the special circumstances of its beginnings, it was the EOTC's isolated development in the 4th and 5th cents. A.D.--the period during which the main translations and transmission processes occurred--which led the church to give similar status to different categories of scripture. The EOTC never officially discussed the limit and extent of its canon, apart from accepting--apparently automatically--certain vaguely worded traditions and suggestions of various political figures on the matter. A.'s article surveys the major events and turning points in the history of the reception, transmission, translation and collection of the church's scriptures. It aims to provide a systematic overview on the question of how and why the EOTC has the unique scriptural collection that it does. [Adapted from published abstract: Christopher T. Begg] Abstract Number: OTA38-2015-FEB-57
Asale, Bruk A. “The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Canon of the Scriptures: Neither Open nor Closed.” The Bible Translator 67, no. 2 (August 2016): 202–22.
AbstractTraditionally, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) holds that its canon of the Scriptures comprises eighty-one books of the Old and New Testaments. However, which books comprise this list remains obscure and the very little research executed so far on the topic is both insufficient and misleading. This paper critically investigates if there has ever been a closed canon in the EOTC. It further critically engages with the notion and concept of the term “canon” and/or the Scripture(s). The theoretical framework applicable to this study is a history of reception approach as the study focuses on the history of reception, collection, translation, and transmission of the Scriptures in the Ethiopian Church. Methodologically, this study applies both library readings and fieldwork and the main tool employed in collecting data is qualitative interviews. In addition, insights from Ethiopian literature that have been neglected or that were earlier inaccessible are used. Finally, the study tries to prove that not only the canon of the EOTC, but also its concept in this church is very loose; it is possible to conclude that the canon of the EOTC is neither open nor closed.
Ashley, Lynn V. D. “The Bible in Ethiopia.” UBS Bulletin 10 (1952): 9–13.
Assefa, Daniel. “The Biblical Canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tawāhǝdo Church (EOTC).” In The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Orthodox Christianity, edited by Eugen J. Pentiuc, 211–26. Oxford University Press, 2022.
AbstractThe Ethiopian Orthodox Tawāhǝdo Church (EOTC) has the broadest biblical canon of the Christian world. However, one needs to admit that there is a constant. The majority of the books that were part of the canon in early period of Christianity in Ethiopia, in medieval Ethiopia, and in the contemporary period are also common to other churches. Further, some of the books that belong solely to the Ethiopian canon were excluded by other churches only after the fourth century. Before that period, these books were appreciated by some church fathers and some texts of authority. The same criteria valid for determining the canon elsewhere, namely apostolicity, orthodoxy, antiquity, and use are also applicable to the Ethiopian biblical canon. The criteria may of course vary depending on the book’s nature. Adaptability in welcoming and preserving the peculiar books as well as in interpreting them in the light of Christological doctrine and liturgy explains the history of the EOTC’s biblical canon.
Assefa, Lydette S. “Creating Identity in Opposition: Relations between the Meserete Kristos Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, 1960-1980.” The Mennonite Quarterly Review 83, no. 4 (October 2009): 539–70.
AbstractThe Meserete Kristos Church emerged in central Ethiopia in the early 1960s as a young, charismatic, evangelical movement. With roots in in a strong Ethiopian Orthodox region, early Meserete Kristos believers struggled to create a new and spiritually-relevant identity within a predominantly Orthodox cultural, social and spiritual setting. In the tumultuous decades following World War II, many young Ethiopians felt the established church did not adequately address the challenges of the dayand looked for a meaningful and personal faith. Through this transition, Meserete Kristos members used dichotomous categories to establish clear boundaries between their Orthodox past and their new faith. Such divisions allowed converts to shape a new identity over against their Orthodox upbringing.
At two o'clock one afternoon in 1972, Getaneh Ayele, a high school student living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, heard a voice. (1) "Come out of this place," the voice commanded. "I will show you the right place." Shaken, Getaneh left the house where he was living to heed the voice's instruction. At each crossing in the road the voice commanded him, "Go this way" or "Go that way." Finally, Getaneh found himself facing a building with a small poster on the front reading: "Meserete Kristos Church."
As a child growing up in a rural community outside Addis Ababa, (2) Getaneh had always identified himself as an Orthodox Christian. Born into a devout Orthodox family, he had studied in the Orthodox priest school beginning at the age of 4 and became a deacon at the age of 7. Although his parents' hopes that he would continue with his formal church involvement were cut short when Getaneh moved to Addis, at the age of 12, to receive higher education, he continued to be an active member of the Orthodox Church.
Baye, Temesgen G. “Power, Church and the Gult System in Gojjam, Ethiopia.” Asian and African Studies 25, no. 1 (2016): 51–73.
AbstractSince the introduction of Christianity to Ethiopia, there had been an interdependence between the state and the church. Both parties benefited from this state of affairs. The Orthodox Church played as the ideological arm of the state. The king became head not only of the state, but also of the church. The church enjoyed royal protection and patronage, ranging in concrete terms like the granting of land, called the gult system. The gult system was an important economic institution and connection between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the state. The system was essentially a political and economic relations between the state, the church and the cultivators. It not only included tribute and administrative rights, but also entailed direct control over land. In the Ethiopian academics, the issue of the gult system has been treated and examined in its totality. There is an evident gap in our knowledge of the dynamics of the gult system and its ideological, administrative, political and economic implications. This paper, based on published and unpublished materials, examines the dynamics of gult, state and church relations intersectionally. It attempts to identify changes and continuities in the basic pattern of relations and a variety of institutional linkages. To this end, a great deal of archive collections on Gojjam Governorate General from the Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency has been consulted and reviewed to add new and useful insights and understandings on relations and interests between the cultivators, the church and state. Data was presented and mainly analysed qualitatively.
Baynes, Leslie. “Enoch and Jubilees in the Canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.” In A Teacher for All Generations: Essays in Honor of James C. VanderKam, edited by Eric F. Mason, Kelley C. Bautch, Angela K. Harkins, and Daniel A. Machiela, 2:799–818. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 153. Leiden: Brill, 2012.
AbstractThis study investigates the Ethiopian concept of canon and the place and function of 1 Enoch and Jubilees in it as assessed by scholarly and ecclesiastical works. It also considers the opinions of clergy and laity in Ethiopia and the United States. The study demonstrates that Jubilees was accepted into the canon earlier and more definitively than 1 Enoch, and that the primary significance of the two books in Ethiopian thought has been Christological.
Bekele, Girma. “Crown and Clergy: An Excursion to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.” In The In-Between People: A Reading of David Bosch through the Lens of Mission History and Contemporary Challenges In Ethiopia, 146–84. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2011.
AbstractIn the midst of partial, competing, and often hostile forms of human solidarity, David Bosch challenged the church to be the Alternative Community called to live in the in-between of various opposing socio-political, economic, and ecclesiastical polarities. Girma Bekele explores and renews that call in the context of Ethiopia. Acute poverty and the lingering question of the balance between ethnic distinctiveness and national unity, together constitute a two-edged challenge to Christian identity. Constructive dialogue that fosters unity is intrinsic to effective response to the plight of the poor. This means a turning away from institutional self-preservation towards a contextually relevant mission that crosses all human-made frontiers. Taking Ethiopia as the immediate context, Dr. Bekele offers important insight to the church in the majority world and beyond.
Belcher, Wendy L. “Same-Sex Intimacies in the Early African Text Gädlä Wälättä P̣eṭros (1672): Queer Reading an Ethiopian Woman Saint.” Research in African Literatures 47, no. 2 (2016): 20–45.
AbstractThe Ethiopian Orthodox Church has preserved an oral tradition of theological education. Students undergo a long and arduous course of study located in the churches and monasteries of Ethiopia and using oral methods. The syllabus includes hymnody, music, poetry and dance as well as more formal theological interpretation. It is practised alongside other more modern forms of education, and prepares students for a career in the church. It shows no sign of dying out and provides an approach to education different from and challenging to western models.
Bonk, Jon. Ethiopian Orthodox Church: An Annotated and Classified Bibliography. ATLA Bibliography Series 11. Metuchen, NJ: ATLA/Scarecrow Press, 1984.
AbstractPresented as a doctoral dissertation in 1985 to Cambridge University, this investigation of the provenance and nature of Ethiopian biblical interpretation argues that the ademata commentary (AC) tradition stands in essential continuity with Antiochene exegesis and was molded into its present form by Ethiopian scholars. After an introduction to study of the AC tradition, the volume makes methodological soundings in various OT and NT texts, takes up the question of the direct use of Jewish sources in Ethiopian commentaries, focuses on the themes of creation (Gen 1:1--2:4) and Christology (Hebrews 1), and draws the hermeneutical implications of the study. Cowley is the author of The Traditional Interpretation of the Apocalypse of St. John in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (1983). Abstract Number: NTA33-1989-3
Cowley, Roger W. The Traditional Interpretation of the Apocalypse of Saint John in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. University of Cambridge Oriental Publications 33. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
AbstractThe aim of this study is to describe the traditional Biblical and patristic Amharic commentary material of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and to present in translation a sufficient sample of the Amharic, and also the Geez, commentary material, that its character can be clearly seen. Accordingly, the study is divided into three parts - a general introduction, an annotated translation of a Geez commentary, and an annotated translation of an Amharic commentary. The book chosen for parts II and III is the Apocalypse of John.
Crummey, Donald. “Church and Nation: The Ethiopian Orthodox Täwahedo Church (from the Thirteenth to the Twentieth Century).” In The Cambridge History of Christianity: Eastern Christianity, edited by Michael Angold, 5:457–87. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
AbstractEthiopia claims one of the oldest national traditions in Christendom. In the second quarter of the fourth century, the Ethiopian king, Ezana, together with his court, converted to Christianity. At the request of Ezana, St Athanasios, bishop of Alexandria, appointed Ethiopia’s first bishop. Royal initiative thus founded a national church episcopally dependent on Alexandria. We know little about the pace of popular conversion, but Christianity did become embedded in the farming communities of the Ethiopian highlands, where it remains a deeply popular religion. Royal dominance and popular commitment were the two poles of historic Ethiopian Christianity. Performing the role of mediator between these were, on the one hand, the Egyptian-appointed bishops, and on the other – and more importantly – the monasteries, which dotted the landscape, both geographical and cultural.
Ethiopian history unfolded on a high tablel and, much intersected by mountain ranges and deeply fissured river valleys, which, during the principal rains lasting from mid-June to mid-September, is extremely difficult to traverse. The Ethiopian plateau lies at the southern end of the Red Sea and at the headwaters of the Blue Nile, the source of Egypt’s annual flood. Christianity came to Aksum, then the principal town on the northern plateau, as part of the Hellenistic culture of the traders who plied the Red Sea in the early centuries of the era. The Aksumite kingdom was the most powerful state in the southern Red Sea, and the country remained sensitive to developments stemming from this direction. The highlands, which presented such a challenge to Ethiopia’s rulers, presented an even greater challenge to external powers, and afforded the country a degree of autonomy vis-à-vis the millennial forces which swept the region.
Desta, Alemayehu. Introduction To The Ethiopian Orthodox: Tewahedo Faith. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2012.
AbstractFaith is the means by which we understand "the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible" (Heb 1:2-3)
Dibawo, Kinfu. “Ethiopia Stretches Out Her Hands to God.” In An Unbroken Circle: Linking Ancient African Christianity to the African-American Experience, edited by Paisius Altschul, 44–54. St. Louis: Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black, 1997.
AbstractAncient, apostolic, Orthodox Christianity has gone full circle, from continent to continent. From Christ to His Apostles, from the Apostles to ancient Africa, from Africa to America, and from black Americans to their sons and daughters. The ancient African Christian tradition is beginning to be passed on and take root in America today, growing out of the seed of the blood of the black American slave-martyrs for Christ. In this collection of talks from the Ancient Christianity and African-American Conferences, we see how deep the resonances are between the faith of the early Church and the heartfelt Christianity born out of the slaves' experience on American soil. Indeed, the 'sad joyfulness' that characterized the African Desert Fathers and Mothers of the 4th century and that permeates traditional Christianity today, is our legacy from the suffering Church of the African-American slaves, our elders in the faith. Now that the link between America and the African Christianity tradition has been restored, the time has come to embrace the Unbroken Circle which is our rich heritage from the past...and our hope for the future.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. “Greetings of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Jubilee Celebration of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 52, no. 1–4 (Spring-Winter 2007): 333–36.
AbstractThe article presents the text of a speech delivered by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during the celebration of the jubilee anniversary of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Addis Abeba on September 27, 2007, in which he discussed the first Ethiopian who accepted Christ, his commendation of the religious community, teachers and parents for their support of the youth and the obligation of the leaders of the Orthodox churches.
Eide, Øyvind M. Revolution and Religion in Ethiopia: The Growth and Persecution of the Mekane Yesus Church, 1974–1985. Martlesham, UK: James Currey, 2000.
AbstractStudies of the 1974 Ethiopian revolution have hitherto almost completely ignored religion, in spite of the commitment of a great majority of Ethiopian people to one or another religious tradition. Moreover, existing studies focus almost exclusively on the center, on national politics, and on the evolution of national institutions.
This book makes an important contribution to the literature on the Ethiopian revolution and on African church growth and development.
Based on the wealth of materials available from informants, in documentary collections, and in missionary records, in addition to his personal observations, Eide traces the journey from support for the revolution by the church leaders and local members to their suspected alliance with opposition forces. The result is informative, and, at times, moving.
Engedayehu, Walle. “The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in the Diaspora: Expansion in the Midst of Division.” African Social Science Review 6, no. 1 (May 23, 2013): 115–33.
AbstractThe Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) has expanded considerably during the last two decades throughout the globe in the midst of turbulence caused by the division within the Patriarchate. Focusing on the Diaspora EOTCs, this article discusses critically the causes that gave way to the split within the Church into two Holy Synods—one in Ethiopia and the other in North America—while setting apart some of the major social, political and economic dynamics that contributed to both the division and expansion. The paper contends that the Ethiopia‟s government intervention in the Church‟s affairs has been at the heart of the problem, and thus the division within the Church is a consequence of the ethnically-politicized social milieu that the regime has created since it came to power in 1991. Quintessentially, the schism within the Diaspora EOTCs into three types—affiliated with the Exiled Synod, affiliated with the Home Synod and neutral has been the most visible manifestation of the forces at work in Ethiopia. The paper concludes that the Holy Synod in North America must find ways to embrace all Diaspora EOTCs, especially those that are neutral, until such time that the unity of the Church is guaranteed once again at some foreseeable future.
Erho, Ted M., and Loren T. Stuckenbruck. “A Manuscript History of Ethiopic Enoch.” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 23, no. 2 (2013): 87–133.
Eshete, Tibebe. “Part I: The Ethiopian Orthodox Church.” In The Evangelical Movement in Ethiopia: Resistance and Resilience, 15–64. Studies in World Christianity. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2009.
AbstractIn this sweeping history, Tibebe Eshete presents a new view of Ethiopian Christianity. Synthesizing existing scholarship with original interviews and archival research, he demonstrates that the vernacular nature of the Ethiopian church played a critical role in the development of a state church. He also traces the effects of the political on the religious: the growth of other "counter-cultural" movements in 1960s Ethiopia, such as renewal movements, youth discontentment, and the Marxist regime (under which the church still flourished). This strikingly authentic work refutes the thesis that evangelicalism was imported. Instead, Eshete shows, it was a genuine indigenous response to cultural pressures.
Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and Vinay K. Samuel, eds. The Church of Ethiopia: A Panorama of History and Spiritual Life. Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Orthodox Church, 1970.
AbstractThe purpose of this paper is to look at the contribution of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the country’s development plan for 2020 and forward ideas which could be discussed and developed further by invited guests and then disseminated to the public. I will begin by presenting a brief historical overview and a survey of the major accomplishments of the Church so far in the area of development. I will then discuss what I feel the role of the Church should be in the 2020 development plan.
Gnamo, Abbas H. “Islam, the Orthodox Church and Oromo Nationalism (Ethiopia).” Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 42, no. 1 (2002): 99–120.
AbstractThe Oromo, the largest single national group in Ethiopia, follow Islam and Christianity since the middle of the 19th Century particularly after the conquest of the Ethiopian State, which triggered, directly or indirectly, a massive conversion. This article highlights the relationship between the Orthodox Church and Islam vis-à-vis the nascent but rapidly developing Oromo nationalism. Based on the analysis of Oromo ethnography, history, the system of thought and their contemporary political movements, the paper argues that Oromo nationalism is the antithesis of the Ethiopian state/official nationalism supported by the Orthodox Church. It also demonstrates that Islam is not a driving ideological force of Oromo's political struggle. On one the hand, it is in contradiction with many aspects of the pre-existing culture such as Gadaa-Qaaluu and other values from which the nationalists try to take inspiration to build their future. On the other hand, from the strategic perspective, the adoption of Islam or Christianity as an ideological tool of their nationalism would be a factor of more division and fragmentation. Thus Oromo mainstream nationalism is evolving on a secular political trajectory.
Goodin, David K., Alemayehu Wassie, and Margaret Lowman. “The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Forests and Economic Development: The Case of Traditional Ecological Management.” Journal of Religion & Society 21 (2019): 1–23.
AbstractRemnant Afromontane forests in northern Ethiopia are under threat from development pressures both within Ethiopia and from international interests. These biodiversity hotspots are currently protected by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC), which views the forests as sacred. The academic literature is divided on how to provide food security in this drought-prone nation. This article examines these tensions in the academic literature before turning to the eco-theology of the Ethiopian Orthodox, which both protects these forest fragments and strengthens the communitarianism of traditional Ethiopian society. A case is then made for the continued management of these forests by the EOTC.
Haberlnd, Eike. “The Ethiopian Orthodox Church: A Nation Church in Africa.” In Christian and Islamic Contributions towards Establishing Independent States in Africa South of the Sahara, edited by Karl-Heinz W. Bechtold, 158–68. Studies in International Relations. Tubingen: Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, 1979.
AbstractThe author provides a new source for the Ethiopian religous movement of zä-Kràstos, 'Of Christ', who posed as the Christ born this time of the Gentiles for the Gentiles. The movement has been previously know through the chronicles of King Susanayos (1607-1632), which were composed in Ge'ez. An English translation of the chronicle is presented, followed by an edition and an English translation of the new Ge'ez material.
Haile, Getatchew. “The Intrusion of the Theology of Purgatory in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.” Analecta Bollandiana 130, no. 2 (December 2012): 306–14.
AbstractAs it is defined by the Catholic Church, Purgatory is not part of the doctrine of the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwaḥədo Church even if we can deduce, from various sources emanating from the latter, that damnation could not to be eternal. The text presented here, from the Ethiopian Church, shows that the theology relating to this point has somehow interfered with a miracle of the Virgin Mary. The fact that the manuscripts diverge at a crucial moment in the episode recounted indicates that the masters did not really know how to interpret the strange teaching contained in the story, called (əsatä anṣəḥo; namely “the fire of Purification” , the “Fire that purifies” or Purgatory).
Haile, Getatchew. “The Mäṣḥafä Gǝnzät as a Historical Source Regarding the Theology of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.” Scrinium 1, no. 1 (2005): 58–76.
AbstractThe Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s Tradition on the Holy Cross is a volume that combines both ancient and derived Ethiopic literature on the Cross. The work brings together all the major sources from manuscripts preserved in different monasteries and edited and translated into English. The sources include homilies by Minas bishop of Aksum, John Chrysostom, James of Sarug, as well as a number of anonymous authors, all translated from Greek during the Aksumite era.
The derived literature includes works by the famous men of the pen, including the fifteenth-century Abba Giyorgis of Sägla and Emperor Zär’a Ya‘ǝqob. Poetic hymns to the Cross constitute a part of the collection, one of these being glorification of the Cross by Abba Baḥrǝy, author of several important works.
Harden, John M., trans. The Anaphoras of the Ethiopic Liturgy. London: SPCK, 1928.
John Paul II, Saint, Pope. “John Paul, II, Pope (1981-10-17) Address to Abuna Tekle Haimanot, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, about Collaboration to Strengthen Present Relations.” Acta Apostolicae Sedis 73 (October 17, 1981): 716–18.
AbstractThe purpose of this article is to survey the history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church with an emphasis on several features which are of significance for comparison to Syriac Orthodox Christianity. Although it focuses primarily on the period from 1270 during which 'Ethiopian' was a national rather than ethnic identity, it shares several themes with other papers in this volume. After considering the manner in which Christianity reached Ethiopia and in particular the central role played by the royal court in the acceptance and consolidation of the Church, attention is given to the claims of successive Ethiopian rulers and ethnic groups to be 'Israelites', that is, descendants of biblical figures most notably King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The paper next considers the manner in which monastic movements, which emerged in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, were associated with ethnically based resistance to the expansion of the Christian kingdom. Other themes include the development of a tradition of biblical interpretation and Christological controversies. The paper concludes with a discussion of ongoing research concerning the Ethiopian diaspora which has developed in the period since the Marxist revolution of 1974.
Kaplan, Steven. “Finding the True Cross: The Social-Political Dimensions of the Ethiopian Mäsqäl Festival.” Journal of Religion in Africa 38, no. 4 (2008): 447–65.
AbstractOn September 27, 1916 (17 Mäskäräm 1909 E.C.), the Ethiopian ruler Iyasu was excommunicated and deposed. Although there is a great deal of literature concerned with the local and international political forces behind this coup, its timing has been considered only in passing. This article focuses on the fact that this event coincided with the major Christian festival of Mäsqäl (the Festival of the Cross), an early Christian celebration, which was elevated to the de facto status of a major feast by the Ethiopian Church in the fifteenth century. The article analyzes the coup in the light of three key Mäsqäl themes: (1) Christianity’s superiority over Islam; (2) imperial presence (or absence) and power; and (3) appointment and dismissal. Using both historical accounts and ethnographic reports each of these themes is explored in an attempt to deepen our understanding of the religious–cultural aspects of what at first glance may appear to be an exclusively political episode.
Kaplan, Steven. “The Transnationalism of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOTC) in the Holy Land.” Journal of Levantine Studies 3, no. 1 (January 1, 2013): 105–19.
AbstractThe purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of transnationalism on the Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahedo Church (EOTC) in the Holy Land. It demonstrates that the EOTC is a transnational organization in a number of senses. First and most obviously, the church in the Holy Land is part of the wider network of Ethiopian churches found not only in Ethiopia but also in North America and Europe. In addition, like many other churches in the Holy Land, the EOTC serves as a seasonal hub for pilgrims who visit the holy sites, particularly on Easter. Moreover, virtually all its resources are imported from abroad. Not only the clergy (none of whom are trained at the monasteries in Jerusalem) but also religious objects, literature, and significant funds reach the EOTC from overseas. Perhaps most interestingly, during the twentieth century the transnationalism of the EOTC was not merely the result of the movement of people or objects across national borders. The redrawing of national borders in both the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia and Eritrea) and the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority) created yet another dimension of the church’s transnationalism.
Kassahun, Teowdroes, and Svane Bender. “Saving the Last Endemic-Church Forests in Ethiopia: The Case of Lake Tana Biosphere Reserve.” Climate Change Management, 2019, 195–210.
AbstractThe restoration of degraded forests to maintain ecosystem services, conserve endemic biodiversity and to enhance climate change adaptation is a major concern in developing countries. In Northern Ethiopia, large forests have been converted into arable land; today the last remaining refugia for native woody plant species are found around churches. The so-called church forests are considered as the last natural seed banks for native trees species, reference areas for local endemism and last corner stones for species distribution. Against this background, NABU, a German originated NGO, initiated a conservation programme and investigated the species and structural composition of 10 pilot church forests. A total of 74 woody species (41 tree, 26 shrub and 6 liana species) representing 32 families were recorded. Differences between forests were strongly expressed in species number (14–35) and number of seedlings (150–4150/ha). Similarities between forests decreased following the altitude difference. It was found that for successful restoration of the pilot forests, interconnecting them by vegetation corridors, creating buffering areas and livestock fencing as well as and reforesting were suitable measures. NABU therefore implemented a restoration programme for safeguarding the last green forest islands together with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Kent, Eliza F., and Izabela Orlowska. “Accidental Environmentalists.” Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion 22, no. 2 (2018): 113–42.
Kidāna, Hābtamikāél. “The Holy Spirit in the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwaḥedo Church Tradition.” In The Spirit in Worship--Worship in the Spirit, edited by Teresa M. Berger and Bryan D. Spinks, 179–205. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009.
Kijima, Yoko, and Horacia Gonzalez. “Does Observance of Religious Holidays Affect Agricultural Productivity and Household Welfare? Evidence from Rural Ethiopia.” Journal of Development Studies 49, no. 9 (September 2013): 1188–1201.
Klepeis, Peter, Izabela A. Orlowska, Eliza F. Kent, Catherine L. Cardelús, Peter Scull, Alemayehu Wassie Eshete, and Carry Woods. “Ethiopian Church Forests: A Hybrid Model of Protection.” Human Ecology 44, no. 6 (2016): 715–30.
Krestos, Hensa. The Harp of Glory: Enzira Sebhat: An Alphabetical Hymn of Praise for the Ever-Blessed Virgin Mary from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Popular Patristics 39. New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2010.
Abstract"The Harp of Glory is a major hymn sounding the praises of the Theotokos, from the heart of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in its Golden Age. It is a text hardly known in the Orthodox or Western churches, even though it is truly a religious and literary treasure of world significance. It approaches closely to the character and genius of the Byzantine Akathist to the Mother of God (which it seems to know in part) but is so profoundly rooted in a different indigenous experience that it surely deserves the title of "An African Akathist." This beautiful lyrical poem will be of interest to all who follow the rise of biblical exegesis in the ancient church, and forms of the great devotion to the Mother of God that is characteristic of the eastern churches. It is also an exquisitely crafted love song to the Virgin (troubadour style), from a monk scholar-musician wandering the highlands of Ethiopia, long ago.
Larebo, Haile M. “The Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Part I.” Northeast African Studies 9, no. 3 (1987): 1–17.
Abstract"Church and state are one." "There is no state without church, and there is no church without state." These are statements made on two different occasions by Abuna Tewofilos, then acting patriarch, under the Haile Sellassie regime. In 1974, the prelate, at this time as patriarch, had to see to vast changes in the church's fortunes: Political forces, which he himself had earlier defined as a "holy movement," brought about "historical" changes in church-state relations. The state, namely, the monarchy and the institutions closely associated with it, were swept aside and the church marginalized. The roots of these two different and conflicting positions of the church's relations with the state are deeply ingrained in the origins of Christianity in Ethiopia and the social as well as political forces that unfolded following subsequent geographical expansion that led to the reunification of the country after a century or so of breakdown and regionalization. The article explores the relationship between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the State from the earliest period until late 1980s with a major emphasis on the Church as a national institution, sometimes supportive and other times in conflict with regime in power, the history of its autocephaly and the changes it faced under the revolutionary regime that succeeded the monarchy.
Larebo, Haile M. “The Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Politics in the Twentieth Century: Part II.” Northeast African Studies 10, no. 1 (1988): 1–23.
Larebo, Haile M. “The Ethiopian Orthodox Church.” In Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twentieth Century, edited by Pedro Ramet, 375–99. Christianity Under Stress 1. Durham: Duke University Press, 1988.
LoTemplio, Sara, Travis W. Reynolds, Alemayehu Wassie Eshete, Marie Abrahams, Denise Bruesewitz, and Jacob A. Wall. “Ethiopian Orthodox Church Forests Provide Regulating and Habitat Services: Evidence from Stream Sediment and Aquatic Insect Analyses.” African Journal of Ecology 55, no. 2 (2017): 247–51.
Loubser, Johannes A. “‘Two Revolutions behind: Is the Ethiopian Orthodox Church an Obstacle or Catalyst for Social Development?’” Scriptura: Journal for Contextual Hermeneutics in Southern Africa 81, no. 1 (2002): 378–90.
AbstractAs part of a project to investigate the spiritual and moral roots for an African Renaissance the paper employs an inter-disciplinary approach, investigating the intersection between religion and social development. This is done with reference to developmental issues as they become manifest in Ethiopia. An analysis of the social role of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is accompanied by a critical review of some theories and strategies for social development. Since Ethiopia is one of the major beneficiaries of US and international aid the paper also considers options for sustainable social development.
Malʼaku, Lulé. History of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church : From the Reign Emperor Caleb to the End of Zagwe Dynasty and from the Classical (Golden) Age to the Present. Vol. 2. Addis Ababa: Elleni Printing PLC, 2010.
Mihretie, Kindeneh E. “Founded by, Dedicated to, and Fighting About the Holy Savior: Schism in Waldeba, a Microcosm of Factionalism in the Ethiopian Church.” Northeast African Studies 14, no. 1 (2014): 43–66.
Mikre-Sellassie, G. Ammanuel. “Ethiopia and the Bible.” In The Jerusalem Congress on Black Africa and the Bible. April 24-30, 1972, edited by Engelbert Mveng and Raphael J. Z. Werblowsky, 190–96. Jerusalem: The Israel Interfaith Comittee, 1972.
AbstractThis article is a critical appraisal of the Ethiopian conception(s) of covenant as a device for defining the human person, among other things. After analysing the conceptions of human person in three historical areas, I show their implications for development work. The first part is therefore devoted to the conception of the human person in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), where the notion of covenant is shaped by political monism and philosophical/theological dualism. I explore the reason for such a conceptual enigma, before drawing out its implications for development. The second part explores the Marxist attempt at demystification of the human person at the expense of covenantal understanding. The third part explores the ethnic compartmentalization that was introduced by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) against the covenantal backdrops. In the final part, I argue that using the notion of covenant to understand the human person is essential in the Ethiopian context. Even then, I contend that that there is a need to employ a different epistemology (from the traditional one). Consequently, I argue that (re)conceptualization helps us to avoid repeating historical mistakes and allows us to have a better understanding of the human person with a more progressive approach to development.
Mulualem, Molla B., Alemayehu B. Tamiru, and Kelkay A. Dagnew. “The Pedagogical Practices of Ethiopian Orthodox Church Traditional Schools: Implications for Contemporary Education.” Pedagogy, Culture & Society, March 2022.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to explore the pedagogical practices of Ethiopian Orthodox Church traditional schools and their implications to the contemporary education practices. The study employed a holistic and interpretive qualitative
Nida, Worku. “African Religious Beliefs and Practices in Diaspora: An Ethnographic Observation of Activities at an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church in Los Angeles.” In African Immigrant Religions in America, edited by Jacob K. Olupona and Regina Gemignani, 207–26. New York: New York University Press, 2007.
Nosnitsin, Denis, ed. Veneration of Saints in Christian Ethiopia: Proceedings of the International Workshop Saints in Christian Ethiopia: Literary Sources and Veneration, Hamburg, April 28–29, 2012. Edited by Denis Nosnitsin. Harrassowitz Verlag, 2015.
AbstractThe essays gathered in this volume evolved from papers that were delivered at the Second International Workshop of the project Ethio-SPaRe: Cultural Heritage of Christian Ethiopia, Salvation, Preservation and Research (2009–2015, 7th Research Framework Programme IDEAS, ERC Starting Grant 240720). The title of the workshop, which was held in Hamburg in April 2012, was “Saints in Christian Ethiopia: Literary Sources and Veneration". It covered a wide range of approaches to historical, textual, and socioanthropological questions connected with the veneration of saints in Ethiopia from its Christianization in the 4th century CE until the present day. The papers explore the hagiographical traditions of a number of saints, both indigenous and foreign. They cast new light on known facts, offer new interpretations, and introduce previously unknown texts and witnesses. The book is of interest to scholars of Ethiopian studies, Christian orient, history of religion, and African literature.
Nosnitsin, Denis. “The Ethiopic Synaxarion: Text-Critical Observations on Täklä Haymanot’s Commemoration (24 Nähase).” Orientalia Christiana Periodica 73, no. 1 (2007): 141–83.
AbstractThe Ethiopic Synaxarion commemorates the death of the famous Ethiopian saint Täklä Haymanot on 24 Nähcombining dot belowase. This commemoration, widely diffused because of the importance of the Synaxarion as one of the main liturgical books of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, has until now been generally considered a secondary compilation made on the basis of other recensions of the Saint's Acts. This opinion, however, is incorrect and must be revised. There exist in fact several versions of the Synaxarion notice for 24 Nähcombining dot belowase, briefly describing the life of Täklä Haymanot. One can distinguish shorter and older and a few longer and later recensions. The textual analysis proves that the shorter recension of the same reading is not derived from any other long version of the Saint's Acts but is an independent work, originating from an "archetype" more ancient than at least two other long recensions of the Acts. Therefore it may be considered one of the earliest pieces of Ethiopian hagiography.
Nosnitsin, Denis. “The Old Chants for St. Gärima: New Evidence from Gäralta.” Scrinium 12, no. 1 (2016): 84–103.
Nosnitsin, Denis. Ecclesiastic Landscape of North Ethiopia: Proceedings of the International Workshop “Ecclesiastic Landscape of North Ethiopia: History, Change, and Cultural Heritage,” Hamburg, July 15-16, 2011. Aethiopica International Journal of Ethiopian Studies. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2013.
Change, and Cultural Heritage (2011 : Workshop) (Universität Hamburg) Ecclesiastic Landscape of North Ethiopia: History
Ogbo, Zerehaimanot Y. “The Influence of the Old Testament in the Worship of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, with Special Reference to the Ark (Tabot) of the Covenant.” B.D. Thesis, Lutheran Theological Colloge, 1983.
Reynolds, Travis W., Krystyna A. Stave, Tizezew S. Sisay, and Alemayehu W. Eshete. “Changes in Community Perspectives on the Roles and Rules of Church Forests in Northern Ethiopia: Evidence from a Panel Survey of Four Ethiopian Orthodox Communities.” International Journal of the Commons 11, no. 1 (2017): 355–87.
AbstractDrawing upon research including personal interviews with Ethiopian church leaders and examination of Ethiopian laws and constitutions through three consecutive governments over the period 1930–2012, this contribution examines the motivations and strategies by which successive authoritarian governments in Ethiopia have mobilised or demobilised Christian churches. The contribution argues that in contexts of low economic development, the political salience of churches comes not only from their ability to (de)legitimise governments, as argued in previous works, but also from churches’ valuable resource mobilisation capabilities and international connections. The contribution explores how successive authoritarian governments in Ethiopia have balanced these political and economic considerations in deciding whether to politically mobilise or demobilise the country’s influential Orthodox and Protestant churches and details the legal and policy tools used by governments to manipulate churches’ political capacities.
Ruelle, Morgan L., Karim-Aly Kassam, and Zemede Asfaw. “Human Ecology of Sacred Space: Church Forests in the Highlands of Northwestern Ethiopia.” Environmental Conservation 45, no. 3 (2018): 291–300.
AbstractThe 4th century CE was definitive for Early Christianity as there emerged an imperial orthodoxy establishment. This was the inception of an era of a Christian polity characterised by symbiotic ties between the imperial establishment and a developing charismatic political Christianity. The established narrative is one overshadowed by the Byzantine influence even in Africa through Alexandria and Carthage. There were, however, dynamics that conceived an African Christian polity, by extension Ethiopian Christianity posed relevance as a complexly diverse Christian political entity. The investigation reviewed 4th-century CE Christianity with regard to the influence of an African Christian polity and, additionally, how it was implied upon relations with the imperial orthodox establishment. Ethiopia became the case in consideration. This was established through descriptive research using document analysis to formulate literature reviews. The development of a Christian political matrix was a dominant feature of Early Christianity, especially after the emergence of a mutual enterprise under imperial orthodoxy. The formative manner of the political characteristic of ecclesiastical leadership was composite to the council resolutions and expansion policy. Inadvertently, the thin line between imperial geopolitical policy and custody of Christendom diminished. Ethiopia intrinsically saw the development of its own Christian political entity, one that curtailed the challenges of ethnic enculturation and schism between charisma and hierarchy. Perceivably, the complexity of the religious political matrix of Ethiopia as derived from its interaction with Byzantine Rome, Alexandria and the Arabian Peninsula was the source for its prolonged existence, thereby establishing basis for further investigation.
Rupprecht, Tobias. “Orthodox Internationalism: State and Church in Modern Russia and Ethiopia.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 60, no. 1 (January 2018): 212–35.
AbstractRussia and Ethiopia, both multiethnic empires with traditionally orthodox Christian ruling elites, from the nineteenth century developed a special relationship that outlived changing geopolitical and ideological constellations. Russians were fascinated with what they saw as exotic brothers in the faith, and Ethiopians took advantage of Russian help and were inspired by various features of modern Russian statecraft. This article examines contacts and interactions between the elites of these two distant countries, and the changing relations between authoritarian states and Orthodox churches from the age of European imperialism to the end of the Cold War. It argues that religio-ethnic identities and institutionalized religion have grounded tenacious visions of global political order. Orthodoxy was the spiritual basis of an early anti-Western type of globalization, and was subsequently coopted by states with radically secular ideologies as an effective means of mass mobilization and control.
Schultz, Harold J. “Reform and Reaction in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.” The Christian Century 85, no. 5 (January 31, 1968): 142–43.
AbstractEthiopia is an icon of freedom and indigenous Christianity across Africa due to its historic independence, ancient Christian identity and rich religious heritage. However, Ethiopia and its various Christian denominations have their own understandings of this identity and how these communities relate to one another. In this detailed study, Dr Seblewengel Daniel explores the perception and identity of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and evangelical church in Ethiopia and examines the relations between the two.
Beginning with the earliest evangelical missionary engagement with the Orthodox church, Dr Daniel skilfully uses historical and theological frameworks to explain the dynamics at play when approaching the relations over two centuries between these two churches and their respective communities. Daniel ultimately emphasizes that what unites the Orthodox and evangelical church is greater than what divides – namely an ancient faith in the triune God. This important study urges both sides to place the Bible at the centre, using it to understand their differences, and challenges them to take responsibility for past negative perceptions in order to move forward together in greater unity and mutual respect
Shelemay, Kay K., and Peter Jeffery. Ethiopian Christian Liturgical Chant: An Anthology (3 Volumes). Oral Traditions. Madison: A-R Editions, Inc., 1993.
AbstractThis three-volume anthology introduces the Ethiopian Christian musical tradition to performers, music scholars, and liturgists, while addressing general problems of notation and oral tradition. Ethiopian Christian chant has been passed down both in an indigenous notational system and through oral transmission. This edition presents a selection of liturgical portions from the annual cycle in facsimiles of notated sources and in transcriptions from modern performances. Supplementing the edition is a complete dictionary of notational signs, with equivalents in modern notation, and a set of charts tracing the notational history of each liturgical portion through a sample of Ethiopian manuscripts.
Shenk, Calvin E. “Reverse Contextualization: Jesuit Encounter with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.” Direction 28, no. 1 (1999): 88–100.
AbstractThe Ethiopian Orthodox Church is a fascinating study in indigenization. Its deep rootage in the lives of the people is evidenced by the way in which the Church has been preserved since the fourth century in spite of repeated threats from enemies within and outside of Ethiopia. The church has Christianized important aspects of Old Testament and Hebrew culture as well as certain remnants of primal religion. It adapted beliefs and symbols which reflected and reinforced African traditions, and either absorbed or transfigured that which suited its purposes. The Ethiopian Church is an indigenous church, not an indigenized one. The process of its indigenization is described and important lessons from this rather natural development are identified that help in understanding the importance of critical contextualization. The successes and failures of the Ethiopian Church provide perspective for contemporary attempts at contextualization. This study is significant for understanding African Christianity but also has missiological implications for the wider world.
Silverman, Raymond A. “Ethiopian Orthodox Visual Culture in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: A Research Note.” Material Religion 5, no. 1 (March 2009): 88–103.
AbstractThis paper explores contemporary visual imagery associated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, focusing on the tension between innovation and conservatism deriving from traditions that straddle the realms of religion and commerce. Specifically, it considers the circulation of popular mass-produced chromolithographic prints and the contexts in which this imagery has been integrated into Orthodox religious practice. These prints today may be found displayed in churches where they serve as objects of devotion and as models for paintings produced by local artists. The paper argues that the current phenomenon is in fact a latter day manifestation of a process that has been practiced for centuries in the highlands of Ethiopia.
Simmons, Briana B. “Christian Chromolithographs in Ethiopia.” African Arts 42, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 46–53.
AbstractThe article discusses Christian Chromolithographs, or color prints, in Ethiopia. The prints represent both popular and traditional religious themes of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC). However, they do not always follow strict church guidelines and traditions of EOC sponsored art. The chromolithographs allow Ethiopians a chance to own religious art which had previously been beyond the means of many. Church-trained painters appreciate the religious nature of the prints, but have had to expand the scope of their painting themes to increase the appeal of their original works for foreigner art buyers in order to earn money. The article also explores the use of chromolithographs in Ethiopian home shrines.
Smith, Barbara A. “The Role of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Affirming the National Identity of Her People: Historical Observations.” The Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center 26, no. 2 (1999): 169–89.
AbstractIf New Year festivities are always anticlimactic, then millennium celebrations are the worst. And while the rest of the world celebrated the millennium in January 2000 (or 2001), the new Ethiopian millennium began on September 12th, 2007, initiating a year of commemoration that will, it is hoped, bring many visitors to the country.
Tadesse, Fisseha. “The Representation of Jesus: Reflecting Attitudes of Masculinity in the Ethiopian Theological Tradition.” Journal of Ethiopian Studies 35, no. 1 (June 2002): 67–87.
AbstractThe Ethiopian Orthodox Church has significantly declined since the disruption of her ally the so-called "Solomonic Line" in 1974, when the last monarch was overthrown; nevertheless, she still exerts a strong influence on the lives of millions of even without the support of her ally, the state. Neither the divorce of church-State relations, which culminated with the end of the monarchy and introduction of Communist ideology in the 1970s, nor the trends of pluralistic democracy-based currently flourishing Independent churches, could remove away her influence in the country. In fact, these events have threatened the position of this archaic Church and made questionable the possibility of her perpetuation, as can be well observed at the turn of the century.
Tedros Abraha, O. F. M. “(Pseudo) Cyril’s Interpretation of Proverbs 9:1 in the Confessio Patrum and Its Influence on Traditional Ethiopian Hermeneutics.” Orientalia Christiana Periodica 79, no. 2 (2013): 305–25.
AbstractThe Confessio Patrum is a collection of Patristic writing compiled in Egypt in Arabic. The last writer in the CP is the patriarch Christodulos († 1077). It was subsequently translated into Ga'az and it is in Ethiopia that the CP, known as Haymanotä Abäw made its fortune as the chief Patristic resource text, after the Qeralos. It played a key role not only in the traditional Church training as an important part of the so called "Books of the Scholars" but also in the theological debates with missionaries and within the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwahado Church. The HA is read in the liturgy throughout the Holy Week, until the vigil of Easter Sunday and during the Eucharistie celebration at the time of the clergy's communion. Theological treatises and traditional Ethiopian commentaries quote abundantly from the HA taking for granted that the authors under whose names the various passages are presented, have indeed penned them. The aim of this paper is to provide a specimen indicating that, often this is not the case. Researchers dealing with quotations drawn from the HA always need to verify their authenticity.
Tesfaye, Ayalkibet B. “The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Its Traditional Theological Education System.” In Handbook of Theological Education in Africa, edited by Isabel A. Phiri and Dietrich Werner, 281–91. Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications, 2013.
AbstractThis article addresses the impact of modern European Christian imagery on the visual culture of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Eritrea, which has a long history of using illuminated manuscripts, paintings, and crosses as essential elements of worship and prayer. Tewahedo icons are characterized by brown- and black-skinned Christian figures and indigenized settings that narrate Evangelical and monastic scripture for devotees. This study highlights the domination of European white imagery in liturgical spheres in Eritrea and assesses the impact on the semiotic composition of locally produced paintings. Further, nuanced codes of race and skin color are analyzed in relation to connotations of good and evil. The semiotic analysis in this article also shows that European influences are more prevalent in religious paintings that depict recognized saints in Catholic Europe, in comparison to images of local monastic saints, whose depiction continues to mirror the visual metaphors and local myths of the Tigrinya people.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. “Ethiopian Church History.” The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Faith and Order, 2003.
AbstractThe visit 9-10 February 2017 to the World Council of Churches by the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, H.H. Abune Matthias, occasioned reflection on the distinctive history and traditions of that ancient church, as well as its role in Ethiopian society and in the larger ecumenical landscape. Coming to his work from a lifetime of service in the church and its monasteries and schools during an especially turbulent time, Abune Matthias was elected in 2013. The church numbers about 50 million members, including several million outside Ethiopia itself, where it accounts for about half the population. What follows is a brief interview with the Patriarch.
Windmuller-Luna, K. “Guerra Com a Lingoa: Book Culture and Biblioclasm in the Ethiopian Jesuit Mission.” Journal of Jesuit Studies 2, no. 2 (April 2015): 223–47.
AbstractIN a double monastery located near the important pilgrimage place of Lalibela, two nuns I had been interviewing suddenly asked me, ‘Why don’t you ask us about Mary?’ They wanted to tell me about how she cared for them, loved them, and answered their prayers. ‘Whatever we ask her she will give us’, they stated. Mary was important for the Ethiopian Orthodox believers I worked with; it became obvious that Mary has an exclusive place in Ethiopian devotion in general. Most of the time, Ethiopian Christians relate to Christ as a distant saviour and turn to Mary in dealing with their daily lives. Mary is pure in both body and soul, a human being without sin, so that Christ becomes the union of divinity and humanity.
Yegzaw, L. M. Abebaw. “A Reflection from the Delegation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.” Ecumenical Review 36, no. 2 (April 1984): 173–74.
AbstractComments on the spirit of ecumenism during the Sixth Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Vancouver, British columbia in 1983. Role of ecumenism; Proofs of ecumenism during the early days of the assembly; Reports of the moderator of the central committee Archbishop Scott, and of the general secretary Philip Potter.
Yesehaq, archbishop. The Ethiopian Tewahedo Church: An Integrally African Church. Nashville, TN: Winston-Derek Publishers, 1997.
Zeleke, M. “Cosmopolitan Youth Religious Movements in Ethiopia: Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahedo Youth as Vanguard and Self-Appointed Masters of Ceremony.” Northeast African Studies 15, no. 2 (2015): 65–92.
AbstractThe trajectories of youth religiosity have not received much scholarly attention in anthropological studies of the Horn of Africa. The present article addresses this gap through an in-depth ethnographic study of contemporary developments around the Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahedo Church (EOTC). It also aims to advance the anthropological understanding of the agency of religious youth by going beyond the rupture thesis, which emphasizes generational shifts and the disruptive role of religious youth in calling for the reform of the religious practices of older generations. In contrast to this view, the thrust of the religious practices of the EOTC youth presented in this work is toward conservatism and protectionism in the context of a new competitive religious field. This article also argues against academic discourses that hint at direct links between economic deprivation and increased religiosity, authoritarianism and heightened religiosity, and the global and local religious activism resulting from new information technologies, and instead calls for an interactionist approach that looks into the interplay of these and other variables in order to account for the growing religiosity of the youth.
Zellelew, Tilahun B. “Meat Abstinence and Its Positive Environmental Effect: Examining the Fasting Etiquettes of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.” Critical Research on Religion 2, no. 2 (July 2014): 134–46.
AbstractMeat abstinence, as is practiced in some religions, has a positive impact on reducing the damages that the process of meat production inflicts on the environment. The Ethiopian Orthodox Christians observe fasting by abstaining from meat for more than half a year, and this seems to do the environment and economy some good. Religion has been playing a regulatory role between ever-increasing meat demands and the country’s fast-growing meat and live animal exports. The article concludes that individuals' tendency to drift from religious life practices, coupled with a growing middle class that can afford to buy meat regularly, and the country’s need to maximize foreign currency through meat and livestock exportation, is likely to see Ethiopia introduce intensive livestock production in the not too distant future, to meet domestic meat demands and increase livestock export earnings.
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