Haile Selassie, in his decree in 1944, prohibited missionaries from attempting to convert Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, and they had little success in proselytizing among Muslims.
During the time, the focus of most missionaries was on adherents of local religions–but still with only small success. In the 1960s, there were about 900 foreign missionaries in Ethiopia, however many were layperson.
One obstruction to the missions’ achievement in the rural areas may have been the imperial government’s insistence that Amharic be used as the medium of religious instruction except in the earliest stages of missionary activity.
Tags: Catholic·Christians·church·Ethiopia·Ethiopian Evangelical Church·Evangelical Believers·Keywords: missionaries·Mekane Yesus·Orthodox Church·protestant·Seventh-Day Adventists·Sudan Interior Mission
Islam arrived early in Ethiopia and majority of them are Sunnis, members of the largest sect of Islam. The Prophet himself taught his followers to respect and protect Ethiopians.
It was in 615 that Muhammed’s wife and cousin sought refuge at Axum with a number of other followers. This group was running away from Mecca’s leading tribe, the reactionary Kuraysh, who sent envoies to bring them back to Arabia, but the Negus Armah (a Christian king) protected them.
The arrival of immigrants and traders from Oman and Yemen during the following centuries enlarged the number of Muslims in Somalia, Eritrea and what is now Ethiopia.
Tags: Keywords: Sunnis·Kuraysh·Mecca·Muhammed·Negus Armah
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was established by the monks Frumentius and Aedissius in the fourth century, during the reign of King Ezana of Axum, who converted to Christianity along with many of his people.
The Ethiopian Church exists today as self-governing, though it shares the same faith with Egypt’s Coptic Church. Until 1955, the Patriarch, a Coptic bishop, was sent from Alexandria.
The Council of Chalcedon separated the Coptic Church from the early Orthodox Church in AD 451 and the resound was doctrinal differences.
Tags: Aedissius·Chalcedon·Chalcedonian Churches·Christ·Coptic Church of Egypt·Frumentius·Keywords: Ethiopian·martyrs·Monophysites·Orthodox Tewahedo·tabot
Until 1974, The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, an independent Christian Church headed by a patriarch and closely related to the Coptic Church of Egypt, was the state church of Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the only pre-colonial Christian church of Sub-Saharan Africa, it has a membership of about 40 million people (45 million asserted by the Patriarch), mainly in Ethiopia, and is therefore the largest of all Oriental Orthodox churches. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Ethiopia).
About 58 percent of the people of Ethiopia are Christians, and Christianity is predominant in the highlands.
Tags: Aksum·animists·Beta Israel·Christianity·church of Ethiopia·Ethiopia·Ethiopia's Christians·Falashas·Judaism·Keywords: Orthodox Tewahedo Church·Muslim·Oriental Orthodox churches·rock-hewn churches