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Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

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The '''Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church''' (in Amharic: ''Yäityop'ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan'') is an [[Oriental Orthodox]] church in Ethiopia that was part of the [[Church of Alexandria (Coptic)|Coptic Church]] until 1959, when it was granted its own [[Patriarch]] by [[List of Coptic Popes|Coptic Pope]] Cyril VI. The only pre-colonial Christian church of [[Orthodoxy in Sub-Saharan Africa|Sub-Saharan Africa]], it claims a membership of close to 36 million people worldwide, and is thus the largest of all Oriental Orthodox churches. The Its current Head head is His Holiness Abune Paulos P'awlos (born 1935, elected 1992), Patriarch of Addis Ababaand All Ethiopia.
==Origins==
''Tewahedo'' (Ge'ez ''tawāhidō'', modern pronunciation ''tewāhidō'') is a Ge'ez word meaning "being made one"; it is related to the Arabic word توحيد ''tawhid'', meaning "monotheism," or more literally "unification." This refers to the [[Oriental Orthodoxy|Oriental Orthodox]] belief in the one single unique [[Christology|Nature of Christ]] (i.e., a belief that a complete, natural union of the Divine and Human Natures into One is self-evident in order to accomplish the divine salvation of humankind), as opposed to the "two Natures of Christ" belief (unmixed, separated Divine and Human Natures, called the [[Hypostatic Union]]) promoted by today's [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] and Eastern Orthodox churches. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the [[Henoticon]] [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07218b.htm]: the [[Patriarch]]s of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, and many others, all refused to accept the "two natures" doctrine decreed by the Byzantine Emperor Marcian's [[Council of Chalcedon]] in 451, thus separating them from the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, who themselves separated from one another later in the [[Great Schism]] (1054). The Oriental Orthodox Churches, which today include the [[Church of Alexandria (Coptic)|Coptic Orthodox Church]], the [[Church of Armenia|Armenian Apostolic Church]], the [[Church of Antioch (Syriac)|Syriac Orthodox Church]], the [[Church of India|Malankara Orthodox Church]] of India, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and the [[Church of Eritrea|Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church]], are referred to as "Non-Chalcedonian", and, sometimes by outsiders as "[[Monophysitism|monophysite]]" (meaning "One Nature", in reference to Christ; a rough translation of the name ''Tewahido''). However, these Churches themselves describe their [[Christology]] as [[miaphysite]].
The Ethiopian Church of Ethiopia claims its origins from [[Philip the Evangelist]] ([[Acts of the Apostles|Acts]] 8). It became the established church of the Ethiopian Axumite Kingdom under king Ezana in the 4th century through the efforts of a Syrian Greek named [[Frumentius of Axum|Frumentius]], known in Ethiopia as ''Abba Selama, Kesaté Birhan'' ("Father of Peace, Revealer of Light"). As a boy, 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 converted Emperor Ezana to Christianity, causing him to be baptized. Ezana sent Frumentius to Alexandria to ask the Patriarch, St. [[Athanasius the Great|Athanasius]], to appoint a bishop for Ethiopia. Athanasius appointed Frumentius himself, who returned to Ethiopia as Bishop with the name of ''Abune Selama''. For centuries afterward, the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria always named a Copt (''an Egyptian'') to be ''[[Abuna]]'' or Archbishop of the Ethiopian Church.
==Jesuit interim==
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 [[church]]es concurrent with the Middle Ages. But early in the 16th century the church was brought under the influence of a Portuguese mission.
In 1439, in the reign of Zara YaqobZera Ya'iqob, a religious discussion between Abba Giorgis Giyorgis and a French visitor had led to the dispatch of an embassy from Ethiopia to the [[Church of Rome|Vatican]]; but the initiative in the [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] missions to Ethiopia was taken, not by Rome, but by Portugal, as an incident in the struggle with the [[Muslim]] Ottoman Empire and Sultanate of Adal for the command of the trade route to India by the Red Sea.
In 1507 Matthew, or MatheusMatewos, an Armenian, had been sent as Ethiopian envoy to Portugal to ask aid against Adal. In 1520 an embassy under Dom Rodrigo de Lima landed in Ethiopia (by which time Adal had been remobilized under Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi). An interesting account of the Portuguese mission, which remained for several years, was written by Francisco Alvarez, the chaplain.
Later, Ignatius Loyola wished to essay the task of conversion, but was forbidden. Instead, the [[pope]] sent out Joao Nunez Barreto as patriarch of the East Indies, with Andre de Oviedo as bishop; and from 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 SissiniosSusniyos, but not until 1624 did the Emperor emperor make a formal submission to the popePope of Rome. Sissinios Susniyos made Roman Catholicism the official religion of the state religion , but was met with heavy resistance by his nobles and subjects and eventually had to abdicate in 1632 to in favor of his son, FasilidesSt. Fasiledes, who promptly returned restored Orthodoxy and the union of the state religion to Ethiopian Orthodox ChristianityChurch of Ethiopia with Alexandria. He then expelled the Jesuits in 1633and, and in 1665, Fasilides ordered that all Jesuit books (the Books 'books of the Franks') be burned.
==Recent historyHistory==The Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches reached an agreement on [[July 13]], 1948, that led to [[autocephaly]] for the Ethiopian Churchof Ethiopia. Five [[bishop]]s were immediately consecrated by the [[Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria]], empowered to elect a new Patriarch patriarch for their church, and . It was also agreed that the successor to Archbishop Abuna Qerellos Qerilos IV , a Copt, would have the power to consecrate new bishops. This promotion was completed when Coptic Pope Yosab of Alexandria consecrated an Ethiopian-born Archbishopbishop, Abuna BasliosAbune Basilyos, on [[January 14]], 1951. Then in 1959, Pope [[Cyril VI of Alexandria]] crowned Abuna Baslios enthroned Abune Basilyos as the first Patriarch of Ethiopia.
Patriarch Abune Baslios Basilyos died in 1971, and was succeeded that year by Patriarch Abune TewophilosTewoflos. With the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie Silase in 1974, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church was disestablished as the state church. The new Marxist government began nationalizing property (including land) owned by the church. Patriarch Church and in 1976 Abune Tewophilos Tewoflos was arrested in 1976 by the Marxist Communist Derg military junta, and regime. He was secretly executed later that year. The government subsequently ordered the church Church to elect a new Patriarchpatriarch and a simple monk from the countryside, and Abune [[Abune Takla HaymanotTekle Haimanot]] , was enthroned. The Coptic Orthodox Church refused to recognize the election and enthronement of Abune Tekle Haimanot on the grounds that the [[Holy Synod]] of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church had not removed Abune Tewophilos Tewoflos and that the government had not publicly acknowledged his death, and that he was thus still the legitimate Patriarch patriarch of Ethiopia. Formal relations between the two churches were stopped, although they remained in communion with each other. Formal relations between the two churches , and were resumed on July 13, 2007<ref>[http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/English/visitseng.htm#11 "Common Declaration" of Pope Shenoudah III, Catholicos Aram I, and Patriarch Paulos - News and Media of the Armenian Orthodox Church, 22 July 2007]</ref>
[[Image:AnastasiosAndPaulos.JPG|350px|thumb|Archbishop Anastasios of Albania visits with Abune Paulos P'awlos at the 2008 Central Committee meeting of the World Council of Churches]]Patriarch Abune Tekle Haymanot Haimanot proved to be much less accommodating to the Derg regime than it had expected, and so when the Patriarch patriarch died in 1988, a new Patriarch patriarch with closer ties to the regime was sought. The Archbishop Abune Merqoriyos of GondarGonder, a member of the Derg-era Ethiopian Parliament, was therefore elected and enthroned as Patriarch Abune Merkoriospatriarch. Following the fall of the Derg regime in 1991, and the coming to power of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) government, Patriarch Abune Merkorios Merqoriyos abdicated under public and governmental pressure. The church then elected a new Patriarch, Abune Paulos. 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 replaced by the legitimate Patriarch of 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 Patriarch Abune Merkoriosnew government's candidate, while the synod inside Ethiopia continues to uphold the legitimacy of Patriarch Abune PaulosP'awlos.
After Eritrea became an independent countryFollowing the enthronement of Abune P'awlos, Abune Merqoriyos fled abroad, first to Kenya and later to the United States, and announced that his abdication had been forced and that he was therefore the Coptic legitimate Patriarch of Ethiopia. Several other archbishops also went into exile in 1992 and together with Abune Merqoriyos and an Ethiopian Orthodox Church granted autocephaly to archbishop in the [[Eritrea|Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church]] with Caribbean formed the reluctant approval Holy Synod in Exile of its mother synod, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. This Synod in Exile is recognized by a number of Ethiopian Orthodox churches in Kenya, North America, Western Europe, and Australia that do not recognize the legitimacy of Abune P'awlos' election as patriarch.
After Eritrea became an independent country the Coptic Orthodox Church granted autocephaly to the [[Eritrea|Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church]] with the reluctant approval of its mother, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. Unliek the Church of Ethiopia, the Church of Eritrea is only in practice partially autocephalous due to the nature of the agreement on communion between it and the Coptic Orthodox Church. As of 2005, there are many Ethiopian Orthodox churches located throughout the United States and other countries to which Ethiopians have migrated. There Roughly 40% of Ethiopia, around 35 million people, are about 37 million members of the Ethiopian Orthodox members, or half the population, within the countryChurch.
==Distinctive traits==
===Language===
The divine services of the Ethiopian Church are celebrated in the Ge'ez language, which has been the language of the Church at least since the arrival of the [[Nine Saints]] (Abba Pantelewon, Abba Gerima (Issac, or YeshaqYisihaq), Abba Aftse, Abba Guba, Abba Alef, Abba Yem'ata, Abba Liqanos, and Abba Sehma), who fled persecution by the Byzantine Emperor East Roman emperors after the Council of Chalcedon (in 451). The [[Septuagint]] version was translated into Ge'ez. [[Sermon]]s are delivered in the local languagelanguages of the Church's faithful, which include Amharic, Gambela, Gurage, Oromo, Sidama, and Tigrayan.
===Architecture===
There are many [[Monolithic church|monolithic churches]] in Ethiopia, most famously the twelve churches at [[Lalibela]]. After these, two main types of architecture are found&mdash;one [[basilica]]n, the other native. The Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion at Axum is basilican, though the early basilicas are nearly all in ruin. These examples show the influence of those architects who, in the 6th century, built the basilicas at Sanaá and elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula. There are two forms of native churches -- one square or oblong, traditionally found in Tigray; the other circular, traditionally found in Amhara and Shewa (though either style may be found elsewhere). The square type may be due to basilican influence, the circular is an adaptation of the native hut. 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 Ethiopian church claims that one of its churches, Our Lady Mary of Zion(''Maryam Tsiyon''), is host to the original [[Ark of the Covenant]] that [[Moses]] carried with the Israelites during the [[Exodus]]. However, outsiders (and women, be they insiders or not) are not allowed into the building where the Ark is located, ostensibly due to dangerous biblical warnings. As a result, international scholars doubt that the real Ark is truly there, although a case has been put forward by controversial popular writer Graham Hancock in his book ''The Sign and the Seal''.
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 six inches (15 cm) square and made from alabaster, marble, or wood (acacia). It is always kept in ornate coverings to hide it from public view. In an elaborate procession, the tabot is carried around the outside of the church amid joyful song and dance on the feast day of that particular church's namesake, and also on the great Feast of T'imk'etimqet, known as [[Epiphany]] or [[Theophany]].
===Similarities to Judaism===
The Ethiopian church Church of Ethiopia places a heavier emphasis on Old Testament teachings than one might find in the Roman Catholic or Protestant Western churches, and its followers adhere to certain practices that one only finds in Orthodox or Conservative [[Judaism]]. Ethiopian Christians, like some other Eastern Christians, traditionally follow dietary rules that are similar to Jewish Kashrutkashrut, specifically with regard to how an animal is slaughtered. Similarly, pork is prohibited, though unlike Kashrutkashrut, Ethiopian cuisine does mix dairy products with meat. Women are prohibited from entering the church during their menses, period and, like married Orthodox Jewish women, are expected to cover their hair with a large scarf (or ''shashnet'ela'') while in church.  As with Orthodox [[synagogue]]s, men and women are seated separately in the Ethiopian churchOrthodox churches, with men on the left and women on the right (when facing the altar). However, women covering their heads and separation of the sexes in the Church building church is common to many [[Oriental Orthodox]], [[Eastern Orthodox]] and [[Roman Catholic Church|Catholic]] Christians and not unique to Judaism. Ethiopian Orthodox worshippers worshipers remove their shoes when entering a church, in accordance with [[Exodus]] 3:5 (in which [[Moses]], while viewing the [[burning bush]], is commanded to remove his shoes while standing on holy ground). Furthermore, both the [[Sabbath]] (Saturday), and the [[Lord's Day]] (Sunday) are observed as holy, although more emphasis, because of the [[Resurrection]], is laid upon the Sunday.
==Source==
*[http://www.ethiopianorthodox.org/english/indexenglish.htm General Information (1)]
*[http://www.eotc.faithweb.com/ General Information (2)]
*[http://www.eotcholysynod.org/ Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church in Exile] (Official Website)
*[http://www.angelfire.com/ny3/ethiochurch/ History of the Church]
*[http://www.tewahedo.org/ Tewahedo Songs & Records]
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