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Religion: Christianity


Three of the world’s major religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have had their followers here since they were founded and thus have grown with indigenous expressions that are distinctly Ethiopian. Both Christianity and Islam become state sponsored and protected in Ethiopia before anywhere else.

Today, almost 99% of Ethiopians are either Christians or Muslims. The majority of Ethiopian believers are Christian, with a large, almost equal Muslim minority. Almost all the Felasha Jewish communities have been expatriated to Israel during the last twenty years. The rest are followers of animist traditional spirit or ancestral worship of one kind or another.

Ethiopian Orthodox Church
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) was founded by two monks, Frumentius and Aedissius, in the early fourth century, during the reign of King Ezana of Axum (Axum). The king along with many of his people were converted to Christianity .

Frumentius was consecrated bishop in Alexandria, returning to Ethiopia to be its first bishop. This trend of sending a Coptic bishop from Alexandria as Patriarch of Ethiopia, continued until 1955. After 1955, the Ethiopian Church became self-governing, appointing a native Ethiopian as the Abuna, or Patriarch. The second ranking hierarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the Abbot of the Debre Libanos Monastery, reflecting the importance of monasticism in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church traditionally shares the same faith with Egypt's Coptic Church.

Travelers that want to study the various historical heritages of Ethiopia may have to study the doctrine and history of the EOC as well. The EOC has so big a part in almost all of our historic attractions, that it is virtually impossible to study one separately from the other.

Ethiopian Catholic Churches
The Roman Catholic Church in Ethiopia has a very good tie with the Vatican and commands a substantial number of followers.

It also plays effective roles in various development projects.

Ethiopian Protestant Churches
There are quite a number of Protestant denomination in the capital, as well as various regional towns. This number is gradually increasing, and this increment is readily seen specially in the southern part of Ethiopia.

There are quite a number of development projects undertaken or being undertaken by some of the more established Protestant churches.

Coexistence of the Christian Churches
There is a good tolerance among the above three sects, at least at the level of the leadership. They usually work together in issues common to all and affecting the country as a whole, such as relief, HIV AIDS, etc.

While the Catholic, Protestant and Islam religious sects enjoy a certain amount of financial and logistic support from external sources, the EOC, specially those in the country-side among the grass-root population, face the lack of funds even to handle the basic rituals of the churches.

Moreover, because the EOC has played a major role in the cultural and historical heritages of the country, it needs resources to adequately preserve the various religious and historical treasures under its custody for future generations.

Debra_Damo Monastery
Debre Libanos Monastery
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