The Early Church Ethiopian Orthodox Church
The Early Church

An Orthodox Church established in Ethiopia in the fourth century.

Ark of the Covenant

The Orthodox Church of Ethiopia is sometimes thought of as a Coptic Church originating from missionary advances from Egypt, but it is rather an Orthodox Church brought to Ethiopia from Syria by two travelling Christian merchants in the fourth century. Ethiopian orthodoxy nourished a strong sense of identity with the Jewish heritage of the church. Replicas of the Ark of the Covenant are placed in all churches, which are typically styled after the Temple in Jerusalem. The church in Ethiopia survived the Islamic conquests. It was disturbed by theological controversy after the introduction of Roman Catholic missions and theology in the seventeenth century. To the present the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is an example of an ancient Christian communion that developed independently of either Byzantine or Roman patterns and expressed markedly African patterns of life and thought.

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Illustration by Shari Albers.