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Message From Our Fathers

The eunuch in Jerusalem, who is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, is believed to have been the first Ethiopian to convert to Christianity. Tradition holds that in the first century CE, St. Matthew and St. Bartholomew were the first to evangelize Ethiopia (8:27–40). In the fourth century CE, St. Frumentius, who became the first Ethiopian bishop, and Aedesius, who may have been his brother, helped spread Christianity in Ethiopia. In Aksum (a large kingdom in northern Ethiopia), they won the king’s confidence and were given permission to evangelize. Frumentius baptized Ezana, who was the king at the time, and Christianity was made the state religion. Around the end of the fifth century, nine Syrian monks are said to have brought monasticism to Ethiopia and helped translate the Bible into Geez.

The Ethiopian church disagreed with the christological ruling made by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE, which held that Jesus Christ’s human and divine natures were both present in one person but did not mix, following the Coptic (Egyptian) church (now known as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria).

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