History of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC)
Church (EOTC) The EOTC is an ancient, apostolic and historical church. It has been established in accordance with the basic principles of the Old Testament and the arc of the covenant worshipping and praising one God since creation and sooner received Christianity in its season in 34th A.D through an Ethiopian messenger.
In the mean time Axum and Yeah became the centers for religious and governmental affairs. In 334 AD Axum received Christianity as a governance religion and become the first nation in Africa and the second among the world king Ezana (Abraha) was the first to mold the cross in gold on its coins. During 480 A.D, the nine saints refuges have contributed a lot in promoting monarchical systems. Before the end of the first millennium and during the reign of Queen Yodit Gudit, the country faced recession but managed to come stronger in the Zagwe dynasty that contributed in arts and ancient civilizations. It was at this time that the rock hewn churches like Lalibela were built. Then the church continued despite the attaches from the Turks, Roman Catholic missionaries, “Derbush”, and Italians spiritual objectives were integrated in to the country’s developmental community leadership, educational, social security, ethical, governmental administration. justice health and other affairs that Ethiopians are proud of. There are many heritages under the church .some of them like the ancient Axum Tsion, Gonder Deber Berhan Trinity, Ura Kidane Mehiret monastery and kibran Gebriel monastery were renowned for their.
Among ancient churches under the EOTC, the first prominent one was the Axum Tsion St. Mary church. The church is found in the western Tigray Axum town The Tsion arch was imported by Menelik I from Jerusalem and put there in the 900 AD. After the first church synagogue, it was told that Abraha and Atsbha led the church during the apostolic service of Aba Salama Kesate Berhan. The church built at that time had 5 rooms and 12 temples with 72 divisions. This Church served for 600 years and was dismantled during the region of Yodit Gudit.
After the first church was dismantled, the brother of Atse Anbasa built the seven rooms Axum Tsion St. Marry Church. Sooner, the church was destroyed by Ahmed Gragn campaigners. Then Atse Fasil re-constructed the presently available rectangular church. In this church, women were not allowed to enter and to make it inclusive; king Hailellassie built the new circular church to the premises.
The first school opened in the Axum Tsion by the Menelik I was to teach the priests with the Old Testament to pass the system to the next generation This school continued its services in the New Testament and managed to have expertise like the wise man, St. Yared. It is for this reason that Axum was regarded for its reputation in promoting civilization, knowledge and known by most as the city of the priests having its historical heritages.
Gonder Debre Berhan St. Trinity
It is one of the ancient EOTC in the northern Ethiopia. It was built by Atse Adiyam seged in 1686. The church was circular but it has a different shape at present. The first church was destroyed by wear and tear and lighting. This church was oval in its design in its original construction was aimed to contain Tsion arch brought from Axum but did not succeed.
Hence the presently existing arch was brought from north shoa Debre Berhan city through Echege Tsega kiristos. For this reason, the arch was called Debre Berhan St. Trinity as it came from North shoa.
When the city of Gondar was destroyed by the arrogance of “Derbush” aggression, this Deber Berhan St. Trinity church was not affected. There are many heritages in the church; particularly, the special and unique Ethiopian arts of the 17th and 18th century carved known as Elf-Aelaf caparisoning the pictures of the 99 Angels Group was painted in the roof-top. The painting is so fascinating that many local and foreign tourists visit it as the artistic civilization of the then Ethiopians.
Ura Kidane Mehiret Monastery/Tana Island/
Among the ancient, most aesthetic and specially designed heritages of the Ethiopian orthodox Tewahedo church’s monasteries on the coast of the Tana Lake. There are many monasteries on Tana lake that have been existing since the rock of ages without diminishing aesthetically.
Among the monasteries the one is ura kidane Mhiret. The monasteries was found at the time of emperor Adiyam Seged by Abba Yohanes and it was believed that the monastery was built from 1674-1698 E.C /1682-1706/ there are also many ancient heritages in the Ura Kidane Mehiret.
Kibran Gebriel Monastrey /Tana Island/
Among the ancient, most aesthetic and specially designed heritages of the Ethiopian orthodox Tewahedo churches monasteries are monasteries on the coast of the Tana Lake. There are many monasteries on Tana lake that have been existing since the rock of ages without diminishing aesthetically.
Among these monasteries, the most ancient biggest in size is the kibran Gebriel monastry. Kibran Gebriel is found in western Gojjam Diocese and it requires boat from Bahir Dar on the Tana Lake to reach at this monastery. The monastery was found by Abba Yohannes and it was believed that the monastery was build from 1297-1327 E.C /1305-1335 G.C/. At present, the monastery has above 700 years of age and females are not allowed to enter in to this monastery. Only men were allowed into this monastery but near its vicinity, there is monastery found for women and it is called by the name of Abba Entones that serves the women.
There are many ancient heritages found only in the Kibran Gebriel monastery. A museum was opened in the monastery and visited by local and expatriate visitors. Many researches and tourists have written and said many things about the amazing heritages inside kibran monastery.
Source: – Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC)