ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX TEWAHIDO CHURCH: - is a non Calcedonian orthodox church with its own tradition (History), Cannon and Dogma, The church are described below,

1.     ETHIOPIA(The Name of the country)

The ancient Greeks used to refer to Ethiopia as ”the country of the burnt face men” meaning, brown (black) colored people. Thus the etymological root of the word “Ethiopia” came from the Greek language Aithiops; Aithiopia –burnt face people.  Therefore, the area they inhabit was named “Ethiopia” in relation to their color.


The Septuagint, in their Greek translation of the Old Testament (285-246BC) translated the Hebrew word “Cush” to the Greek word “Ethiopia”. Thus the words “Ethiopia” and “Ethiopians” were used in the Septuagint in place of the words “Cush” and “Cushites”. In Hebrew, the word “Cush” has three fold meanings; first it was used as a proper noun, since Cush was one of the sons of Ham (Gen.10:6=8): secondly it was used as a name of a tribe- Cush and Cushitic people, given to the sons of Cush(In this sense it has also been gradually applied to the black race as a whole); Thirdly it was used as a name of a region, from the south of Egypt to India, where people of sun burnt face live.


Thus, “Ethiopia” is the direct translation of the Hebrew “Cush” which was mainly used to indicate the region where the black people settled (Gen.2:-13,2dings 19:9, Jer13:23, Isaiah 43:3, Ester 1:1, 8:9) etc.

According to some other Ethiopian traditions, the name   “Ethiopia” was used after one of its ancient Kings-Aethiops, and again, according to some Axumites, Cush begot ethopis (Aethiopis), the father of Axumites, whose offspring became the founder of the holy city, giving their name to the various districts.


The first mention of the Ethiopians in ancient Greek literature was in the epics of Homer, a Greek poet, who lived 800BC: Homer described the people as ‘Just’ and ‘courageous’ and at the same time ‘Gentle’ and ‘Hospitable’ people. In addition to the name Ethiopia, the other names used in history to the regions of the present day Ethiopia are “Habesh” (Mixed race ;) and “Abyssinia”. The first name came from the tribe called Habashat of the Semitic race who migrated to Ethiopia from Arabia around 1000B.C,  and the Europeans have called it Abyssinia. Some say that “Abyssinia” was used as a name of the region before “Ethiopia” replaced it.


The primitive inhabitants of the Abyssinian highlands would seem to have been peoples of Hamatic stock. And later Arab (Semitic) tribes from Yemen crossed the red sea at about 1000B.C and landing on the African coast gradually occupied the northern part of the highlands. These semetized Hamatic people were gradually consolidated into a Kingdom - the Kingdom of Axum, which covered roughly the province of Tigrai and Eritrea. But during the succeeding centuries the Kingdom enlarged.


2.     Orthodox

Orthodox means right belief in contrast with Heresy. The church was named as Orthodox Church since the council of Nicaea, in order to be isolated from the followers of Arius and Arianism, to indicate that it is still holding the right belief and the truth.

3.     Tewahedo


 Tewahedo describes God as Jesus Christ, as he united himself with manhood and made it one with his Godhead without mixture or confusion, without division or alternation, Therefore, his God head (i.e. Melekot) was not separated from his manhood, not for an hour nor for the twinkling of an eye. The word ‘Tewahedo’ may be replaced by the English word Incarnation, but, Incarnation cannot totally substitute Tewahedo.


The two natures of Godhead and manhood, which came into union in him, continue in the one Christ, each in its absolute integrity and perfection with its respective properties without change or division, each of them continue in their own dynamic reality not in a quiescent state. So  Christ is God and man at the same time. Only the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church use the term Tewahedo. The five sister Churches, in which the EOTC is a member, use the terms “Oriental Eastern orthodox, non-Calcedonian churches or Anti Calcedonian churches and Jacobites”.



                                                                                                    By Hilena Belete of Hohitebirhan


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