Tewahedo Church of Ethiopia, an autonomous Oriental Orthodox congregation. The nation’s capital, Addis Abeba, serves as the headquarters. The first Ethiopian convert is believed to have been the eunuch in Jerusalem mentioned in The Acts of the Apostles. According to tradition, Ethiopia was first evangelized by St. Matthew and St. Bartholomew in the first century CE. St. Frumentius, who later became the first Ethiopian bishop, and Aedesius, two men (likely brothers) from Tyre, furthered the Christianization of Ethiopia in the fourth century CE. They gained the king’s trust in Aksum (a significant kingdom in northern Ethiopia) and were given permission to evangelize. Frumentius baptized the reigning king Ezana, and Christianity was declared the official religion. Nine Syrian monks are credited with introducing monasticism to Ethiopia at the end of the 5th century and promoting the Geez language’s translation of the Bible. The Ethiopian church rejected the Christological ruling made by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE that the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ were equally present in one person without commingling, following the Coptic (Egyptian) church (now known as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria). The Coptic and Ethiopian churches disagreed with this dyophysitism, or two-nature doctrine, and believed that the human and divine natures were equally present as a result of the mystery of the Incarnation within a single nature. The Roman and Greek churches understood this doctrine, known as miaphysitism or the doctrine of the single nature, to be a heresy known as monophysitism, which holds that Christ had only one nature, which was divine. The Geez word tewahedo, which means “unity” and expresses the Ethiopian church’s miaphysite belief, was incorporated into the name of the organization.
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