The monastery that is being protected by animals in the middle of Addis Ababa

The largest of the Oriental Orthodox Churches is the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, one of the few churches in sub-Saharan Africa that was founded before European colonization of the continent, dates back to the Kingdom of Aksum’s acceptance of Christianity in 330 and has between 36 million and 49.8 million followers in Ethiopia. The World Council of Churches counts it as one of its founding members. The other Oriental Orthodox churches are in communion with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. From the first half of the fourth century until 1959, when it was given autocephaly and its own patriarch by Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church had been administratively a part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. The Geez word “tewahedo” means “united as one.” In contrast to the “two natures of Christ” belief commonly held by the Latin and Eastern Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and most other Protestant churches, this term refers to the Oriental Orthodox belief in the one perfectly unified nature of Christ, i.e., a complete union of the divine and human natures into one nature is self-evident in order to accomplish the divine salvation of mankind. This viewpoint differed in that the incarnate Christ has one nature, but that nature is composed of the two—divine and human—and retains all the traits of both even after they have been united. The second significant split in the Catholic-Orthodox Church in the Roman Empire occurred as a result of about 500 bishops within the patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem rejecting the dyophysitism (two natures) doctrine established by the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

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