The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the largest Oriental Orthodox church in the world. – Wikimedia Commons The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, one of the few Christian denominations in Sub-Saharan Africa that predates European colonization, has a membership of more than 36 million people, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia. Since its inception, it has been a member of the World Council of Churches. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is affiliated with other Oriental Orthodox churches (the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church). The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was not officially recognized as a separate entity from the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria until 1959, when Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria of Alexandria appointed its own patriarch. In Japanese, “tewahedo” means “oneness.” This term refers to the Oriental Orthodox belief in Christ’s one perfect unity, as opposed to the “two natures of Christ” belief held by the Latin and Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, as well as the Anglican, Lutheran, and most other Protestant denominations. Cyril of Alexandria, a key figure in the Christological debates of the fourth and fifth centuries, advocated for the Oriental Orthodox Churches to have “one (mia) nature of God incarnate” and a hypostatic union. The incarnate Christ has only one nature, but that nature is composed of both the divine and human natures and retains all of its characteristics after the union, which differs from the other perspectives discussed earlier in this article. As a Miaphysitist, I believe Jesus Christ possesses both divine and human natures entwined in a single nature with no separation, change, or mixing. Around 500 patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem rejected Chalcedonian dyophysitism (two natures) theology, causing the Roman Empire’s state church to split for the second time.
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