Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church

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Eritrean Orthodox Cross

The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church ( Tigrin ተዋህዶ ቤተ ክርስትያን ኤርትራ Tewahədo Bet'ə K'rstian Ertra , Italian Chiesa ortodossa Eritrea ) is an ancient Christian church in Eritrea . The church, which - building on historical relationships with the Coptic Church - split off from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as a result of Eritrea's independence in 1993 , has two million members in Eritrea.

As early as the late 1920s, the Italian colonial power founded an Eritrean Orthodox church in Colonia Eritrea , split off from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The aim was to reduce the influence of Ethiopia in Eritrea. After the occupation of Ethiopia by Italy in 1936, both churches were reunited.

In 1998 the Coptic Pope Schenuda III appointed. Bishop Philippos became the first patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church and at the same time dismissed it in autocephaly , with reluctant recognition by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

After the death of Philippos († September 18, 2002), Abuna Yaqob († December 1, 2003 ) was first Abuna Yaqob († December 1, 2003) and then in 2004 Abuna Antoniyos became patriarch (since January 2006 under house arrest for violation of good morals established by church bodies, allegedly for beating a nun ). International Christian relief organizations recognize the influence of the Eritrean government in the deposition of the patriarch because of his statements against the persecution of Christians in Eritrea.

After his dismissal, which was controversial under canon law, Bishop Dioskoros was appointed head of the church by the Eritrean government in 2006 , but was not generally recognized until his death in December 2015, as a patriarch can only be appointed after the previous one has passed away. Abuna Antoniyos, aged 79, was arrested on May 27, 2007, Amnesty International announced in an urgent action in June 2007.

The church language is Old Ethiopian , but it is no longer used in everyday life.

The cathedral of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church is located in Asmara and is called Nda Mariam .

The church is a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)


  • Rainer Voigt: The Erythrean Orthodox Church. In: Oriens Christianus. Vol. 83, 1999, ISSN  0340-6407 , pp. 187-192.
  • Hatem Elliesie: The second volume of the Encyclopaedia Aethiopica in comparison. In: Orientalist literary newspaper. Vol. 102, No. 4/5, 2007, ISSN  0030-5383 , pp. 397-407.
  • Karl Pinggéra : The Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Church. In: Christian Lange , Karl Pinggéra (ed.): The old oriental churches. Belief and history. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2010, ISBN 978-3-534-22052-6 , pp. 41-50.

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