ETHIOPIA RELIGIONS

According to the sensus report released in 2009 ( the latest available information form Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Population Affairs Coordination Core Process) the religious composition in Ethiopia is as follows

Religion

Percentage

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians
43.5
Muslims
33.9
Protestants
18.6
Traditional beliefs
2.6
Catholic Christians
0.7
Other beliefs
0.6

 

With Orthodox Christianity and Islam being the long standing religions in Ethiopia new developments have been observed since the 1990s.The communist governement in Ethiopia was abolished and freedom of religion has been announced by the new EPRDF governement.

We can learn from Ethiopian medieval history that the country has always been resistant to external influnces, notably when European crusaders were expelled with the joint efforts of Orthodox Christians and mulsims in the south east.

The new door opened in the 20th century allowed the introduction of different forms of protestant beliefs in the country. Large factions of the public opposed and some times got agressive to these new versions of Christianity. However these beliefs had already developed their root in the southern part of the country. Established mainly via funds received from external sources, protestant beliefs started to expand at an incredible speed. Free flyers and bibles and preaching in different locations played a major role in their propagation.

The size of followers makes protestant movements in Ethiopia hard to ignore. Yet It is at the same time too early and difficult to shed more highlight on the ever growing protestant churches. Depite being collectively categorized as protestants they differ in their nature, base ( local and foreign based) and origine ( separated from existing orthodox movement or newly introduced one)

 

THE ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

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A section of the bible narrates about an Ethiopian who have been baptized soon after Jesus' resurrection. There are also churches and monasteries including Yemerhane Kiristos and Abune Yemata known to have been built as early as 4th century. While these can be considered as facts that Christianity was adopted in Ethiopia earlier than many nations in the world, the Ethiopian tie to christianity goes far beyond this.

Evidence can be found in a town not far from the city of Axum, known as Yeha.The town of Yeha is home to one of the oldest historical attraction in the form of a pre christian temple. Archeologists have proved that the standing walls of the temple and the artifacts found in it date to more than 500 b.c. Based on this concrete scientific evidence, it should be noted that Ethiopia's tie to Christianity dates back to the old testament days.

Click on Ethiopian Orthodox Church for more information.

ISLAM

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Despite the fact that Orthodox Christinaity has been the Ethiopian state religion for centuries, the tie between Ethiopia and Islam dates back to the days of the prophet Mohammed and the Axumite dynasty. Disciples of the prophet flef to Ethiopia seeking refuge from the Quarysh tribe in their home town of Mecca. The Axumite king of the time, Negashi, was approached by the Quaryshes, to hand them back over for persecution. Negashi declined. Had Negashi complied to their request, all of the disciples of the prophet Mohammed would have been persecuted, which implies that Islam as we know it today wouldn't have existed.

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But the historical tie between Islam and Ethiopia does not start and end here. Despite the fact that most of the ancient and medieval kings in Ethiopia are known for either their devotion and nominal christianity, there have been a succession of powerful kings and a queen which have ruled all or part of Ethiopia. Mohammed Gragn is one of those. Islam found its way via the arab peninsula when Abadir Umar Ar-Rida settled in the historic city of Harar in the 7th century. Suffice it to mention the Sultan of harrar without whose alliance with king Fassiladas of Gondar in the 16th century was indispensable to repel the invasion of the portugeese crusaders.

In terms of historical attraction Islam has a significant place. Among the World Heritage sites registered by UNESCO as wold heritage sites is the city of Harar.

 

 

 

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