The Orthodox Church in Ethiopia was administratively part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria from the first half of the fourth century until 1959, when Saint Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria granted it autocephaly with its patriarch, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Ethiopia is just the second nation in history to declare Christianity as its official religion, after Armenia (in AD 333).
The Ge’ez word tewahedo means “united as one.” This term refers to the Oriental Orthodox belief in Christ’s one perfectly united existence; that is, a complete unification of the divine and human natures into one nature is self-evident to achieve the divine redemption of humanity, as opposed to the “two natures of Christ” belief held by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, as well as Anglican, Lutheran, and most Protestant churches.
Ethiopia’s Oriental Orthodox Church (Orthodox Church in Ethiopia) is autocephalous, which means appointing its own head, not subject to the authority of an external patriarch or archbishop. And the headquarter resides in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa. The Ethiopia Orthodox Tewahdo church is the largest branch of Oriental Orthodox Christian churches in Ethiopia. The Orthodox Church in Ethiopia, one of the few pre-colonial Christian churches in Sub-Saharan Africa, dates back thousands of years and has a current membership of around 36 million people, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia.
It is a member of the World Council of Churches since its inception. After gaining autocephaly in 1959, the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia joined forces with 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.