From being a doctor to the street

From the start, the Ethiopia Orthodox Church was integrated with the St. Mark of Alexandria, for a long period. After Abba Selama (in which selam means peace), also known as Frumentius, who was the first bishop of Ethiopia died, Ethiopian Bishops were appointed to lead the Ethiopia Orthodox Church. This continued until the end of the ninety century. (it should be noted that through the history of the Ethiopia Orthodox Church there was always an Administrator of the Church who was an Ethiopian, and who would not try to replace his Egyptian Peer).

This was because of many reasons: (1) The fathers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church do not pursue after their own glory, but that they had rather seen the glory of others. (2) The word, “A Prophet is without honor in his own country” (John 4:44) is a very respected phrase by the Ethiopians. (3) If a native person is declared Bishop, there was a worry that he, might be enticed and become partial in his authority to those who had blood relation to him. (4) Since the dogma of the late fathers discriminated against Ethiopians from holding such positions.

In 1926, after the death of Abuna Mathewos, Emperor Haile Selassie I, then Ras Tafari, began to negotiate for the appointment of an Ethiopian native Bishop to be head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It was agreed by His Holiness Patriarch Cyril V and by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Church, and in May 1929, five Ethiopian Bishops were bishoped for the first time in the history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Unfortunately, all five Bishops were killed by the Italian forces during the five-year war (1935-1940) by Mussolini.

April 6, 1971, as the Church reached the highest peak of the Patriarchal seat when Abuna Theophilus was elected Patriarch, next to Abuna Basilos the first Ethiopian native Patriarch who became bishop in Alexandria and died in 1970.

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