People who survived the amazing miracle

The Coptic and Ethiopian churches, in contrast to this dyophysitism, or two-species doctrine, claimed that the human and divine natures were equally present through the mystery of the Incarnation within a single nature.

The Roman and Greek churches interpreted this position, known as miaphysitism or single-nature doctrine, as a heresy known as monophysitism, or the idea that Christ had only one divine nature. The Ethiopian church adopted the term tewahedo, which is a Geez word that means “unity” and reflects the church’s miaphysite values.

It was cut off from dialogue with the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, including other so-called non-Chalcedonian (also known as Oriental Orthodox) churches, until the mid-twentieth century, when many of the Christological conflicts that resulted from Chalcedon were resolved through ecumenical dialogue.
The conquests of the Muslim Arabs in the 7th century cut off the Ethiopian church from much of its Christian neighbors. In the decades that followed, the church absorbed different syncretic doctrines, but communication with the outside Christian world was preserved via the Ethiopian monastery in Jerusalem.

The patriarch of Alexandria appointed the Ethiopian archbishop, known as the abuna (Arabic: “our father”), who was always an Egyptian Coptic monk, beginning in the 12th century; this created a rivalry with the powerful Ethiopian monastic community’s native itshage (abbot general).

Attempts to abolish Egyptian Coptic rule were made from time to time, but it wasn’t until 1929 that an agreement was reached: an Egyptian monk was re-appointed abuna, but four Ethiopian bishops were consecrated as his auxiliaries.

In 1950, a native Ethiopian abuna, Basil, was appointed, and in 1959, an autonomous Ethiopian patriarchate was created, despite the church’s continued recognition of the Coptic patriarch’s honorary primacy. When Eritrea declared independence from Ethiopia in 1993, it petitioned Pope Shenouda III, the Coptic church’s patriarch, for autocephaly. This was granted in 1994, and the Ethiopian church agreed to the new Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s independence in 1998.

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