The Ethiopian Orthodox Church abroad is a blessing to its faithful believers and is the fulfillment of the promise of the Almighty Father to gather together His people under their own vine and fig tree. One can be deeply inspired by the great act taking place among the scattered sons and daughters of Africa.
Tewahedo - Caribbean
In 1952 the Ethiopian Orthodox church was established in Trinidad and Tobago by Rev.Abba Gabre Eyesus Meshesha and Ato Abera Jembere. Since the late 1940's and early 1950's there had existed an vibrant local organization called the African Nationalist Movement. It was led by it's president David Modeste and his assistant Garnet Springer, both of whom were later ordained deacons in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Trinidad & Tobago
These brothers along with other pioneers, taught the Yoruba language and lectured to the people about Africa.
They later were in contact with the Garveyites of Jamaica, also they contacted and invited Arthur Mar Lukas, a Ghanaian of Nigerian citizenship.
He came to them and became their bishop. He then began to preach and baptize in Trinidad,Tobago and Guyana in the name of the Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox Church.
In 1951 the leaders of the movement wrote to Fr. Gabre Eyesus Hailu, an Ethiopian citizen but a Catholic priest. On invitation he visited Trinidad and Tobago and assisted them in their organization.
When the people found out that Bishop Arthur was not really connected with the Ethiopian Orthodox church in Ethiopia, they sent him along with Garnet Springer to Ethiopia. They left carrying a memorandum from the people of Trinidad and Tobago to the Ethiopian Orthodox church Patriarchcate in Ethiopia requesting the church to establish branches in Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the Western Hemisphere.
(The Ethiopian Tewahedo Church, Abba Yesehaq, p.198).
On December 16,1952, these two messengers returned to Trinidad and Tobago accompanied by His Grace Abuna Athanasius (Rev.Abba Gabre Eyesus Meshesha) and Ato Abera Jembere, former secretary of the Ethiopian government minister's council. They came prepared with all things vital to the running of an Ethiopian Orthodox church.
In 1959 His Holiness Abuna Theophilos, then assistant patriarch of Ethiopia visited the West. He ordained two priests Kes Gabre Eyesus Turner and Kes Henry Blake of Tobago, along with six deacons and six assistant deacons. He also consecrated churches in various places and encouraged the formation of church bodies like the women's organization.
Today there are thousands of members and numerous churches in Trinidad and Tobago, for example, Medhane Alem, Arouca; Holy Trinity, Port of Spain; Saint Philip, Sangre Grande; Saint Michael,Mayaro; Saint Mark, Claxton Bay; Saint Peter, San Fernando; Saint Matthew, Siparia; Saint George, Point Fortin, Holy Trinity, Scarborough, Tobago; and Saint Michael, Belle Garden, Tobago.
From the beginning the father of the nation of Trinidad and Tobago the Rt. Hon. Dr.Eric Eustace Williams, welcomed the establishment of the church in this beautiful land. The governments of Trinidad and Tobago gave three acres of land for the construction of a cathedral in Port of Spain. In 1982 a new church Medhane Alem (Savior of the World), was dedicated and consecrated by His Eminence Abuna Yesehaq at Arouca, Trinidad. There were thousands of people in attendance, including the president of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Dr. Ellis Clarke, The Honourable Dr. Cuthbert Joseph, who laid the cornerstone on behalf of the prime-minister of the republic, the Honourable Mr. George Michael Chambers and the Honourable Mr. John S. Donaldson, then minister of national security and honourary consultant to the Fifth Western Hemisphere Conference of the Ethiopian Orthodox church. The dedication of Medhane Alem Church coincided with the official opening of this conference. (The Ethiopian Tewahedo Church, Abba Yesehaq, p.193)
EOTC in Guyana
The work of Arthur Mar Lukas and Garnet Springerin 1951 gained hundreds of followers, which resulted in the setting up of churches in Guyana as was done in Trinidad and Tobago. Soon there was a need for official establishment of these churches by the mother church in Ethiopia.
The two Ethiopian church officials Fr. G. E. Meshesha and Ato Abera Jembere went to Guyana, and the church was officially established. The first church consecrated was St. Mary's where Baptism and Holy Communion were administered. Later the rites and rituals of the Ethiopian church were introduced, accepted, and gradually practiced. There are nine churches in Guyana, with thousands of baptized members. Many native-born priests and several deacons have been ordained. The headquarters is Holy Trinity Church, in Georgetown.
Other churches have been established in Agricola Grove, One Mile Wizmar, Vriden-Hoop, New Amsterdam, Stanley Town-(two churches);
Conntien and Essequibo. Later, Abuna Samuel, then Abba Gebre Egziabher Degou, joined Father Meshesha, and together they established more churches.
Abba Degou was succeeded by Abba Gebre Hiwot, who went to Guyana in January 1960, accompanied by Deacon Alem Sagad. Abba Gebre Hiwot died there and was succeeded by Abba Haddis Geday and later Fr. Mengistu Abebe. (The Ethiopian Tewahedo Church, Abba Yesehaq, p.200)
The Ethiopian Tewahedo* Church is an indigenous and integral church of Africa.It is one of the oldest churches in the world, if not the oldest, and is one of the founders of the World Council of Churches. Also, it has branches in other parts of the world such as Jerusalem, Sudan, the United States Of America, The Virgin Islands of the United States, Canada, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Bermuda, England, Saint Kitts, Djibouti, Kenya, and West Germany. Approximately 75% of the Ethiopian population belongs to the church. The remaining Portion can be divided among other Christian denominations and Muslims and the Falasha. The church though independent, has maintained her special link with the Egyptian Coptic Church at Alexandria. It adheres strictly to the doctrine that confesses the One Nature of Our Lord Eyesus Kristos and thus refused to conform to the teachings of Pope Leo’s Tome at the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451. Since the controversy at the council, the church has retained its faith, it’s ancient traditions and customs and its way of life. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church holds it’s own synods and Elects it’s own Patriarch.
The Messenger said
The black man, whose dreams are always of freedom, does not understand the IMPOSSIBILITY of gaining freedom and peace through machine guns.
He cannot see the POSSIBILITY of gaining peace from the individual himself, through love and understanding.
Machine guns are a disease and are effective instruments in dividing a nation against itself or creating war with it's neighbours. When an argument starts between two nations no effort is made to stop the argument; weapons are provided instead. When two nations fight, all east and west fight, only to leave the earth with widows and orphans. Whose responsibility is this? The producers, consumers, goverments, the church or others? As we are in some sense partakers of Adam's sins, all those who are participants in this satanic actvity are under a sense of guilt. It means the producers, the consumers of this harvest of evil, the participants and any organization that fails to oppose this satanic act cannot escape the responsibility. "....There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understandeth. There is none that seeketh after God. All are gone out of the way--"(Romans 3: 10-2) "...What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God Forbid".
From the beginning the Ethiopian church was affiliated with the See of Saint Mark of Alexandria. After Abba Selama first bishop of Ethiopia, died, Egyptian bishops from Alexandria were appointed to head the Ethiopian church. This continued until the time of Emperor Haile Selassie I.
Even though there were always Ethiopians who from Adam retained the knowledge of the One True God; in the first millennium B.C during the time of the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, the whole country officially accepted the belief in One True God. The Church to the people means their lives. Most people devote much time to worship and prayers. In some Monasteries there are holy men who do not talk at all throughout their lives. Ethiopian Christians are known to be deeply religious fasting often and worshipping.
Do not remove the kinks from your hair--remove them from your brain. [Marcus Garvey]
Most of the time we hear criticisms from several goverments and individuals on the involvement of the Church in community affairs. In fact; the Church is the link between God and Man and as such it is the duty of the church to identify itself with the poor and oppressed.
If the Church, which is to be an instrument of the word of God and the mouth of the oppressed, is to keep silent and be afraid to witness the truth, it means that she has forgotten that Christ was a revolutionary and compassionate, and that he established the Church as a revolutionary God, contradicting himself with the old system, which was contrary to the freedom and welfare of all men.
The Ethiopian Tewahedo* Church is an indigenous and integral church of Africa.It is one of the oldest churches in the world, if not the oldest, and is one of the founders of the World Council of Churches.
"...His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I is the defender of the faith. He attends Church services regularly and strictly observes the frequent Fast days and Holy days. He never misses Sunday morning services. He brought a strong Unity among the Eastern Orthodox Churches with their central office being organized in Addis Ababa Ethiopia and the central committee of the world council of churches had it’s meeting in January 1971 in Addis Ababa through His Majesty."