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Religion of Friday, 28 March 2014

Source: Public Agenda

Ethiopia Orthodox Church takes roots in Ghana

The Ethiopia Orthodox Tewahedo Church will take firm roots in Ghana with the establishment of a branch of the church in Ghana after the acceptance of a fact-finding report that recommends that it is apt to have the church in the country.

When approval is given, a priest and a monk will be sent to the country to take charge of the liturgy and spiritual needs of the community of a deacon, baptised and non-baptised members of the church.

In an interview with Public Agenda, KesTesfa Michael, a priest of the Ethiopia Tewahedo Orthodox Church who came to the country to undertake the fact-finding, said, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the report that he would submit to the Archbishop of the Continent of Africa, AbunaYacob, would lead to the setting up of the Ghana branch of the church. Kes Michael was sent to the country by Archbishop of the Diocese of England, Abuna Enthons.

“The prospects look good for the formal establishment of the church in Ghana. There are many people who really need the church here,” Kes Michael said, before departing to London on March 19, 2014 after a two-week stay in the country.

He said copies of his report would be given to the Secretary of the Arch-diocese of the Continent of Africa and it would be discussed at a meeting of the Holy Senate of the church before a final decision would be taken whether to set up or not to establish a branch of the church.

He said when it is approved that a branch be set up, the next step is for the Christian Council of Ghana and AmdeTsion, an elder of the church whose untiring efforts resulted in the fact-finding mission, to be contacted to prepare the grounds for the founding of a branch.

By then, a Mahiba, a group of members and potential members of the church which study the Bible and take care of their social needs, and an appropriate building for liturgical services would have been put in place for a priest and a monk to come and live in the country.

During his visit, Kes Michael conferred with Rev. DrKwabenaOpuniFrimpong, the Secretary-General of the Christian Council and other clergy; met with members of the Ethiopia World Federation and Rastafarians; and held services with members of the church. He also featured on several Accra-based radio stations to explain the theology, philosophy and doctrine of the church.

One of the few pre-colonial Christian churches in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has a membership of between 40 and 45 million people, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia. Thus, it is the largest of all the Oriental Orthodox churches. The church is a founding member of the World Council of Churches. Tewahedo is a Ge'ez word which means'being made one' or 'unified.' The word refers to the Oriental Orthodox belief in the single unified Nature of Christos (Christ). That is the belief that a complete, natural union of the Divine and Human Natures of Christ into one is self-evident in order to accomplish the divine salvation of humankind. This tenet is opposed to the 'two Natures of Christ' belief (unmixed, but inseparable Divine and Human Natures, called the Hypostatic Union) which is held by the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches.

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