Ethiopian Christian Church.
In honor of Black History Month I present to you the oldest Christian Kingdom.
Many traditions claim that Christian teachings were introduced to the region immediately after Pentecost. John Chrysostom speaks of the “Ethiopians present in Jerusalem” as being able to understand the preaching of Saint Peter in Acts, 2:38. Possible missions of some of the Apostles in the lands now called Ethiopia is also reported as early as the 4th century. Socrates of Constantinople includes Ethiopia in his list as one of the regions preached by Matthew the Apostle, where a specific mention of “Ethiopia south of the Caspian Sea” can be confirmed in some traditions such as the Roman Catholic Church among others. Ethiopian Church tradition tells that Bartholomew accompanied Matthew in a mission which lasted for at least 3 months. Paintings depicting these missions are available in the Church of St. Matthew found in the Province of Pisa, in northern Italy portrayed by Francesco Trevisan (1650-1740) and Marco Benefial (1688-1764).
[According to Ethiopian legend, King Lalibela received help from angels building the church to create a New Jerusalem. Created out of rock, this structure dates back to the 11th century and measures more than 37 feet high.] -IBTimes.com
The earliest account of an Ethiopian converted to the faith in the New Testament books is a royal official baptized by Philip the Evangelist (distinct from Philip the Apostle), one of the seven deacons. (Acts, 8:26–27)
- Then the angel of the Lord said to Philip, Start out and go south to the road that leads down from Jerusalem to Gaza. So he set out and was on his way when he caught sight of an Ethiopian. This man was a eunuch, a high official of the Kandake (Candace) Queen of Ethiopia in charge of all her treasure. (Acts, 8:26–27)
The passage continues by describing how Philip helped the Ethiopian treasurer understand a passage from Isaiah that the Ethiopian was reading. After Philip interpreted the passage as prophecy referring to Jesus Christ, the Ethiopian requested that Philip baptize him, and Philip did so. The Ethiopic version of this verse reads “Hendeke” (ህንደኬ); Queen Gersamot Hendeke VII was the Queen of Ethiopia from ca. 42 to 52. Where the possibility of gospel missions by the Ethiopian eunuch cannot be directly inferred fromthe Books of the New Testament, Irenaeus of Lyons around 180 AD writes that “Simon Backos” preached the good news in his homeland outlining also the theme of his preaching as being the coming in flesh of the One God that “was preached to you all before.” The same kind of witness is shared by 3rd and 4th century writers such asEusebius of Caesarea and Origen of Alexandria.
Orthodox Christianity became the established church of the Ethiopian Axumite Kingdom under king Ezana in the 4th century when priesthood and the sacraments were brought for the first time through a Syrian Greek named Frumentius, known by the local population in Ethiopia as Abba Selama, Kesaté Birhan (“Father of Peace, Revealer of Light”). As a youth, Frumentius had been shipwrecked with his brother Aedesius on the Eritrean coast. The brothers managed to be brought to the royal court, where they rose to positions of influence and baptized Emperor Ezana. Ezana sent Frumentius to Alexandria to ask the Patriarch, St. Athanasius, to appoint a bishop for Ethiopia. Athanasius appointed Frumentius, who returned to Ethiopia as Bishop with the name of Abune Selama.
One of the few Pre- colonialism Christian established regions in the world. Black people or Ethiopians as the bible refers to them established this church immediately after the Pentecost.