The Church and the Patriarchate

The Patriarchate of the Ethiopian
Tewahedo Orthodox Church


H.H. PATRIARCH ABUNE PAULUS was, until his death 2012, the spiritual leader of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Church and head of the Patriarchate in Addis Ababa. His successor is Abune Mathias, who was appointed Patriarch in 2013.

As one of the five so-called Oriental Churches and founded in the 4th century this is one of the most ancient Churches in Christendom. With its estimated between 35 and 40 million participants and a very extensive monasticism this is, just after the Russian Church, the biggest in the world. The ancient Ethiopian pictorial art and architecture – which to a great extent today sees itself threatened by an alarming decay – is a result of the creativeness during centuries of this most original and charming communion, inspired by the Coptic and Syrian Christian culture, as well as the Semitic tradition. The Patriarchate as well as the Christian leaders of the regional and local sub-divisions in the Ethiopian Highlands – which is the part of the country from Addis Ababa up to the Eritrean border SCECH focuses on – have since the start of our activity been very positive to our wish to assist in the rescuing of the Ethiopian Cultural Heritage. This part of the physical historical legacy of Ethiopia belongs to the Ethiopian Nation as a whole but in particular to this Church. This extensive legacy consists of ca. 20.000 churches and 600 monasteries from early medieval time up to recent time and includes, besides the buildings as such, ancient pictorial art: murals; illuminated manuscript made of goat-skin-parchment (esteemed to number dozens of thousands); fixtures; and various unique objects. Several rewarding appointments have occurred at the Patriarchate in Addis Ababa. The Church appreciates our aims and has given us full support for the planned activities. A number of permissions, issued by the Patriarchate during the years of preparatory work, has given SCECH access to many of the ancient churches belonging to the Christian Heritage of Ethiopia and allowed our project teams to make inventories of damages. These permissions have in turn been confirmed by other from the regional departments on the countryside and opened the doors on location. The Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church and Ortodox Church



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