Ethiopian Catholic Church
|Archbishop||Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel|
|Founder||Saint Mark the Evangelist, by tradition|
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|East Syriac Rite|
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|West Syriac Rite|
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The Ethiopian Catholic Church (Amharic : የኢትዮጵያ ካቶሊክ ቤተ ክርስቲያን; Latin : Ecclesia Catholica Aethiopica) is a metropolitan sui iuris Eastern particular church within the Catholic Church, established in 1930 in Ethiopia.
Like the other Eastern Catholic Churches, the Ethiopian Catholic Church is in full communion with the Holy See. It holds the Christological doctrine of the Council of Chalcedon and accepts the universal jurisdiction of the pope. These points distinguish it from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, an Oriental Orthodox Church which comprises most Christians in the country.
The Ethiopian Catholic Church follows the Alexandrian liturgical rite used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Coptic Church. As its liturgical language it employs Ge'ez, a Semitic language that fell out of daily use several centuries ago.
The term "Ethiopic Catholic Church", which was synonymous with "Ethiopian Catholic Church" until January 2015, when the Eritrean Catholic Church was established, can be applied to either church or to both jointly, since their liturgy is celebrated in the Ethiopic or Ge'ez language.
The Portuguese voyages of discovery opened the way for direct contacts between the Catholic Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. In the 14th century, Catholic missionaries arrived in Ethiopia. On 28 August 1439, Pope Eugene IV sent a message of unity with the Catholic Church to Ethiopian Emperor Constantine I, but this effort was unsuccessful.
With Islamic attacks up to 1531 threatening Christian Ethiopia, an appeal from the Emperor to the Portuguese brought support to defeat the Adal Sultanate in the Ethiopian–Adal War. Jesuit missionaries came with the Portuguese to Ethiopia. These missionaries focused their conversion activities on the country's governing class, including the Emperor, to have the Ethiopian Orthodox Church unite with the Catholic Church. The Emperor Susenyos was converted primarily by Father Pedro Páez. In 1622, Susenyos made Catholicism the state religion. The next year, Pope Gregory XV named Afonso Mendes, a Portuguese Jesuit, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Church. A formal union in 1626 was declared when Patriarch Mendes came to the country. With Mendes trying to Latinize the Ethiopian church, Susenyos used force to impose the Latinization. Public backlash resulted. In 1632, Susenyos died. His successor Fasilides in 1636 removed Mendes from the country, ended the union with Rome and removed or killed the remaining missionaries. For the next 200 years, Ethiopia was closed to Catholic Missions.
In 1839, Italian Lazarist and Capuchins missionaries arrived, albeit within certain limitations imposed on them due to strong public opposition. That same year, Justin de Jacobis was appointed first Prefect Apostolic of Abyssinia and entrusted with the foundation of Catholic missions in that country. After laboring with great success in Abyssinia for eight years, he was appointed titular Bishop of Nilopolis in 1847, and shortly afterwards Vicar Apostolic of Abyssinia, but he refused the episcopal dignity until it was finally forced upon him in 1849.
In 1919, the Pontifical Ethiopian College was founded within the Vatican walls by Pope Benedict XV with St. Stephen's Church, behind St. Peter's Basilica, as the designated church for the College.
The Latin Church had become established in the south of Ethiopia in areas that had not been Christian and that were incorporated into the modern country only at the end of the 19th century. The Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1936 gave rise to an increase in the number of Latin-Church jurisdictions, but the expulsion of foreign missionaries at the end of the Second World War meant that the Ethiopic Rite clergy had to take responsibility for areas thus denuded of Catholic clergy. Accordingly, in 1951, the Ethiopic Rite Apostolic Exarchate of Addis Ababa was established, and the ordinariate for Eritrea was elevated to the rank of exarchate. Ten years later, on 20 February 1961, an Ethiopic ecclesiastical province was established, with Addis Ababa as the Metropolitan Seeand Asmara (in Eritrea) and Adigrat (in Ethiopia) as suffragan eparchies.
In 1995, two new eparchies, Barentu and Keren, were established in Eritrea,and the Latin-Church apostolic vicariate was abolished. Eritrea thus became the only country where all Catholics, whatever Church of their canonical ascription, belong to an Eastern Catholic jurisdiction. In 2003, one more eparchy was created in Endibir in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region of Ethiopia.
In January 2015 Pope Francis established the Eritrean Catholic Church as a sui iuris Eastern Catholic Church, thus granting it autonomy from the Ethiopian Catholic Church.
There are also Latin Church jurisdictions in the south of Ethiopia, none of them raised to the rank of diocese. Eight are apostolic vicariates and one is an apostolic prefecture.
There are four eparchies (bishoprics) in the country:
Doctrinal distinctions between the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Catholic Ethiopian Churches include recognition of the fifth-century Council of Chalcedon. The order of the diaconate is reserved for adult men in the Catholic Church, but boys are commonly ordained as deacons in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Ethiopian Catholic clergy also tend to dress in the Roman cassock and collar, distinct from the Ethiopian Orthodox custom.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the largest of the Oriental Orthodox Churches. One of the few Christian churches in sub-Saharan Africa originating before European colonization of the continent, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church dates back to the acceptance of Christianity by the Kingdom of Aksum in 330, and has between 36 million and 49.8 million adherents in Ethiopia. It is a founding member of the World Council of Churches. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is in communion with the other Oriental Orthodox churches.
The Coptic Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic particular church in full communion with the Catholic Church. Along with the Ethiopian Catholic Church and Eritrean Catholic Church, it belongs to the Alexandrian liturgical tradition. Uniquely among the Alexandrian rite Eastern Catholic Churches, the Coptic Catholic Church uses the Coptic Rite and the Coptic language in its liturgy. The Ethiopian Catholic Church and Eritrean Catholic Church use the Ge'ez Rite.
Adigrat is a city and separate woreda in Tigray Region of Ethiopia. It is located in the Misraqawi Zone at longitude and latitude, with an elevation of 2,457 metres (8,061 ft) above sea level and below a high ridge to the west. Adigrat is a strategically important gateway to Eritrea and the Red Sea. Adigrat was part of Ganta Afeshum woreda before a separate woreda was created for the city. Currently, Adigrat serves as the capital of the Eastern Tigray zone.
The Catholic Church in Ethiopia is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the pope in Rome.
The Eritrean Catholic Church is a metropolitan sui iuris Eastern particular church headquartered in Asmara, Eritrea. It was established in 2015 by separation of its territory from that of the Ethiopian Catholic Church and the setting up in that territory of a new sui iuris metropolitan Eastern Catholic Church. It follows the Ge'ez form of the Alexandrian liturgical rite. Its strictly-speaking official name is "The Asmara metropolitan sui iuris Church".
Eritrea as a country and the Eritrean community are multi-religious; Eritrea has two dominant religions: Christianity and Islam, with most estimates placing the Christian share of the population at approximately 60%. Eritrean Christians are primarily followers of Oriental Orthodoxy, with a much smaller segment following Roman Catholicism-Eritrean Catholicism, and less than one percent of the population following P'ent'ay Evangelicalism.
The Ethiopian Catholic Archeparchy of Addis Abeba, officially the Metropolitan sui iuris Archeparchy of Addis Abeba is the metropolitan see of the Ethiopian Catholic Church, a sui iuris metropolitan Eastern Catholic Church.
The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian churches adhering to Miaphysite Christology, with a total of approximately 60 million members worldwide. The Oriental Orthodox Churches are broadly part of the trinitarian Nicene Christian tradition shared by today’s mainstream churches, and represent one of its oldest branches.
The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church is one of the Oriental Orthodox Churches with its headquarters in Asmara, Eritrea. Its autocephaly was recognised by Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church, after Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1993.
The Ethiopian Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat is a Catholic eparchy located in the city of Adigrat, Ethiopia. It is in the ecclesiastical province of Addis Ababa.
The Eritrean Catholic Archeparchy of Asmara, officially the Archeparchy of Asmara, more informally Asmara of the Eritreans, is the metropolitan see of the Metropolitan Eritrean Catholic Church, a sui iuris Eastern Catholic Church whose territory corresponds to that of the State of Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. It depends on the Roman Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
The Eritrean Catholic Eparchy of Barentu is a Catholic eparchy located in the town of Barentu in Eritrea. It is a part of the ecclesiastical province of Asmara.
The Eritrean Catholic Eparchy of Keren is a Roman Catholic eparchy centred in the city of Keren in Eritrea. It is a suffragan of the Archeparchy of Asmara, and a constituent eparchy of the Eritrean Catholic Church.
The Eritrean Catholic Eparchy of Segheneyti is a Catholic eparchy located in the town of Segheneyti in Eritrea. It is a part of the ecclesiastical province of Asmara. The eparchy follows the Alexandrian Rite, and has a cathedral of Saint Michael the Archangel.
The Ethiopian Catholic Eparchy of Bahir Dar–Dessie is one of the three suffragan eparchies in the ecclesiastical province of the Metropolitan Ethiopian Catholic Archeparchy of Addis Abeba, which comprises the entire Ethiopian Catholic Church sui iuris, which practices the Alexandrian Rite in the liturgical Ge'ez language.
Yet it depends on the missionary Roman Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Asmara was a Roman Catholic missionary jurisdiction in Eritrea. Centered in Asmara it was at first the Apostolic Prefecture of Eritrea and then the Apostolic Vicariate of Eritrea.
Bita was an ancient city and former Roman Catholic diocese in the Roman province of Africa Proconsularis. It is now a Latin Catholic titular see.
The Apostolic Prefecture of Dessié was a Roman Catholic Church pre-diocesan missionary jurisdiction, with its seat in the north-central town of Dessie, Ethiopia. It existed from 1937 to 1951.
The Apostolic Prefecture of Gondar was a pre-diocesan Christian missionary jurisdiction with its ecclesiastical seat in Gondar, Ethiopia. It existed from 1937 to 1951. The prefecture was a Roman Catholic diocese.