The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the oldest Christian church in Africa.
Christianity became the state religion in the Axumite Empire in 330 AD.,
even before Rome. Muslim refugees were given asylum in Ethiopia, established
communities and were free to worship before Islam triumphed in its birthplace
Arabia. 3000 years of Independence Ethiopia is the oldest independent
country in Africa with 3000 years of independence.
A proud, ancient and living history
Ethiopia has the most extensive historic sites in Sub - Saharan Africa.
Experts estimate that perhaps as little as 5% of the total has so far
been discovered and excavated. The oldest hominid remains (Australopithecus
Ramidus, a new species, 4.4 million years old) were found here. In elevation,
it ranges from 120 meters below sea level in harsh salt flats of the Danakil
depression, to the 4624-meter peak of Ras Dashen in the Simien Mountains.
Ethiopia, well known to the ancient
Ethiopia was well known to the ancient writers. It is mentioned in the
Bible more than 38 times by both Old Testament and New Testament writers.
So, in accordance with the Biblical traditions of the ancient Israel,
Ethiopia is described as the land of "CUSH" which was located
by the "RIVER NILE" (Gen. 2: 13). The Septuagint (The Greek
Translation) also describes it after the name of "ETHIOPIA"
which has the same location.
Apart from the Biblical traditions, many historians knew Ethiopia and
described its geographical location, referring towards the south of Egypt,
which was populated by both Hamitic and Semitic stocks of people. According
to the ancient Egyptian tradition, it was known as the "LAND OF PUNT"
located at the end of the World, and they said "Land of Ghost."
Homer (Greek poet of the 8th century B.C.) knew of this historical land
and its people, when he said "ETHIOPIA, THE LAND OF SUN BURNED FACE."
He described inhabitants again, as "THE BLAMELESS RACE."
Herodotus (Greek historian, 485-25 B.C.) praised the nation of Ethiopia
as " THE MOST JUST MEN".
The legal Source of Ethiopia starts the introduction of Judaism to Ethiopia
is recorded in the KEBRE NEGEST (The Glory of the Kings). This book reflects
heavily its focal point upon two historical events:
A. The birth of Menilek, Son of Solomon, King of Israel and the Queen
Sheba of Ethiopia. (970-33 B.C.)
B. The Ark of the Covenant which was brought to Axum from Jerusalem by
the Levites. (946-B.C. ?)
Apart from the Kebre Negest, there are vast reliable written sources which
describe that Ethiopia had good relationship with the Nation of Israel.
According to Biblical Sources, the relationship began in the time of Moses,
which continues perpetually throughout the time of the New Testament era.
(Numbers 12:1; I Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chron. 9:1-12; Mt. 12:42; Acts 8:27-39).
These sources start that next to the nation of Israel only Ethiopia knew,
and confessed the Almighty God (The God of Abraham) and worshiped Him
regularly. For example, The psalmist said: ETHIOPIA SHALL SOON STRETCH
OUT HER HANDS UNTO GOD'S. (Ps. 67:31 68).
This witness affirms the earnest prayer of Ethiopia, which was based on
her impeccable faith in the Almighty God. Even among the people of Israel,
the Ethiopians seem to be more dear to the Almighty God than they. For
example, Amos, the Prophet, bears witness of this truth, when he says:
"ARE YOU NOT LIKE THE ETHIOPIANS TO ME, O PEOPLE OF ISRAEL?"