The Ethiopian Orthodox Church - A Different Way of Being Christian
This talk shows how the Ethiopian church has developed a unique and distinctive tradition of faith. There’s a shared cultural relationship with Judaism, shown in the keeping of many of the laws of the Old Testament; a long history of co-existence with Islam; a style of church building and liturgy centred on the presence of the holy at the heart of the churches, often carved out of rock; a theological tradition passed on through the generation by oral methods of education; and a network of monasteries across the country.
It’s one of the first Christian nations, with its king converted in around 340, and has been described as the only pre-colonial Christian church of sub-Saharan Africa. The Christian kingdom has remained from that date until the fall of Haile Selassie. The church has adapted to the changing political and social situation of modern Ethiopia, and is today a vibrant and growing community of faith.
John Binns is author of the recently published Ethiopian Orthodox Church – a History. He is Vicar of Great St Mary’s University Church in Cambridge and is Visiting Professor at the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge. He is also chair of trustees of the charity Partners for Change Ethiopia.
The Anglo-Ethiopian Society is affiliated to the University of London’s Centre of African Studies (CAS) and all of our events at SOAS are co-hosted with CAS.
Date and Time
Room B102, Brunei Building, School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS)