About Orthodox Faith
and Eritrean Orthodox Church
Tewahdo (Te-wa-hido) is a Geez word meaning "being made one" and means "Miaphysite",
or more literally "unification". This refers to the Oriental Orthodox belief in the one single unique Nature of
Christ (i.e., a belief that a complete, natural union of the Divine and Human Natures into One is self-evident in order to
accomplish the divine salvation of humankind).
Oriental Orthodox Churches, which today include the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church,
the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Malankara Orthodox Church of India, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Eritrean
Orthodox Tewahedo Church, are referred to as "Non-Chalcedonian", and, sometimes by outsiders as "monophysite"
(meaning "One Nature", in reference to Christ; a translation of the name Tewahido). However, these Churches themselves
describe their Christology as miaphysite.
The Eritrean Orthodox
Church claims its origins from Philip the Evangelist (Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 8). It became the established church of
the Axumite Kingdom under king Ezana in the 4th century through the efforts of a Syrian Greek named Frumentius, known in the
church as Abba Selama, Kesaté Birhan ("Father of Peace, Revealer of Light"). As a boy, 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 converted Emperor Ezana to Christianity, causing him to be baptised. Ezana sent Frumentius
to Alexandria to ask the Patriarch, St. Athanasius, to appoint a bishop for Axum. Athanasius appointed Frumentius himself,
who returned to Axum as Bishop with the name of Abune Selama. For fifteen centuries afterward, the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox
Church of Alexandria always named a Copt (an Egyptian) to be Abuna or Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ethiopian Church.
The first Patriarch of Eritrea was Abune Phillipos who died in 2004
and was succeeded by Abune Yacob. The reign of Abune Yacob as Patriarch of Eritrea was very brief as he died not long after
his enthronement, and he was succeeded by Abune Antonios as 3rd Patriarch of Eritrea. Many Eritrean churches do not recognise
the current self appointed Abune Dioskoros as patriarch and continued to endorse his predecessor, Abune Antonios, who was
removed from the post. The removal of Abune Antonios at the behest of the Eritrean government was denounced by the other Oriental
Orthodox Churches who have all refused to recognize Abune Dioskoros as legitimate Patriarch of Eritrea.