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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).


The 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.