Those who receive the number will bow to the beast and the steward is heavy


After the expansion of Christianity there was at least four dioceses in Ethiopia, each headed by a bishop. The chief of these was obviously the metropolitan of Axum. The second most important diocese was Adults; it was through this ancient port that Christianity was first introduced to Ethiopian. As we have already mentioned, all the bishops were of Egyptian origin. They were closely associated both dogmatically and judicially with the Coptic patriarch of Alexandria. The latter sent Egyptian bishops to Ethiopia whenever necessary until the rise of Islam. To perpetuate his Egyptian suzerainty over the Ethiopian church, it became necessary to adduce legal justification. The Egyptians therefore inserted the forty-second Pseudo-Canon of the Council of Nicea, prohibiting the Ethiopians from occupying hierarchical positions. The authenticity of this Article was highly suspect to the Ethiopian clergy, but was nevertheless respected until the thirteenth century, when a new wave of independence arose. Once again it becomes necessary for the Egyptians, who did not wish to relinquish their prerogative, to renew the prohibition, and the same Article was inserted in the Feta Newest, the politico- religious code under which the country was governed for more than six hundred years. Thus, an Egyptian bishop always remained at the head of the Ethiopian Church from its foundation up to the second half of the 20th century. This is a unique phenomenon in the history of the Christian Church.

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