Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity
Christianity has very ancient roots in Ethiopia. The New Testament and other sources indicate that Christianity reached Ethiopia during the Church’s earliest days, and in the fourth century, Emperor Ezana converted to Christianity. Oriental Orthodox Churches (which includes today’s Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church) split from other churches in the fifth century (and after another five hundred years, the remaining Church would split again into the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches). The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was part of the Coptic Orthodox Church (Egypt) until 1959.
Because of this long history, the expressions and practices of the church are distinctive. I didn’t have a chance to visit an Orthodox church service, but I did see a couple of churches from the outside.
As you would expect, given the long history of the Church in Ethiopia, Ethiopian religious art is also well developed and distinctive. Simple designs, bright colors, and large eyes are well known elements of the art (read more).
See more examples of Ethiopian religious art, including illuminated manuscripts and crosses.