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Mengistu, Yoseph (2012) He was annointed because he was incarnated: Cyrillo-Alexandrian orthodoxy in the view of modern Ethiopian theologians. PhD thesis. SOAS, University of London. DOI:

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That Christianity came to Ethiopia in the fourth Century at the time of King Ezana was fairly established by reliable historical accounts and archaeological findings. The arrival of Christianity also marked the introduction of Cyrillo-Alexandrian Christology. Athanasius the Great ordained the first bishop of Axum but it was his distant successor Cyril that had the final say on Ethiopian Christology through the translation of his polemical works against Nestorius of Constantinople into Ge’ez by the Nine Saints. Their work was seminal in firmly establishing Cyrillo-Alexandrian Christology in Ethiopia. In the view modern Ethiopian theologians, the arrival of the Jesuit missionaries in the 16th century was a challenge to Cyrillo-Alexandrian tradition by promoting a Chalcedonian alternative. The strategic mistakes committed by the Jesuits aside, the main reason for Ethiopian theologians rejection of Roman Catholicism was its perceived incompatibility with Cyrillian Christology. It was the same commitment to and the quest for Cyrillo-Alexandrian orthodoxy on the part of modern Ethiopian theologians that led to bloody christological disputes that lasted for over three hundred years and the formation of schools of thoughts (cultures) after the expulsion of the Jesuits. The driving force for the development of Ethiopian Christology was loyalty to the Cyrillo-Alexandrian tradition rather than theological innovations triggered by the need to address the challenges of the society. One of the schools of thought, Karra Haymanot, was declared authentic representative of the Cyrillo-Alexandrian tradition at the Council of Borumeda in 1878 to the dismay and persecutions of the other groups; namely, Qïbat and S’ägga. It was, however, the contention of this thesis that the underlying factor behind the decisions of Borumeda was political considerations rather than theological reflections and we propose that all the three traditions sufficiently meet the requirements Cyrillo-Alexandrian orthodoxy.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
Keywords: Christianity, Cyril, Ethiopia, History
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Martin Orwin
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2013 15:36

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