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History of Protestantism in Ethiopian

85 Comments · Church Ethiopia

Protestantism was brought in to Ethiopia through the mission societies, which, though present in Ethiopia for much of the 19th century, did not make intrusion into Ethiopian society. Three main missions fashioned the modern Protestant churches in Ethiopia are:

• the Lutherans
• the Sudan Interior Mission and
• the Mennonite Mission

The Lutheran missions
The Lutheran missions were the initial presence in Ethiopia and grew into the Mekane Yesus (meaning the Place of Jesus) Church, formed in 1959.

Mekane Yesus looks to have more dominance in the south and west of Ethiopia, which are were opened to missionaries as there was little Orthodox Christian influence.

The Sudan Interior Mission
The Sudan Interior Mission started its work in the South of Ethiopia in the 1920s. It advanced slowly, baptizing four converts in 1932 and possibly a hundred by the time they were driven out of Ethiopia by the invading Italians in 1938.

When the Sudan Interior Mission came back five years later, they discovered a flourishing church of a hundred congregations and 20,000 members. That number grew to:

• 100,000 by 1960  and
• 500,000 by 1974.

The Kale Heywat (Word of Life) church, which grew out of the Sudan Interior Mission churches, has kept on flourishing converted many to the fath of Jesus.

The Mennonite mission
The Mennonite mission came to Ethiopia after World War II as a relief agency; however, got permission to evangelize soon after. The two distinct churches grew out of the influence of the Mennonite mission are:

• The Meserete Kristos church (remained an important part of the wordwide Mennonite fellowship)

• Mulu Wengel Church (insisted on maintaining its independence from western ties)

Many members of the Mulu Wengel church joined Meserete Kristos when Mulu Wengel was outlawed by the government in 1972.

Meserete Kristos followed Mulu Wengel’s lead in using the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the Meserete Kristos church has become far more charismatic and Pentecostal than most of its sister Mennonite churches.

Orthodox Christians refer all Protestants as “Pentes” (meaning Pentecostals), which is a testimony to the influence of the Pentecostal movement on Ethiopian protestantism, despite the official disapproval of the Kale Heywat Church and the Mekane Yesus church. Both Meserete Kristos and Mulu Wengel churches practice:

• faith healing
• exorcism of demons, and
• speaking in tongues

In 1982 Meserete Kristos, with 5,000 members, outlawed by the Marxist government came to power in 1974, suffered severe persecution for nine years.

When religious freedom was restored in 1991, Meserete Kristos found out that its believers grew tenfold and numbered 50,000 during the time of persecution.

Note: The nine years suffering of the Christians during the Derg Regime (Marxist government who came to power in 1991) is believed to be known so little and the documents written about the tragic days are rare. So we encourage you to have your say here in this blog if you have had any experience during this time. Share your experience and help your brothers and sisters grew in faith.

May God bless you!

Keywords: Lutherans, Mennonite Mission, Mekane Yesus, Orthodox Christian, Kale Heywat, Meserete Kristos, Mulu Wengel Church,


85 Comments so far ↓

  • tagesse

    this time is good as compare to Derge however,the development of protestant movement is5% from 1994_2007ethiopian census report the three religion followers stastics shows that
    islam 34%
    orthodox 44%
    in order to change this trend for the next census year what stratages planned????????????

  • ermiyas

    dear tesfish, i believe in the almighty Jesus as God…that’s the main difference b/n orthodox tewahido n protestants….
    protsestans believe him as an intercessor to the Father, which is completely wrong,,,,perhaps this all thing is coming from not understanding the secret of holy trinity!
    again, seek for the truth..the truth will set u free!
    may God help us all!
    wit love!

  • tadege

    Sorry for the people!
    No way! that is upto the people to take a time, analise with his mind and follow what is best. No one is requested to enforce or persuade, but only a jenuine look up and jestification is enough!
    Please you protestants please take care of yoour journey!
    My God help you!

  • wabel

    In the name of God
    You are not achirstiyans becouse as your
    indicate protest means making abjaction so you all of protestant are does to make abjaction .i know you have a holly book .but you all of are goes /interpreat by your own so can we say achiristian??with out bapism no one can not be achiristian also your founder are aperson that made your looks like areligion so you must know ,does religion can made by person ?no becouse the only founder of religion are jesus christ ,if you now that why you say achiristian .you must to say i am the foller of luter becouse he already made your organization not areligion .becouse in bible it will have only one religion,baptism&God eph4_4 thank you for waching me

  • wabel

    In the name of GOD
    How are for all of you .Protestant as the name indicate it means protest for christians or making abjaction so all of the protestant are not achiristians .Becouse for christianity it must be abaptism ,When we see your organization it made by aperson that you call it Luter so in bible it said in EF4-4only one baptism,GOD&religon.when we say religion it also made only by one GOD/Jesus christ so you does not belive this reality .as bible indicate you are the one that follow aperson/Luter .Lastly we are not say christian ,we say the protest of Christian that follow Jesus Chirst

  • wabel

    i am so sorry…..about you society mission

  • Meti

    Hey guys we all have our on understanding and our on Education.but sometimes it will be good to listen others.we might get a good information with them. if somebody side i knew all he/she might be wrong. so we need to give our ears & read Bible… after that we can choose …….but i have to tell u some as far as i knew. we dont have to talk about religion. that might get as to fight or misunderstanding. which is most peoples are used to do it. we can get all information from our Bible which is gaving by God. we can read this clear to understand and Accept Jesus. like Jesus side to disciples……. ”All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to Obey everything. I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”
    Stay Blessed in our Lord in the name of Jesus!

  • Amdekiristos

    Hi, Ermiyas. You better read John 14:6 and Romans 8:34. May God oppen your and your friends eyes!!!!!!! AMEN!

  • solomon shiferaw

    hay tesfaye,ermi has so far explained why we should be bound to this church only with very nice points from the holy u better try ur self to reach z true residence of our redeemer jesus christ w/c is the orthodox tewahdo church.

  • solomon shiferaw

    May I possibly be allowed to say s.thing to u henitesh? we orthodox church belivers really believe inthe works of z holy u may know but may not belive it is in this church we constantly hear the works of z holy spirit w/c made our faith be termed as revealed religion by many scholars all over z world.For instance in z very beginnin chapter of the it says-the spirit of god was floatin on the water and we read another story on z gospel of mattew about 1 bed ridden helpless man who always have no one to take him to the water to plunge himself in to it and heal from his disease when the angel of god comesdown to the spring and fill it with the healing power.It is zat holy water that we use in our faith to heal someone from his dss,including HIV/AIDS to ur amazement heniti,but u don believe in it and u rather tend to say its by some other power-w/c jesus was said by those non surrendering israelis,and u will come to insult the holy spirit w/c we read is inexcuseable.for a detaild

  • kidan wondemneh

    hey hey i think the mian perpose of the first idea going on other direction .please try to come back .firstly the idea of the topic to know how the beging of protestant church in Ethiopia. i want to know deeply if it is possible please to tell me any thing that i can get it. mehratun yamitalen

  • Asrat

    I am happy to learn about the development of the Pentacostal Chiristian way of faith in Ethiopia. In fact, the history of christianity in Ethiopia goes far into the early times even far beyond the 15th century. The first Ethiopian eunuch who was baptised by Phillip was the one in the bible that witnessed the Gospel of Jesus, as written in the Bible. Here the most important thing to know and understand is the power of faith in God the Almighty (Trinity). Religion or denominational views will not replace what God is looking to see from us as humans. Particularly those thoughts of humans (the story tellings of individuals with out devine guidance) cannot replace that of what God in His devine guidance gave to all human beings through His begotten Son Jesus Christ. Anybody who claims to be Christian cannot and shall not lead a life outside what Christ Jesus Himslef taught us when He was on this earth. As He himself said in His words, He is “The only way, the truth and the life” to all who follow Him. Why should one look for another way? That is deception and denial of His word and the gift from the Lord Jesus Christ. Before we say anything, let us pray to God to guide us and open our eyes so that we see spiritually the glory of God and get His guidance through the Holyspirit. Otherwise, it is easy to be misguided and end up in something different. Let God help us!

  • Tom awassa

    God bless Ethiopia forever

  • bemnet getachew

    I m so happy to this inf.I m so happy god bless you god bless ethio


    Hai, ermy, we know each other some where in N.shoa
    Pls, don`t be ridged like our old and obsoleted debetras !
    I know , u r 1 of guys from them.
    But open ur eyes and try to see realities around
    what our almighty GOD is done for his followers.
    Even u will see more and more miracles that his people shall enjoy in the near future.

    pls , i advice u to escape of demons and join the right way toward the truth.

  • alvin

    I am a christian in michigan, usa. I was looking for ways to tell the christians in Sudan that I am praying that
    1. the south will peacefully secede from the north, and
    2. that the christians will be able to preach in peace, and
    3. that many of islam will turn to the true God and his Son Jesus Christ, and
    4. that this blessing will grow in Ethiopia as well.

  • mathias adnew

    long live to protestanism! … i pride too…i love God and protest! you know some thing the stons only can’t change…but human,.. and believe in change …! you know why i am say this!..there is many stone around us stone head!stone heart…and stone religion! i love you! but i am not hate anyone except..setan!

  • Dagnachew W/Michael

    all i have to do to salivate is accepting &believing in Jesus Christ &repenting my sin.then the power of holly sprite starting work in me.then holy sprite can help us to pray,reading bible &to live for him.


  • Samson

    Dear coleagues,
    I’m proud of those who sacrified their life to evangelize this nation, begining from ‘Kesate Birihan’ , the Egyptian pops, Orthodox fathers, Protestant missionaries, all others who did and are doing a lot for the spread of the Gosple. However, I’m confused about the divisions that appeared since early time in the history of Chrstianity and I’m getting mad about Ethiopian Chrstians the mother church, which is by far in a better position in maintaining her oneness, but still different groups fighting eachother with words and translations; the Chatolics, which try to live in peace with everybody, but more significant for modern Education than the gosple (but i appreciate zat too); the protestants, which have significant impact, but seem a bit emotional and filled by youngs who wonder from gathering to another and sometime looklike there are ppl who make business with their members inside. I think there are gaps between the senior members who passed through the persecution and the youngest genration who can wonder here and there and if they want they can open a local church.

    Sometimes, when I thought the divisions in the protestant churches it’s similar with that of the poletics – may be the first country with many poletical parties – the first country with more than hundred groups of ppl who say God’s with us. When u asked zem all have something to say, whom shall we listen then?

    Please leaders of all chrstian churches – Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant – atleast don’t help us to be one but don’t lead us to quarel we are from the poorest nation, we have to work together, whether we get heaven or not.

    Leaders of the small quisks, pls don’t be emotional, what ever knowledge, wisdom or power you are given from God, it’s for the ppl not for yourself, so let’s comeback to pour mother churches including Orthodox and worship God and serve the saved and preach to the unsaved.

    God bless you!
    Any one can write me at

  • Samson

    Dear protestants, I couldn’t deny your sacrifie for the revival of the Gosple, I’ve due respect for you and for the Holly Sp[irit that works in you; on the contrary, I’m angry on your day to day divission. What’s realy the real cause of the divisions in you as wel as in the poletics.

    Your little bro

  • Temesgen Aba

    That who believe on JESUS Save his soul. This is the main purpose JESUS came,died & rose up. So, believing in him & living as his word is crutial.Other things may be for personal interest,so must not be done concerning Salivation. ONLY JESUS is SAVIOR of Whole world. Also I don’t bother about the histories of religions even they are important to know but they and their history may not be considerd for salivation.

  • desta addisu

    This is the amazing news bc to know their differenciation about ethio protestant. Any how i thanks you a loat and also you compare and more clearly put on web site.

  • Abuye

    I’m pleased to read the history of Evangelism in our country. I want to know who translated Amharic Bible and who are the first Gospel workers? Should you have tangible, documented history, would you please indicate me how and where to get them?

  • mbss

    Living a life according to the basic principals set forth in all religions–to love one another and to do unto others as you would have them do unto you–is ALL that is needed. No one can say whether he or she has found God, or Jesus, or any other savior or prophet–UNLESS that “word” means that he or she has found love. On this ALL can agree and IF it is true that God is love, and IF it is true that Jesus is love, then all who find love will have found purpose in life and will find eternal life. Organized religion is completely unnecessary. Common sense and goodness, regardless of whose text one reads, will lead to the same teaching and practices upheld by Christians. Peace.

  • bamlaku

    we know all penta(protestant) is coming in Ethiopia with dukate and senda (wheat, barely). totally the name indicates protastant means not belive by GOD i.e in amharic definition teteratari or menafike!!!!

    kikiki leba

  • bamlaku

    All readers this website please seen Ethiopian orthodox church history.

    it goes 3000 years ago.

  • eyobe

    ermias is correct

  • eyobe

    ” One man leads all the other to wrong!”
    U boost in the name of “JESUS CHRIST” thanks for calling his name but Do U know that U r out of the bible u call the almighty GOD “amalaji…..x”how it is bad!Oh I am eager waiting for the day that u believe in him fully!!!!oh I donot say more b/c u know why u come protestant i.e: only for MMMMMOOOO……YYYY! about 10 or less yrs ago you were all orthodox but GOD forgives for every thing U commerce wrongly in the name of our almighty GOD! for the sake of truthfulness please donot translate bible by your self.”eneho kezare jemro tiwuld hulu bts-et yilugnal” “Without dingl MARIAM no chrstianism …but others may exist like U” GOD BLESS ETHIOPIA

  • Me

    I think I get some thing.

  • Niguse

    First of all I would like to thank this body who put these information’s on.I’m the one who follows the protestant religion.Jesus will com soon. The time in which we’re going to be is coming don’t worry. Jesus is the alpha & omega,the first &the last. God bless you.

  • wende(adama university)

    you know, I believe in one thing , I don’t believe that religion is the way to salvation.but, JESUS is the way only the way but the only way to heven. so don’t make a mistake, religion is just an organization But, JESUS, is bread of life. whatever religion you are following ,just believe by the only saviour that is Jesus then be sure that you are saved. Plus why don’t you read the bible? It is a manual of our existence. please share your ideas with me. you can send me an sms & we can contact in such a way. here it is my cell phone no. 0913897125. May my God bless you!!!

  • ephrem sclomon

    i realy like yor spiret where can ifind you

  • tesse

    I need to glorify god for gloifing his only son Jesus Christ in ethiopia. but protestants cannot go accordingly w2ith god becouse they cant do evangelism properly and accordingly, but I belive now the time is for ethiopian evangelists if they belive, please comment

  • henok

    for all orthodox brothers lets think about this 4 points
    1,i never seen orthodox priest preach the gospel in the public area or in the street, but protestant does as jesus. poul. peter.etc does why? the bible saying go all over the world preach the message
    2,why is the orthodox population decreased time to time, 80% pent used to be orthodex in Ethiopia, Ethiopian orthodox only accounts 2 % in the world while protestant is 35 % is this means Jesus will save only those 2% orthodox in Ethiopia as so priest teaches he died only for 2% then jesus discriminate ? but his blood is for all
    3, why is orthodox religiouse is not preached in iraq.iran,bangladish,pakistan,brazil ,sudan,china .. if this really a gospel as jesus mention in the bible before the end of the world my message will be preached all over the world as protestant preached almost in all nation now a days
    4,i never seen the orthodox people have a bible while they go to church as it seems is not allowed to have one ,so they will receive what ever the priest says .most of the time even they do not know what is said b/c the service in gez. but romance 10,17 consequently faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard thought the word of Christ .i pray god will open ur eyes .love u god bless u

  • elias mandefro

    well i think it is better that to return to our home orthodocs thewahido church b/c etiopia is acountry of indipenden & with the primitive religion orthodocs the bibble said dat efeson 4:5 so the day is toda came back to home

    if there is any question well cam am happy to anser my adress is email or 0935479017

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