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Author Topic: Portuguese intervention in Ethiopiam Church  (Read 1322 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 18, 2003, 03:10:36 AM »

Hello!

I just found this link with some history of the Ethiopian Church, some facts got my atention, I'd like to know if some of our friends can comment on this.

Original article here:

http://www.dallasethiopianorthodoxchurch.org/about/church.htm

Among the notable missionaries Pedro Pais who reached Ethiopia in 1603. He lost no time in advertising the Church of Rome. He had brought Emperor Susneyos of Ethiopia; to the Catholic faith.

                Pedro Pais ordered the people to kneel to him as representative of the Pope. Priests of the Ethiopian Church should be re-ordained by him and the whole population of the country was regarded as heathen if not rebaptized under the Catholic faith. Churches had to be reconstructed and altars were rebuilt in the Portuguese fashion.


How accurate was this? So the Latins dissobeyed the Papacy when they aid not to rebaptize any eastern christian? I didn't know the Latins would have that attitude, well they're Portuguese, that wasn't strange.

               Meanwhile Susneyos issued a decree; death to be the penalty for those who refused to agree with the Chalcedonian formula... revolt after revolt broke out... Such was the act of the Jesuits in Ethiopia. Susneyos died September 1632... He was succeeded by his son Fasilades, during whose reign the Jesuits left the country by order.

More than the rejection of the Chalcedonian formula, it could have been the rejection of the forced Latinization and intolerant attitude of the foreign power that invaded them?
               
                The mission of the Portuguese Jesuits had brought several formulas concerning Christology... There appeared a great controversy and division in the Church especially during the reign of Emperor Tewodros II (1855-1868). Qebat states that Jesus became a perfect man and a perfect God by the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the Jordan River and not upon the incarnation. Tsegga states three births; eternal birth, of the Son from the Father; genetic birth of the Son from the Virgin Mary, and birth from the Holy Spirit during baptism. Such doctrinal formulas died out by decree of Emperor Tewodros.

This is the strangest thing I've ever read. From what I've studied, I have never found any of thiese theories to be part of Roman Catholicism or Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. It would not surprise me if they came from a modern Charismatic Catholic or Pentecostal Protestant, but from a Portuguese of the 1700's it's unbelievable.

What do you think? Can you explain this to me? What would be the origine of these theories?

Did the portuguese presence have any visible influence in Ethiopian Orthodoxy? did it have a liturgical influence?

I read that in the North of Ethiopia, and in Eritrea, there is still a Uniate community, but from what I know they are more recent and are not related to the Portuguese intervention, and the new ones are not latinized and very close to Ethiopian Orthodoxy. How true is this?

I found this article which is about the Ethiopian Uniat Church:

http://www.ethiopianreporter.com/eng_newspaper/Htm/No331/r331int.htm

« Last Edit: May 18, 2003, 03:57:50 AM by Snoopy » Logged
Aklie Semaet
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Thank God for my fiancée!


« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2003, 03:01:01 PM »

Sorry I have not been on-line for a while so I missed this thread.

So the Latins dissobeyed the Papacy when they aid not to rebaptize any eastern christian?

Of course they did not ‘obey.’ To them Ethiopia and India were not ‘the East’ and for certain were not Christians; not even of the heretical sort. They were heathens—inferior backward peoples that needed colonization and the light of the Vatican and Europe. The Portuguese did not consider them equals of a different civilization. All policies that were applied to Byzantine Christianity had zero affect on Vatican efforts in non-European societies.  

More than the rejection of the Chalcedonian formula, it could have been the rejection of the forced Latinization and intolerant attitude of the foreign power that invaded them?

Yes, of course the revolt (which produced many martyrs and saints for our Church [in particular many women martyrs and saints) had all the aspects of a revolt against foreign domination and attempted colonialism. In many ways, it was similar to the revolt by Indian Orthodox Christians against Portugal. But the theological underpinnings of the revolt should not be underestimated. Ethiopian and Coptic priests produced a voluminous amount of non-Chalcedonian apologetics during this period. It was a time when the Church was not ready to hear the fact that Christologies of the East and the West were very similar, if not identical, albeit if they stressed one or the other of nature of Christ.

This is the strangest thing I've ever read. From what I've studied, I have never found any of thiese theories to be part of Roman Catholicism or Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. It would not surprise me if they came from a modern Charismatic Catholic or Pentecostal Protestant, but from a Portuguese of the 1700's it's unbelievable.

No they definitely arrived with Portugal. That is not to say that they were the direct product of Portuguese theology but these heresies (as well as two others) were for sure a by-product of the confusion, anarchy and havoc brought by the Vatican.

Did the portuguese presence have any visible influence in Ethiopian Orthodoxy? did it have a liturgical influence?

Yes. Like all other attempts at non-Orthodox missionary activities it caused a reawakening and renaissance in the Church as she responded to defend herself. Years of isolation without competition by anyone except Islamic pranksters makes the clergy and the laityGǪwellGǪsomewhat lazy and idle. Attempts like that of the Portuguese forces dynamism.

I read that in the North of Ethiopia, and in Eritrea, there is still a Uniate community, but from what I know they are more recent and are not related to the Portuguese intervention, and the new ones are not latinized and very close to Ethiopian Orthodoxy. How true is this?

There is a Uniate community and they disassociate with the past in strong terms. The division is unfortunately largely based on ethnic division. The north, for the most part, is ‘Orthodox in Communion with Rome’ and has kept the same liturgy with the exception of mentioning the Bishop of Rome. The south is very Latinized and confused.  
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Ethiopia ijochwan wede Egzabiher tezregalech
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2003, 08:37:35 PM »

Hi Aklie!

Thank you for your answer. It's unfortunate that the West behaved that way, and it also shows the theological confusion in which the Roman Church was immersed.  

it is also sad to think that in some ocassions Eastern Orthodoxy shew a similar attitude toward Oriental christianity.

In the las paragraph you said there was an ethnic division, I heard that those who were misionized by Latins (more recently) were not the Orthodox Ethiopians but the Oromos an other groups who were not Christian before (am I right?), while in Eritrea, people are from the Uniat Church, am i right? How important is this Church in numbers, in Ethiopia and Eritrea?

Thanks for your exaplanations.

God bless you
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