What Is the History of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the United States?


Quick Answer

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one of the six Oriental Orthodox Churches and is one of the oldest organized Christian congregations in the world. The U.S. branch of the church split with the mother church in Addis Ababa in 1992 and has since pursued a parallel existence. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has grown steadily in the United States and has three U.S. Archbishops as of 2015. Its headquarters have traditionally been in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Full Answer

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church split in 1992 after 20 years of tumult and outside pressure from government forces. After the communist regime change in Ethiopia in the 1970s, the Church installed a new head of church. The Church recalled its head of church after a second regime change in the 1990s, but bishops in North America rejected the new head of the church's election as illegal and formally separated from the Ethiopian segment.

Although the teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church have never been widely practiced in the United States, there are significant believer populations in California, New York City, the southeastern states and Washington, D.C. The church is affiliated with the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Churches in the Americas, which maintains a headquarters building in New York City.

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