List of Abunas of Ethiopia

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Abuna of Ethiopia
Abune Mathias, May 2018 (6880) (cropped).jpg
Since 28 February 2013
Style His Holiness
First incumbent St. Frumentius (Bishop)
Basilios (Patriarch)
Formation c. 305 (Foundation)
1959 (Autocephaly)

This is a list of the Abunas of Ethiopia, the spiritual heads of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The Abuna is known officially as Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Archbishop of Axum and Ichege of the See of Saint Taklehaimanot. Abune Mathias acceded to this position on 28 February 2013.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is part of the Oriental Orthodoxy communion, and it was granted autocephaly by Cyril VI, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, in 1959.

Bishops of Axum[edit]

  • vacant (c. 537–562)[2]

Metropolitan Archbishops of Axum and of All Ethiopia[edit]

  • unknown
  • vacant (c. 940–970s)
  • vacant (1344–1348)
  • vacant (1458–1481)
  • vacant (1632–1633)
  • vacant (1687–1689)
  • vacant (1716–1718)
  • vacant (1745–c. 1747)
  • vacant (1803–c. 1808)
  • vacant (c. 1808–1816)
  • vacant (1829–1841)
  • vacant (1867–1868)
  • Qerellos IV (1945–1950), restored

On 13 July 1948, the Coptic Orthodox and Ethiopian Churches reached an agreement that led to the elevation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church to the rank of an Autonomous Church; allowing the Archbishop of All Ethiopia to consecrate on his own bishops and metropolitans for the Ethiopian Church and to form a local Holy Synod. The Archbishop, however, is consecrated by the Pope of Alexandria along with the members of the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

Patriarch Catholicoi of All Ethiopia, since 1959[edit]

In 1959, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria granted autocephaly to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and elevated the Archbishop to the Patriarchal dignity and was enthroned with the title of: Patriarch and Re'ese Liqane Papasat Echege (Catholicos) of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The title of Ichege (Supreme Abbot) of the See of St. Tekle Haimanot of Debre Libanos was subsumed into the Patriarchate. The title of Ichege was revived and the title of Archbishop of Axum was added to the Patriarchal titles in 2005, as Axum was the seat of Ethiopia's first Bishop, and thus the oldest see in the church.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Minas according to the Gadla Afse, while Elyas according to the source of Carlo Conti Rossini in Acta Yared et Pantalewon. Sergew Hable Selassie, Ancient and Medieval Ethiopian History to 1270. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: United Printers, p.116
  2. ^ Due to the exiling of Patriarch Theodosius I and his replacement with the Chalcedonian Patriarch Paul, according to an Arabic source. Sergew, Ancient and Medieval Ethiopian History, p.142.
  3. ^ "His Holiness Abune Mathias elected as sixth Patriach of Ethiopian Orthodox Church". The Sheba Post. 28 February 2013. Archived from the original on 8 March 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.