Protestantism in Ethiopia

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Protestants in Ethiopia are Christians not belonging to Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo, Roman Catholic or Ethiopian Catholic churches. In Amharic they are known as pentay, which is derived from "pentecostal" even though actual pentecostals are only a minority of the overall Protestant population in Ethiopia.

The total number of Protestants in Ethiopia is believed to be about 20% of the population (according to the magazine Christianity Today, September, 2011, edition, p. 18), or about 17 million.

Established Protestant denominations are relatively abundant in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region. Some urban areas are also evangelizing very fast. Other big Protestant churches in Ethiopia include Meserete Kristos (Mennonite), Gubae Egziabehare (Assembly of God), Mulu Wongel, and Misgana church. There officially is freedom of religion. In Gambela, Mekane Yesus followers are about 60% of the population. In regions with an Islamic majority, Christians face opposition from local authorities and radical Muslims.

According to "Voice of the Martyrs", there have been brutal killings of Pentay Christians in rural areas that tend to be overlooked by the Ethiopian government and stay undisclosed to international organizations. "Voice of the Martyrs" also states that Pentay Christians have been murdered by Islamic militants because they refused to renounce their faith. Other Protestant denominations include United Pentecostal, Full Gosp-Mulu Wengel, Heywet Birhane, Seventh-day Adventist, Meserete Kristos, Sefer Genet, Churches of Christ, Birhane Wengel and Emmanuel Baptist churches. The Protestant minority is growing by about 6.7% per year.[citation needed]

In mid 19th century, some clergy suspected to have a link with Lutheran evangelicals had an intra church dispute in Northern Ethiopia Gonder and Simada areas. A prominent church leader named Nibure Id Eshete was called upon to resolve the conflict. Nibure Id was concerned that his own two children named Heletework and Mahtemework might get caught in the "imported" doctrine and have sent them to Addis Ababa to Queen (Itege) Teitu. The conflict was resolved by the governor of Bege Mider Dej. Wubneh Gosaye. The voice of Martyrs suspect that these two young men, who one of them later became an editor of prominent newspaper in Ethiopia might have been caught by proselytizing scheme of the Luthrans.

Anglicanism is represented in Ethiopia by the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East; Ethiopia is part of the Diocese of Egypt, which also includes other countries on the Horn of Africa and in North Africa. There is one Episcopal church in Addis Ababa and one in Gambela.[1]


  1. ^ Anglicans Online: Africa. Accessed 2010-01-07.


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