Skip navigation

History

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is one of the very ancient ‘Oriental Orthodox Churches’. She was founded in AD 34 following the baptism of a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians by Philip (Acts 8:26-34). She accepts and strictly follows the dogmatic declarations of the first three Ecumenical Councils, namely the Council of Nicaea (325), the Council of Constantinople (381) and the Council of Ephesus (431). In emphasizing her deep belief in the union of the two natures (the humanity and divinity) in the one person of our Lord Jesus Christ (without division, without separation, without confusion and without mixture), she is named as Tewahedo’.

The contribution of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church to Ethiopian civilization in advancing education and art in general is immense. She laid the foundation of education in the country. It is from this Church that the Geez script, which is the only indigenous alphabet on the African Continent, originated. This Geez script has not only its own alphabet but also its own numerals. Until recent times, every parish had its Church school in every village. The aim of these schools was to educate the children of the parishioners in Church principles, literature, church rituals, prayers and hymns. Some of the graduates of these schools produced religious, historical and literary manuscripts on parchment. Although these manuscripts were written by hand and not products of publishing houses, they are in no way inferior to modern forms of printing in their quality. They are mainly available in the parishes, monasteries, and some Church libraries. Some of these books are now available in various foreign universities and libraries. They bear testimony to ancient Ethiopian history, culture and civilization. In short, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church “does not constitute a purely religious phenomenon on the country, but plays an integral role in all aspects of national life. The Church is not only a religious institution, but has been the repository of the cultural, political and social life of the people for many centuries.” (Refer Sergew Hable-Sellassie, “The Establishment of the Ethiopian Church”). In addition to the numerous traditional church schools, in modern times the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has opened three major theological colleges and six clergy training centers in the country. Sunday schools are opened in almost every parish church. According to a report in July 1996 AD, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has more than 40 million members, 400,000 clergymen and 30,000 parish churches and monasteries inside the country. This figure makes the Ethiopian Church “the largest Church of the Oriental Orthodox family”

Towards the middle of the 20th century, a multitude of Ethiopian Orthodox immigrants migrated to the US, Canada, Europe and many other countries for different reasons. Unfortunately, many of these relocated Ethiopians are struggling in their new environment because of language barriers and other cultural. There are very few resources available to help them integrate into their new communities. Although they have established many parish Churches in the cities they live, they are unable to disseminate their orthodox faith and cultures to others and their own children. Hence, many of them are concerned that their US citizen children would lose touch with the Ethiopian languages and traditions. Most parents are unable to communicate with their children and teach them their languages and cultures in this new country. Therefore, it is imperative to open this theological college of this ancient Church to fill this gap by offering courses on Ethiopian Orthodox Theology, Ethiopian languages (Amharic & Geez), Ethiopian Art and Architecture, and Ethiopian Culture.

Therefore, Saint Mary Theological College and Ethio-American Cultural Institute is inaugurated on 06/06/2012 as a non-profit higher educational institute of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in the State of Texas, USA. Its primary purpose is to offer refreshment, theological and language courses. Its fully accredited academic programs include:
  • Certificate in Theology
  • Certificate in Counseling
  • Associate Degree in Theology
  • Bachelor Degree in Theology
  • Certificate in Ethiopian Languages & Culture,
  • Skill Development and Enhancement courses