Haymanote Abew Association


“Haimanot Abew translated the liturgy into Amharic so that the young could understand and participate in the service.” (Shenk, Development, p. 271)

Abunä Tewoflos became the mentor of Haymanote Abew (Larebo, Quest for Change, p. 334)

From Tsehai Alemayehu, “The Story of Debre Genet Elias: One of the Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia” (http://aigaforum.com/article2020/Essay-on-Debre-Elias.htm):

“One of the alumni went on a quiet but radical program of reform including the establishment of “Sebeka Gubae”, Sunday school and the lay choir of women and men.  Today nearly every church features these elements, but some 65 years ago, this person faced a near uprising when he proposed these reforms.  This distinguished alumni of Debre Genet Elias is non other than the recently canonized Saint Theophilos.  He was the 2nd Ethiopian national to serve as the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido church”

From Tibebe Eshete, The Evangelical Movement, p. 57ff:

“Of all the various parachurch organizations created within the framework of the Orthodox Church, the group known by the name Haymanote [p. 58] Abew deserves special attention. This association was set up in 1958 by university students, who then represented the cream of the elite. Qidist Mariam Church was the center of the Haymanote Abew association. The government strongly approved of the group, hoping that it would provide some kind of vent to the disgruntled students who were unhappy with the presence of Jesuits in the university system and the rising number of school and college instructors from Western missionary background. Abune Basilios officially inaugurated Haymanote Abew in the presence of the emperor. Haile Sellassie himself chose to be principal patron of the religious organization, while the patriarch and the prime minister became its honorary chairman and president, respectively. […] The main purpose of the organization was to initiate reforms within the framework of the Church so that the young could cherish its past, build on it to cope with the change the country was undergoing, and fruitfully employ their talents to the country’s development.

The organization launched programs such as Bible studies, welfare activities, and periodic seminars. It opened branch offices across the country to enlist high school and college students. In fact, it even engaged in preparing scriptural lessons in Amharic to serve as a new model for the Church’s teaching lessons. It was also involved, unlike any of of its counterparts, in diverse social services: building houses for the poor, enganging in literacy campaigns, and producing publications that would help the youth to strengthen their faith. […, p. 59]

The other impulse for creating the organization was the issue of national identity and cultural cohesion in the face of many intrusive winds coming from outside […]

The group described itself as “a youth movement which serves as a necessary link between the old traditional-bound generation and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church on the one hand, and modern progressive-oriented generation and Western technology and modernity on the other.”

Further reading

Haile Mariam Larebo, “Quest for Change: Haymanote-Abew Students Organization and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, 1959-1974,” in Ethiopia in Broader Perspective: Papers of the XIIIth International Conference of Ethiopian Studies in Kyoto, 12-17 December 1997, vol. 1, ed. Katsuyoshi Fukiji, Eisei Kurioto, and Masayoshi Shigeta, p. 326-38. Kyoto: Shokado. [online version (Academia.edu)]

Shenk, Calvin E.. The Development of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Its Relationship with the Ethiopian Government from 1930 to 1970. Ph.D. dissertation. New York University: School of Education, 1972. [p. 270-77]

Tibebe Eshetu. The Evangelical Movement in Ethiopia: Resistance and Resilience. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2009. [p. 56-59]