Histories of Christianity in Ethiopia

General Introduction

Getachew Haile. “Ethiopia,” in Religion Past and Present: Encyclopedia of Theology and Religion, vol. 4, edited by D. Betz et al. Leiden and Boston: E.J. Brill, 2004. [German original: “Äthiopien” in Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 4th ed., vol. 1, ed. by H.D. Betz et al., col. 889-94. Tübingen (Germany): Mohr Siebeck, 1998.]

Hastings, Adrian. The Church in Africa: 1450-1950 (The Oxford History of the Christian Church). Oxford (UK): Clarendon Press, 1994.
[Google Books; on Ethiopia see esp. chapters 1, 4 and 6]

Sundkler, Bengt and Christopher Steed. A History of the Church in Africa. Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press, 2000.
[Google Books; On Ethiopia, see esp. p. 34ff, 73ff, 150-168, 694-699, 927-931]

History of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Elli, Alberto. Storia della Chiesa Ortodossa Tawāḥedo d’Etiopia. 2 vols. Milano (Italy): Edizioni Terra Santa, 2017. [Google Books]

Esler, Philip F. Ethiopian Christianity: History, Theology, Practice. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2019.

Getachew Haile (ed. and tr.). Teaching and Tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Older Amharic. (Supplement to Aethiopica. International Journal of Ethiopian and Eritrean Studies 9). Wiesbaden (Germany): Harrassowitz, 2021. [Open Access publication]

Krebs, Verena. Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft, and Diplomacy with Latin Europe. Cham (Switzerland): Palgrave Macmillan, 2021. [Google Books]

Paulau, Stanislau. Das andere Christentum: Zur transkonfessionellen Verflechtungsgeschichte von äthiopischer Orthodoxie und europäischem Protestantismus (Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte Mainz, Abteilung für Abendländische Religionsgeschichte 262). Göttingen (Germany): Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 2020. [Online]

» Use deepl.com or a similar service
if you want an English translation

Paulau, Stanislau, and Martin Tamcke, eds. Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity in a Global Context: Entanglements and Disconnections (Texts and Studies in Eastern Christianity 24) Leiden (Netherlands): Brill, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004505254

Seblewengel Daniel. Perception and Identity: A Study of the Relationship between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Evangelical Churches in Ethiopia. Carlisle, Cumbria (UK): Langham Monographs, 2019. [Google Books]

Taddesse Tamrat. Church and State in Ethiopia 1270-1527 (Oxford Studies in African Affairs). Oxford (UK): Clarendon Press, 1972. [Internet Archive]

» In addition, see the respective bibliography
in the Vignette and Liturgy sections

History of the Evangelical Movement

Tibebe Eshete. The Evangelical Movement in Ethiopia: Resistance and Resilience. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2009. [Amazon]

Regional and Specific Aspects of the Evangelical Movement

Ahrens, Christel and Ebise Ashana, eds. In Memory of Them: Women witnessing to Christ in Ethiopia (1870-2019) (Contributions to Mission Studies/Intercultural Theology 48). Zürich (Switzerland): LIT Verlag, 2020. [Google Books]

  • Oromo edition: Christel Ahrens and Ebisee Ashanaa, eds. Seenaa isaaniitiif in dubbatama: Lixa Itoophiyaa keessatti dubartoota Kristosiif dhugaa ba’an. Oslo [(Norway:) R-Media?], 2021.

Arén, Gustav. Evangelical Pioneers in Ethiopia: Origins of the Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (Studia Missionalia Upsaliensia 32). Stockholm (Sweden): EFS förlaget; Addis Ababa: Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, 1978. [View online]

Arén, Gustav. Envoys of the Gospel in Ethiopia: In the Steps of the Evangelical Pioneers 1898-1936 (Studia Missionalia Upsaliensis 75). Stockholm: EFS förlaget; Addis Ababa: The [Ethiopian] Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, 1999. [View online]

Bakke, Johnny. Christian Ministry: Patterns and Functions within the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (Studia missionalia Upsaliensia 44). Oslo (Norway): Solum Forlag; Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1987.

Balisky, E. Paul. Wolaitta Evangelists: A Study of Religious Innovation in Southern Ethiopia, 1937-1975 (American Society of Missiology Monograph Series 6). Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2009. [Google Books]

Bascom, Kay. Overcomers: God’s Deliverance through the Ethiopian Revolution as Witnessed Primarily by the Kale Heywet Church Community (Christians under Pressure: Studies in Discrimination and Persecution 2). Bonn (Germany): Culture and Science Publ., 2018. [PDF version]

Cenerini, Stefano. “First Evangelization of the Anyuak.” Paper to be read at the 21st ICES, Addis Ababa. [forthcoming].

Cumbers, John. Count It All Joy: Testimonies From A Persecuted Church. Kearney, NE: Morris, 1995.

Daniel Worku Kebede. “Women in the Ethiopian Pentecostal Movement,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology (published online ahead of print 2022). https://doi.org/10.1163/17455251-bja10033

Debela Birri. Divine Plan Unfolding: The Story of Ethiopian Evangelical Church Bethel. Minneapolis, MN: Lutheran Univ. Press, 2014.

Egeland, Erik. Christianity, Generation and Narrative: Religious Conversion and Change in Sidama, Ethiopia, 1974-2012 (Studia Missionalia Svecana 116). Uppsala: Uppsala University, Department of Theology, 2016. [DiVA Record]

Eide, Øyvind E. Revolution & Revolution in Ethiopia: The Growth and Persecution of the Mekane Yesus Church 1974-85. Rev. edition (Eastern African Studies). Oxford (UK): James Currey; Athens: Ohio Univ. Press; Addis Ababa: Addis Ababa Univ. Press, 2000.

Fargher, Brian L. The Origins of the New Churches Movement in Southern Ethiopia, 1927-1944 (Studies on Religion in Africa 16). Leiden (Netherlands) and New York, NY: E.J. Brill, 1996. [Google Books]

Fekadu Gurmessa. Evangelical Faith Movement in Ethiopia: Origins and Establishment of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus. Translated and edited by Ezekiel Gebissa. Minneapolis, MN: Lutheran University Press, 2009.

Grenstedt, Staffan. Ambaricho and Shonkolla. From Local Independent Church to the Evangelical Mainstream in Ethiopia. The Origins of the Mekane Yesus Church in Kambata Hadiya (Studia Missionalia Svecana 82). Uppsala: Swedish Institute of Missionary Research, 2000. [digital version]

Haustein, Jörg. “Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in Ethiopia: A Historical Introduction to a Largely Unexplored Movement,” in Multidisciplinary Views on the Horn of Africa (Studien zum Horn von Afrika 1), ed. H. Elliesie, p. 109-127. Köln (Germany): Köppe Verlag, 2014. [PDF at Academia.edu]

Hege, Nathan B. Beyond Our Prayers: Anabaptist Church Growth in Ethiopia, 1948-1998. Scottdale, PA and Waterloo: Herald Press, 1998. [On Meserete Kristos Church]

Hjort, Bengt, Mekonnen Gerremew, and Rune Imberg. Joint Endeavour in the Work for the Gospel: The Background, Formation and Development of the Ethiopian Evangelical Lutheran Church. Part 1: The Pioneer Period 1921 – 1935. Stockholm: Books on Demand, 2022. [Sample on Amazon.com (Kindle)]

Launhardt, Johannes. Evangelicals in Addis Ababa (1919-1991): With special reference to the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the Addis Ababa Synod (Studien zur Orientalischen Kirchengeschichte 31). Münster (Germany): LIT Verlag, 2004. 

Rønne, Finn Aa. Kontinuitet og forandring: Opkomsten og udviklingen af protestantisk kristendom i Kambaataa-Hadiyya, Etiopien – 1928 til 1974 [Continuity and Change: The Rise and Development of Protestant Christianity in Kambaataa-Hadiyya, Ethiopia – 1928 to 1974]Copenhagen (Denmark): Akademisk Forlag, 2002. [English summary on p. 466-73]

Samuel Handamo and Addise Amado, eds. Yewengel tarik behadiyana akababiw [የወንጌል ታሪክ በሐዲያና አካባቢው, The history of the Gospel in Hadiyya and its surroundings]. Addis Ababa, 2022.

Tole, Arne. Sidama and Ethiopian: The emergence of the Mekane Yesus Church in Sidama (Studia Missionalia Upsaliensia 69). Uppsala (Sweden): Uppsala University, 1998.

Wondiye Ali. Bamekera wust yabebech bete kristiyan [A church blooming in hardship: The history of the Ethiopian Kale Heyet Church, vol. 1, 1920-1933 A.M. (1928-41 A.D.)]. Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Literature Department, 1998.

Wondiye Ali. Ya’ekule lelit wegegta [Awakening at midnight: The history of the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church, vol. 2, 1934-1966 A.M. (1942-74 A.D.)]. Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Literature Department, 2000.


» Watch documentary on Lutheran mission work
(released around 1964)

Churches not affiliated with the Evangelical Churches Fellowship of Ethiopia

» See the respective bibliography
in the Vignette
[Catholic, Adventist, Oneness Pentecostalism]
and Liturgy sections
[Catholic Ethiopian rite, Catholic Western rite]

For further study

Abbink, Jan. A Bibliography of Christianity in Ethiopia (ASC Working Paper 52). Leiden (Netherlands): African Studies Centre, 2003.

» read online