Information about the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo gospel music

Amharic gospel music before 1991

The emergence of Orthodox gospel songs in Amharic (rather than liturgical Ge’ez) is associated with congregational and Sunday school choirs. Two Copts from Egypt, Antoun Mikael and Banoub Chehata, initiated the service of Sunday Schools in 1951/52. One of their students at the Theological School in Addis Ababa, Isayas Alami, prepared songs for the Sunday School which, for the first time according to Chaillot (2002, 64), were in Amharic.

The Sunday School choirs were often the result of the work of lay associations.

The Haymanote Abew Association was probabably the most influential lay organization before the Ethiopian Revolution. Its supporters included Abunä Tewflos [2nd Ethiopian EOTC Patriarch], who promoted the establishment of congregational and Sunday School choirs.

The Yetemro Mastemar Association was among the first ones to release an Orthodox Gospel music album in Amharic. Märigeta Lisane Work assisted with the early recordings of Ethiopian Orthodox songs.

Liqe Siltanat Habte Mariam Workneh, Head of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, which had close ties to the Emperor, had started an evangelism program called the Ethiopian Orthodox Mission (EOM).

  • It produced radio programs in Amharic, which Radio Voice of the Gospel broadcasted.
  • It also ran a cassette ministry with religious education, music, etc. The Mahber Kristos (mainly girls at Holy Trinity Cathedral) was recorded many times.

The early groups and vocalists included:

Yaredic-style gospel music was also propagated by Sarawita Kristos Mahber / Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society.

The Addis Ababa Meserete Kristos Choir sang at Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Gospel music after 1991

» See overview of Orthodox Tewahedo soloists

» See overview of Orthodox Tewahedo choirs

» See overview of Orthodox Tewahedo YouTube channels


» View Amharic EOTC hymnals: with music notations · lyrics only

» Read manuscript with EOTC hymns in Hadiyya language

» Visit web page on EOTC liturgy

» View bibliography on EOTC liturgy and spirituality

» View bibliography on histories of Christianity in Ethiopia


There is little information available in English language on the gospel music of this community. If you can help fill our knowledge gaps, please contact us via the form at the bottom of this page.