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Home ETHIOPIA CATHOLIC CHURCH

The Ethiopian Catholic Church

Short history of the Ethiopian Catholic Church
Bishops of Ethiopia
The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church
The Apostolic Nunciature
The Apostolic Nuncio to Ethiopia
Counsellor of the Nunciature
Community of Religious Sisters at the Apostolic Nunciature
 

SHORT HISTORY OF THE ETHIOPIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

 

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE WORLD

The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ two thousand years ago. Jesus entrusted his Church to his Twelve Apostles, the first bishops, who spread the Christian faith throughout the known world. The word "catholic" means "universal." Indeed, today the Catholic Church is present everywhere in the world: there are over one billion Catholic Christians, making it one of the globe's largest religions.

The leader and guarantor of unity of the original Twelve Apostles was the Apostle Peter who became bishop of Rome and was martyred there. Peter's 265th successor as Bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church is the current Pope, Benedict XVI, who has started serving as Pope since the 19th of April 2005.

While faithful to its own doctrinal and moral teachings, the Catholic Church believes in the freedom of conscience and of religion. Thus, the Church is committed to dialogue and cooperation with other Christian and non-Christian religions, with all men and women of goodwill.

The Church is an institution, which is at the same time both divine and human and uses human instruments and structures to survive in the world; it never finds once for all a formula for dealing with earthly powers.

The Catholic Church has been present in Africa since its inception almost two thousand years ago. According to Biblical tradition, Jesus himself spent three years of his childhood on the African Continent, in Egypt. Since then, over two millennia, countless generations of African Catholic bishops and priests, religious sisters and brothers, faithful men, women and children, have worshipped and prayed, have taught and passed on their faith-yes, at times have even died for their faith. The Catholic Church in Africa has given the world early Popes like Saint Victor, great theologians like the Fourth Century Saint Augustine of North Africa, courageous martyrs like Ugandan Saint Charles Lwanga and his companions, Blessed Gebre Michael in Ethiopia and modem witnesses like Saint Josephine Bakhita of Sudan.

SHORT HISTORY OF THE ETHIOPIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

The Catholic Church has been present in Ethiopia from the beginning of Christianity. The Bible's Acts of the Apostles tells how one of the first converts to Christianity was an Ethiopian, baptized by the Apostle St. Philip (Acts 8:26-40).

However, due to some problems such as shortage of priests, distant location of the country from the Holy see, the closure of the main means of communication with the Christian world by non Christians, and especially the hindrances by a local church privileged by the Government until recent years, the expansion of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia was slow.

Around the year 341 A.D., Saint Frumentius (Abune Salama Kesatie Berhan) was consecrated the first Bishop of Ethiopia by the great Saint Athanasius,Patriarch of Alexandria, who was in union with the Bishop of Rome. Thus the Bishop of Alexandria was the bridge between the Bishop of Rome and the Bishop of Ethiopia.

When the Church in Alexandria and in Ethiopia split from the Church in Rome in the sixth century due to an unfortunate Christological misunderstanding, the Church which had been one became divided.

Between the 13th_18th centuries, various consistent missionary attempts had been carried out in Ethiopia to re-introduce Catholicism. Since there was already a Christian church in the Country, Most of the missionary attempts were not concerned with the conversion of the non-Christians, but securing the adhesion to the Holy See of the existing Church. Yet these missions eventually failed due to the national-religious attachment of the Ethiopians, in particular, the Coptic party, to their Monophysite doctrine, and the strict link between religious and political struggles.

It was since 1839 that Msgr. Giustino De Jacobies, and later on in 1846, that Cardinal Massaja restarted the Catholic missionaries activities, which were interrupted by the I persecution that broke out against the catholic mission in the 17th century. The Catholic Christians presently found in Ethiopia are mostly the fruit of the vigorous apostolate of the above-mentioned two great missionaries: St. Giustino De Jacobis, and Cardinal Guglielmo Massaja.

In the 1940s, Emperor Haile Selassie invited Jesuit priests to found the University College, which became Haile Selassie University (now Addis Ababa University), the first university in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Catholic Church is especially close to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, whose doctrine and liturgical tradition she shares. While separated by their understanding of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, the Ethiopian Catholic and Orthodox Churches have basically the same sacraments, the same prayers, the same devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the angels and the saints, the same traditions: the same faith. For this reason, the Ethiopian Catholic Church does not proselytize Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, but strives for brotherly cooperation. Indeed, Ethiopian Catholics pray and work in hope for the day that the Ethiopian Catholic and Orthodox Churches will unite in full communion.

The Ethiopian Catholic Church is also close to her Protestant Christian brothers and sisters who share one another's faith in Jesus Christ, love for the Bible, new life through baptism, and devotion to personal prayer.

In its relationships with all religions, the Catholic Church stresses what unites, not what divides, and seeks to grow in understanding and cooperation with everyone. For more information about Catholic beliefs and practices, consult the reference book entitled The Catechism of the Catholic Church, available at the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat.

Today Catholic and Orthodox Church leaders acknowledge that no serious theological controversy separates the Ethiopian Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Indeed, they use the same Profession of Faith, the Niceo-Constatinopolitan Creed. Again, they are separated only by their understanding of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, and continue to pray and work for full unity.

The Ethiopian Catholic Church has two great liturgical traditions: from Addis Ababa northward, the sacred liturgy is celebrated in the Ge'ez Rite, just as in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church; from Addis Ababa southward, the sacred liturgy is celebrated according to the Latin Rite, that is, a different style of liturgy which uses the  local languages.

The Catholic Church in Ethiopia, as in the rest of the world, is divided into territorial divisions headed by a bishop. Each bishop is entrusted with the religious and social care of the people in his territory, assisted by many priests, sisters, religious brothers and lay leaders. The coordination of all religious and social activities is done by the bishop's local Catholic Secretariat.

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BISHOPS OF ETHIOPIA


Most Rev.Archbishop
Berhaneyesus D. Souraphiel, CM

Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa
P.O.Box 21903, Addis Ababa
Tel:   00.251.0111.11.16.67
         00.251.0111.55.00.03
Fax:  00.251.0111.55.13.48
         00.251.0111.55.31.13
E-mail:  adaa@
ethionet.et
             ecs@
ethionet.et
 

 

 

Most Reverend Abune Lesanu-Christos Matheos

Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa

Catholic Archbishop's House

P.O.Box 21903,   Addis Abeba, Ethiopia

Tel:  00.251.011.111.16.67

Fax: 00.251.011.155.13.48

E-Mail:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Rodrigo Mejia, SJ

Vicar Apostolic of Soddo
P.O.Box 132, Soddo
Tel:   00.251.0465.51.20.61
Fax:  00.251.0465.51.20.63
E-mail: sdcoshcs@
ethionet.et

 

 

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Yohannes Migliorati, MCCJ

Vicar Apostolic of Awasa
P.O.Box 12, Awasa
Tel:  00.251.0462.20.23.50
        00.251.0462.20.23.49
        00.251.0462.20.23.98
Fax:  00.251.0462.20.23.48
E-mail: awcs@
ethionet.et
 

 

 

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Woldetensae Ghebreghiorghis, OFM,Cap.

 Vicar Apostolic of Harar
 P O Box 177, Harar
 Tel: 00.251.0256.66.04.17
 Fax: 00.251.0256.66.36.60
 E-Mail: hcs@
ethionet.et
 

 

 

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Theo Van Ruyven, CM

Vicar Apostolic of Nekemte
P.O.Box 14, Nekemte
Tel:   00.251.0576.61.13.58
         00.251.0576.61.16.26
                        (Nekemte)

P.O.Box: 5934, Addis Ababa
Tel:   00.251.0112.79.24.27
         00.251.0112.79.48.92
                  (Addis Ababa)
Fax:  00.251.0112.79.26.59
E-mail: ncs@
ethionet.et
 

 

 

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Tesfaselassie Medhin

Eparch of  Adigrat
P.O.Box 8, Adigrat
Tel:  00.251.0344.45.2138
Fax:  00.251.0344.45.26.30
E-mail: ceparad@
ethionet.et
 

 

 

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Abraham Desta

Vicar Apostolic of Meki
P.O.Box 43. Meki 
Tel:  00.251.0221.18.07.63
        00.251.0221.18.01.93
Fax: 00.251.0221 18.09.30
E-mail: mekivica@
ethionet.et
 

 

 

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Musie Ghebreghiorghis, OFM,Cap.

Eparch of Emdibir
P O Box 633, Addis Ababa
Tel: 00.251.0113.31.01.62
       00.251.0113.31.01.63
Fax: 00.251.0115.51.98.00
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

 

 

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Markos Gebremedhin, CM

Vicar Apostolic of Jimma-Bonga
P.O.Box 202, Jimma
Tel:  00.251.0471.11.02.83
        00.251.0471.11.04.34
Fax: 00.251.0471.11.06.35
        00.251.0471.11.04.34
E-mail: prefecture@
ethionet.et
 

 

 

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Angelo Moreschi, SDB

Vicar Apostolic of Gambella
P.O.Box 210, Gambella
Tel:  00.251.0475-51.08.16/51.06.65
Fax: 00.251.0475.51.06.66
        00.251.0475.51.08.17
E-Mail:  amoreschi@
ethionet.et
 

 

 

 Rt. Rev. Msgr. Woldeghiorgis Mathewos

Vicar Apostolic of Hosanna

P. O. Box  27, Hosanna

Tel/Fax:  00.251.046.555.34.46 (Res.)   046.555.01.14 (Office)

E-mail:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

 

 

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THE HIERARCHY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

The Central governing Body of the Catholic Church consists of His Holiness as the Supreme Pontiff, assisted by the College of Cardinals, the Secretariat of State, various Congregations, Pontifical Councils, Pontifical Commissions and other Offices. The Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, Vicars Apostolic, Prefects Apostolic and certain Abbots and other prelates together with His Holiness form the larger form of governing body of the Catholic Church.

HIS HOLINESS POPE Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J 

Born in Argentina, Pope Francis is the first  Latin American to lead the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the first Jesuit.

He was born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires, of Italian descent.

According to his official Vatican biography, he was ordained as a Jesuit in 1969 and went on to study in Argentina and Germany.

He became a bishop in 1992 and Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998.

 



THE APOSTOLIC NUNCIATURE

"The Roman Pontiff has an inherent and independent right to appoint Legates and to send them either to particular Churches in various countries or regions, or at the same time to States"  (Code of Canon Law, canon 362).  Therefore, "the principal task of a Papal Legate is continually to make more firm and effective the bonds of unity which exist between the Apostolic See and the particular Churches" (canon 364) as well as the role "of promoting and fostering relationships between the Apostolic See and the Authorities of the State" (canon 365).

An Apostolic Delegate is a permanent papal representative for the Church in a particular area, who is not formally accredited to the country's government.  Before 1973 Eritrea and Ethiopia were under the care of the Apostolic Delegate in Cairo, who could only rarely visit these countries. The first Apostolic Delegate resident in Addis Ababa was appointed on 25 March 1937.

Ethiopia established diplomatic relations with the Holy See on 20 March 1957 at the level of Legation on the part of Ethiopia and Inter-nunciature on the part of the Holy See. The level of representation was raised to that of Embassy and Nunciature on 8 March 1969.  On 15 July 1995 the State of Eritrea established diplomatic relations with the Holy See at the level of Embassy and Nunciature.  In May 2000 the Holy See and the Republic of Djibouti established full diplomatic relations. The Apostolic Nuncio to Ethiopia also served as Apostolic Nuncio to the State of Eritrea until August 2003.

Since January 2004, the Apostolic Nuncio to be resident in Addis Ababa is appointed as Apostolic Nuncio to Ethiopia, Djibouti and as Apostolic Delegate to Somalia.

The papal representatives resident in Addis Ababa have been H.E. Mgr. Gian Maria E. Castellani, OFM, first Delegate Apostolic to Ethiopia and first Vicar Apostolic for Addis Ababa, (appointed 25 March 1937), Mgr. Theodore Monnens, S.J (18 August 1946), Mgr. Joseph McGeough (9 May 1957) he was made Archbishop on his transfer to the Apostolic Delegation to Southern Africa), Archbishop Giuseppe Mojoli (27 September 1960), Archbishop Maurice Perrin (16 January 1970), Archbishop Ippolito Rotoli (15 November 1972), Archbishop Raymond Etteldorf (22 June 1974), Archbishop Thomas White (1 March 1983) Archbishop Patrick Coveney (25 January 1990), and Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi (June 27, 1996), Archbishop Ramiro Moliner Inglés (17 January 2004).

Address

The Apostolic Nunciature
Makanissa Road.
P.O.Box 588, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Region:  Addis Ababa
Kifle Ketema:  Nifa Silk/Lafto
Kebele:  5
Tel: 00.251.1.71.21.00
Fax: 00.251.1.71.14.99
Telegraphic:  NUNTIUS, Addis Ababa
E-Mail:  vatican.embassy@
ethionet.et

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APOSTOLIC NUNCIO TO ETHIOPIA, TO DJIBOUTI APOSTOLIC DELEGATE TO SOMALIA SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE TO AFRICAN UNION

H.E. Archbishop George Panikulam, Apostolic Nuncio

 

COUNSELLOR OF THE NUNCIATURE

Msgr. Paul Butnaru, Secretary

THE COMMUNITY OF RELIGIOUS SISTERS AT THE APOSTOLIC NUNCIATURE

CONGREGATION OF SISTERS OF MARTHA AND MARY (HCMM)
from Guatemala, since September 2006

No.

Name

Profession

Location

1

Sr. Rosa Lidia Raymundo Lopez (Superior)

29/07/1991

Nunciature

2

Sr. Ada Ilda Argueta Y Argueta

06/05/2000

Nunciature

3

Sr. Paula Nohemi Lucas Ruano

17/04/2004

Nunciature

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