Inside Story

What’s behind the crisis in Ethiopia’s Orthodox Tewahedo Church?

A group of rebel bishops declared their own assembly in the Oromia region.

Ethiopia’s Orthodox Tewahedo Church is one of the largest and oldest in Africa.

But there has been a split within its ranks after three bishops formed their own patriarchate they named “Oromia and Nations and Nationalities Synod” last month.

The move led to weeks of unrest, divisions and violence in some regions. The government has banned rallies and restricted social media.

But the fallout could still have ramifications for the church itself and the country.

So what is behind this schism in the Ethiopian Orthodox church?

Presenter: Mohammed Jamjoom


Father Alemayehu Desta – a priest at the Holy Trinity Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Dallas, Texas in the US

Arega Getaneh – a theologian specialising in Ethiopia’s religious groups

Tewodrose Tirfe – chairman of the Amhara Association of America