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Spring 1999 · Vol. 28 No. 1 · pp. 88–100 

Reverse Contextualization: Jesuit Encounter with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Calvin E. Shenk

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is rooted deeply in the culture of Ethiopia. It is considered by some to be the most profound expression of Ethiopia’s national existence and the most important cultural factor in the lives of Ethiopians. The religious orientation represented by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was a unifying factor in Ethiopia throughout the centuries. Its deep rootage in the lives of the people is evidenced by the way in which the Church has been preserved since the fourth century in spite of repeated threats from enemies within and outside of Ethiopia.

The reformative plan of Jesuit Pero Paez was to gradually bring the Ethiopian emperor and persons of influence to recognize the superiority of Western Christianity, hoping that customs not in harmony with Western Christianity would be abandoned and new practices substituted.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church accepted the decisions of the three major church councils. In many respects the theology of the Ethiopian Church today is the theology of these councils. The Church followed the Egyptian Coptic Church in rejecting the decision of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, which gave official approval to the doctrine of the two natures of Christ. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is commonly called Monophysite, although it prefers the term tewahido (made one). With several Eastern churches it is called anti-Chalcedonian or non-Chalcedonian. {89}


The unique aspects of contextualization must be understood against the background of several significant events. Isolation from the Christian world and the presence of enemies threatening her survival turned Ethiopia inward and made her rely on her own theological resources. At the same time the political and religious center of Ethiopian civilization moved southward and came increasingly into contact with non-Christians. These non-Christians were Christianized though often marginally. It is therefore not surprising that the Church is often considered syncretistic, fusing aspects of Judaism and primal religion with its theology and practice.

Several important Judaistic practices are part of the Church. The concept and function of the tabot (ark) is very similar to the Old Testament understanding of the ark. Each church has a tabot which is a copy of the original one, thought to be at Axum. The bishop consecrates the tabot rather than the church building. Just as David danced before the ark in 2 Samuel 6:14-15, the Ethiopian clergy at the Feast of Timket sing and dance as the ark is taken from the church building in procession.

The threefold division of the Ethiopian Church building is based upon the temple of Solomon. The innermost part where the ark rests is called the mekedes. Here only the senior priests and kings are admitted. The middle section is called the kiddist, where the priests and those receiving communion stand. The outside ambulatory, the kine mahlet, is where the hymns are sung by the debterra (cantors) and where many of the congregation stand.

Ethiopian religious music is believed to have similarities to Hebrew music. The twofold division of Israelite priesthood is paralleled in Ethiopia. The clergy of the Old Testament were divided into priests and Levites, with the Levites responsible for choral functions. In the Ethiopian Church there are priests and debterra, the debterra being comparable to the Levites. The idea of religious dancing is taken from the Old Testament, as is antiphonal singing and chanting of psalms. Even the musical instruments of Ethiopia appear to have a certain likeness to Old Testament instruments or have at least drawn inspirations from them.

Ethiopians maintain strict dietary laws based upon food laws of the Pentateuch. They follow in detail the teaching of Leviticus regarding mammals and birds, and even the statement in Genesis 32:33 concerning the forbidden sinew (shulluda). They refuse to eat animals which do not chew the cud or have cloven hooves. Slaughtering and bleeding of animals is performed according to Pentateuchal requirements as found in {90} Genesis 9:4 and Leviticus 3:17; 4:6.

There are strict regulations concerning ritual cleanness. Anyone who is unclean from sexual intercourse, seminal flow, or menstruation may not enter a church. Sexual relations are forbidden during menstruation and during days of fasting. A man who is present at childbirth is considered unclean, and women may not enter the church for forty days after giving birth. Only Jews and Ethiopians practice circumcision on the eighth day. The days for baptizing infants (forty days for male and eighty days for female) seem to follow Jewish laws of presentation at the temple.

The observance of the Sabbath in addition to Sunday was a deeply rooted practice in Ethiopia but the exact meaning of the Ethiopian Sabbath was not always clear. Hebrew influence on holiday celebrations may be less obvious but equally important. The Ethiopian New Year (September 11) is almost certainly related to the New Year of the Jewish Calendar. Ethiopian Easter (Fasika) has overtones of the Jewish Passover (Pesach), both in name and observance.

There is no doubt that much of Ethiopian culture has been affected by the biblical Hebraic tradition, but though many traditions stem from Judaism, Ethiopia adapted and reshaped them to fit the peculiar character of her Christianity. This reshaping is for the most part consistent with basic Christian ideas. Jewish concepts supplied a form in which Christian understandings were clothed. 1


In addition to the Hebraic influences on Ethiopian Christianity, it is obvious that certain remnants of primal religion have given a distinguishing feature to the Church. Some of these practices have been accommodated by the Church but many more form a substructure that is part of the life of people who are members of the Church but feel the need for additional resources to meet life’s exigencies (even though the Church may officially condemn such beliefs).

Gods of primal religions were not completely destroyed, but were modified as good or evil spirits. Belief in the evil eye and the importance of fetishes and charms is common. Belief in the power of spirits is common with Satan being the most powerful spirit. Amulets contain scripture and are decorated with saints. The most powerful amulet is the cross. Priests and debterra sometimes perform rites of exorcism.

Holy springs, believed to originate from the Jordan River, are named after Christ, Mary, or the Saints. Hot springs, in addition to being places {91} of healing, are frequently given religious interpretations. Drinking holy water is common. Sacred trees are important as objects of devotion. Some Christian holiday celebrations appear to reflect elements of primal religions.

Ethiopian Christianity adapted beliefs and symbols which reflected and reinforced indigenous African tradition. The Church either absorbed or transfigured that which suited its purposes. Sometimes one of the three strands—Christianity, Judaism, primal religion—seems to dominate more than another. Themes such as incorporation into the community, celebration of community, fertility, concern for power, mediation, concern for taboos and purification, pilgrimage to sacred sites, and customs concerning the dead are quite obvious.

Though numerous practices of Ethiopian Christians are derived from primal religions, there have been attempts to bring them into harmony with the requirements of Christianity. There is not always a necessary correspondence between the original meaning and its significance in a Christianized form. Whether the primal or Christian dominates varies from place to place, depending upon the quality of nurture. Yet certain practices persist in the lives of the Christian populace without the official approval of the Church or even in spite of teaching against them. 2


Jesuit Asian experience is introduced here in order to note contrasts with some of the Jesuit approaches to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The Jesuit mission in South and East Asia is often applauded because of the way Jesuits pioneered in contextualization.

Francis Xavier

Francis Xavier (1506-1552) was a great pioneer of Jesuit mission in South and East Asia. He sailed for India in 1541 and on May 6, 1542, he arrived at Goa, the Portuguese colony on the west coast of India. He spent three years in India, was in Malucca and Malacca from 1544 to 1548, and in 1549 went to Japan for two years.

Xavier was regarded by many as being the greatest Roman Catholic missionary of all time and one of the greatest missionaries in all of the Christian Church. Through imagination and creativity he opened new paths for Christian faith. He respected the Japanese and had a good grasp of the social and political situation in Japan. Stephen Neill stated that Xavier understood that “while the Gospel must transform, refine and recreate, it need not reject as worthless everything that had gone before.” {92} 3

Matteo Ricci

Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) was born a few months after the death of Xavier. Ricci was the chief pioneer of Jesuits in China, remaining in China from 1583 to 1610. As missionary and Jesuit superior for all of China, Ricci was the most famous Catholic missionary in the East after Xavier. The missionary methods of Ricci and his followers placed the Roman Catholic Church in a favorable position in seventeenth-century China.

Ricci adopted aspects of Chinese culture. He wore the clothing of Confucian scholars. He began to translate the Confucian classics, believing that Christianity was congenial to much of the teaching in the Chinese classics. Ricci wanted to reach the highest level of Asian society. Knowing that the Chinese were suspicious of things foreign, he sought to reach the wise men from the East with the Christian message.

Ricci’s most noteworthy achievement was his attempt to adapt the Christian message to Chinese religion and culture. He worked at finding Chinese equivalents for Christian terms and explored how Chinese customs could be reconciled with Christian principles. He tried to get Christianity to make peace with Confucianism. By so doing, he was able to get the respect of Chinese scholars and officials, and he witnessed the conversion of some of them.

Ricci believed that a complete break with Confucianism was not necessary. He employed Shang Ti and T’ien, terms for God found in the ancient Chinese classics. Ricci was very generous in his interpretation of ancestor veneration, which he regarded as a mode of respect. Ancestor veneration and Confucian temple rites were not seen as idolatrous compromises of Christian faith but as rites integral to family life and having civil significance. He believed Christianity was not antagonistic either to the family or to the state.

In spite of Ricci’s success in bringing into being a Chinese Christian Church and Chinese Christian literature, missionaries from other Roman Catholic orders resisted his experiments in contextualization. Spanish missionaries, especially Dominicans, opposed Ricci’s attempts to accommodate the Christian message to eastern conditions. The methods adopted by Ricci led to the “Rites Controversy” among missionaries in China and India.

Robert de Nobili

Robert de Nobili (1577-1656), an Italian Jesuit, arrived in South India to Madurai in 1605 and remained there for nearly fifty years. Like other Jesuits he engaged in bold experiments. He wanted to win Indians {93} by becoming an Indian. Nobili studied and mastered Tamil as well as Sanskrit languages. He identified with the high caste Brahmins by studying their customs, refusing to eat meat or wear leather shoes, adopting the robe of a holy man, cultivating their ascetic way of life, becoming intellectually astute, and adopting Tamil terms for Christian concepts. Nobili tried to contextualize Christianity in order to win the upper classes. He believed if one would win the Brahmins to Christian faith the remaining parts of the population might be attracted to Christianity. His goal was to win India through its natural leaders.

Fellow missionaries were critical of Nobili, accusing him of compromising with paganism by retaining pagan customs. Furthermore, to recognize caste distinctions was seen as a betrayal of the gospel.

When Xavier, Ricci, and Nobili attempted to accommodate Japanese, Chinese, and Indian cultural values, they clearly ascribed worth to these cultures and religions. In Asia the Jesuits were flexible instruments in the expansion of the Roman Catholic Church. Ricci and Nobili sought to reach the highest levels of Asian society.

Catholic Jesuits in Asia spoke and worked for accommodation or contextualization. They were reluctant to insist that people change their customs so long as such customs were not opposed to Christian faith or morality. But within the Catholic Church there were conflicting opinions, especially from Franciscans and Dominicans.

The contextualized Ethiopian Orthodox Church experienced the Jesuits both at their best and at their worst. But in the end Ethiopian’s encounter with Jesuits illustrates insensitivity to contextual forms and policies that led to reverse contextualization.


The Sixteenth Century

In the face of Islamic invasions, Ethiopian Emperor Lebna Dengel (1508-1540) asked Portugal for aid. Lebna Dengel seems to have attempted to bring the Ethiopian Church, without changing its character or doctrine, under the jurisdiction of the Church of Rome, hoping thereby to get the support of Portugal and other Christian powers. In 1541 Portuguese troops arrived from India but Lebna Dengel had died a year earlier. Emperor Gelewodos (1540-1559) continued to struggle against the Muslims with the aid of the Portuguese. So aided, the Ethiopians were able to save their ancient kingdom and heritage. But their salvation had come at a late hour, leaving Ethiopia weak and exhausted. 4

In the middle of the sixteenth century a new threat arose: Oromo {94} invasions. In the midst of the disorganization caused by Muslim and Oromo invasions, the Church and state were faced with another very difficult problem growing out of the Portuguese experience in Ethiopia. Lebna Dengel, who had been eager to have closer contact with the Roman Catholics, arranged for a Portuguese priest, Jaao Bermudez, who had come to Ethiopia as part of the Portuguese envoy, to head the Ethiopian Church. This was interpreted as the emperor’s sincere desire to be reunited with Rome. When Bermudez pressed Emperor Gelewodos to accept Roman customs and submit to the Pope, he permanently alienated Gelewodos from Rome. 5

Meanwhile the Jesuits became interested in Ethiopia and the Pope entrusted to them the task of organizing an expedition headed by Bishop Andrew de Oviedo. 6 When he arrived in Ethiopia he was imprisoned and threatened with death. Upon his release the Pope recalled him and he died a few months later. 7 St. Ignatius, who had given instruction for the Jesuits going to Ethiopia, recommended tolerance for the Hebrew character of the Ethiopian Church so that its customs could be retained so long as they were consistent with the substance of the Roman faith. 8

Jesuit Pero Paez

A Spanish Jesuit, Pero Paez, who came to Ethiopia in 1603, was the most tactful and successful of the Roman Catholic missionaries. Paez’ approach to Ethiopian Christianity was sensitive. He made no attempt to evangelize the people but concentrated on the court (as Ricci had done in China). He studied the language (Geez and Amharic) and cultures of the country. He engaged in personal study and in the education of children.

Emperor Za Dengel, who replaced Gelewodos, was a man of education with a keen interest in theology. Paez dealt with the emperor following the instructions suggested by Ignatius. 9 When Za Dengel confided to Paez his intent to become Roman Catholic, Paez advised Za Dengel to exercise caution. Though Za Dengel converted to Catholicism, it was initially kept secret. But Za Dengel’s zeal exceeded the caution recommended by Paez. Later when Za Dengel declared his obedience to Pope Clement III, he acknowledged that he had been inspired by Paez’ learning and asked for other priests to teach the people the way Paez had taught. 10 He also asked that Paez be Patriarch.

Za Dengel’s hasty approach to Rome had even worse consequences then Paez had feared. Paez urged secrecy but this was violated. When Za Dengel declared openly his obedience to the Pope, the clergy were alarmed and a rebellion broke out. This led the Egyptian Abuna to excommunicate the emperor and release Ethiopians from their oath of {95} allegiance to him. 11 Paez urged the emperor to retreat, but the emperor was later executed after being in power for less than a year. 12

On the death of Za Dengel a period of intrigue and fighting followed until Susenyos declared himself heir to the throne. He was acknowledged emperor in 1607 with the support of the Portuguese.

Paez was very sensitive in religious matters related to the origin of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, its Alexandrian connection, the Monophysite doctrine concerning one nature of Christ, and the impact of Hebrew culture on the Church’s life. Paez discovered that it was not just particular beliefs that were obstacles to reunion with Rome, but the pride of people in their religion which they had preserved for eleven hundred years. He knew there was little value in confrontation. 13

His plan was to gradually bring the emperor and persons of influence to recognize the superiority of Western Christianity, hoping that customs not in harmony with Western Christianity would be abandoned and new practices substituted. Paez understood that Ethiopia was rightly proud of its Christianity and that change in religion occurs very slowly. He looked for what he could commend—their simple understanding of God, their honor of Mary, real presence in the Lord’s Supper. He had an open mind and was prepared to compromise. 14

Paez had theological discussions with the emperor. Susenyos was drawn to Rome not only because of his admiration for Paez, but because of his hope for military assistance against the Oromo. But Paez insisted that the time had not yet come for the emperor to declare himself Catholic. Both had seen the revolt that Za Dengel’s sudden conversion to Catholicism precipitated and both were determined to move with caution. Susenyos did, however, convene a conference on the comparative merits of the two religions. 15

Paez used Ethiopian materials such as Haimanot Abew (Faith of Our Fathers) which were considered authoritative by Ethiopians. Though the material was Monophysite in tenor, it contained passages that were in harmony with Roman Catholic teaching and enabled Paez to support his position. 16 Paez worked with caution. In none of his letters did he ask for more Jesuits because this would have inspired fear in the Alexandrian monks.

Following the directions laid down by St. Ignatius, Paez concentrated on the court, the nobles, and persons of influence. It was the policy that Ricci had pursued with success. Paez knew that Ethiopia’s tradition was a vital part of its religious heritage. He urged the emperor to respect those Ethiopian rites which were not in conflict with Roman Catholic teaching. {96} 17

The Jesuits demonstrated the Geez could be used as a liturgical language. Often in theological discussions the emperor would support the Jesuit position. The emperor was often against the Egyptian abunas and compared his life unfavorably with the Jesuits. 18

Though Susenyos was converted to the Catholic faith, he was careful to avoid the mistakes of Za Dengel. He spent his first years consolidating his position before he declared his belief in the two natures of Christ. When the Egyptian Abuna excommunicated him, Susenyos was powerful enough to compel retraction. In 1612 he openly professed the Catholic faith and issued a proclamation expanding the true doctrine of Chalcedon and exposing the loose morals of recent abunas. 19

Susenyos announced complete submission to Rome, attacked the Alexandrian Church as heretical, and discouraged the observance of the Sabbath. 20 The favor shown by Susenyos to the Jesuits caused the monks to be jealous and call upon the people to revolt. The first encounter between the emperor and Abuna Simon was stormy. Abuna Simon publicly excommunicated the emperor and the Alexandrian party continued to incite the people against the Jesuits. 21

Jesuit Alfonso Mendez

Following the death of Paez in 1622, Alfonso Mendez replaced him. Mendez, a Spanish priest, was consecrated in Lisbon as Patriarch of Ethiopia in 1624, and arrived in Ethiopia in 1625. In anticipation of the Patriarch’s arrival the emperor went to Axum, the cradle of Ethiopian Christianity, in 1624. There he issued a letter giving his reasons for becoming Roman Catholic and stating the principle articles of his newly adopted creed. One of the compelling reasons for his conversion was the life of Jesuit missionaries. 22

The emperor, holding the Bible, knelt before the Patriarch and took the oath of allegiance to the Pope. 23 After his reception by the emperor, Mendez made his first blundering proclamations. No clergy or monks were to offer mass or perform any ecclesiastical function until they had been authorized by Mendez. The emperor gave Mendez property traditionally given as endowment to the Abuna, and land to establish a missionary college. Ethiopians were sent to Rome for instruction. Mendez was confident that the reconciliation of the Ethiopian Church and Rome was complete, but there was still much resentment. 24

In Ethiopia, Mendez proceeded to reform the Church and tried to convert the country by force. He was overbearing, narrow-minded, and bigoted. He assembled political dignitaries and had Susenyos swear loyalty to the Patriarch as representative of the Pope. He forced the emperor {97} to reject Monophysitism for the whole population.

The priests were reordained, circumcision was forbidden, people rebaptized, churches reconsecrated, and Roman altars erected. Images, considered idolatry by Ethiopians, were introduced into the churches. People were encouraged to work on the Sabbath. The calendar was brought into conformity with Rome and the liturgy was changed, except that Geez was retained. Mendez had the bones of a famous monk of Debre Libanos dug up because the Church was not to be defiled by the body of a schismatic. 25

Mendez demanded that Ethiopians discard the faith and practices that they had cherished and defended for more than a thousand years. Ordinary members thought they were being ensnared by false religion. Though Mendez brought more Jesuit missionaries into the country, the people considered them the devil’s missionaries. 26

Mendez showed little appreciation for the commendable practices of Ethiopian Christians. He did not understand how their recent struggles against Islam increased their commitment to nationhood. Neither did he realize the resistance that was building up against the Jesuits. When it was obvious that people in many parts of the country were rejecting Roman Catholicism, Mendez made his greatest blunder by asking the emperor to impose Catholicism by force. 27

Because of these reforms, revolt after revolt broke out. Opposition arose from the imperial family, the clergy, and ordinary Ethiopians. The emperor’s son, Fasilades, led a ferocious reaction against the alien priests. 28 Ordinary Ethiopians had little knowledge of doctrine, but their whole life was anchored in the national ethos of the Ethiopian Monophysite Church.

The kingdom fell into disorder. When the emperor tried to compromise, Mendez rebuked him. Fasilades urged him to retreat, and Susenyos asked Mendez to make three concessions: (1) restore the ancient liturgy of the mass; (2) return to Wednesday fasting instead of Saturday fasting; and (3) celebrate feasts according to the Ethiopian calendar. To these Mendez agreed.

When Susenyos was asked to allow the people to choose their own Church—Ethiopia or Rome—the emperor granted this despite the protest of Mendez. 29 After more bloodshed, the emperor, at the urging of his son Fasilades, called a council in 1632. The council decided to restore the Alexandrian rite and Canon law. 30 Susenyos urged the clergy to return to their churches, erect their own altars, and celebrate their own liturgy. He then abdicated in favor of his son Fasilades, who sought to reunite Church and state. {98}

Susenyos died in 1632 professing allegiance to the Roman faith. He ended his days in sadness because he consented to Mendez’ ambition to immediately achieve the conversion of the whole country to the Roman Catholic Church. 31

When the Jesuits came to congratulate Fasilades he refused to see them or even allow them to remain in court. He deprived them of their lands and firearms. Jesuits were criticized because they reordained priests and deacons and consecrated altars of their own. Though Mendez was ready for concession, it was too late. What Paez had achieved could no longer be salvaged. 32

Mendez then sought to arrange Portuguese troops to be sent against Fasilades, but Fasilades ordered Mendez and all Jesuits out of the country. When Mendez reached India, he sought military help. But Jesuits criticized his proposal because it sought to extend religion by conquest rather than through pastoral action. 33


The state was held together not by mere nationalism, but by an adherence to the Ethiopian Church and a vacillating loyalty to the emperor. The civil war caused by the conversions of Za Dengel and Susenyos shows to what extent the Church was needed for national unity. The spiritual and doctrinal stability of the Ethiopian Church had been disturbed. Ethiopia’s isolation gave it a conservative and nationalist spirit. They were deeply attached to the doctrines and customs of their ancient Church. Ethiopia’s reception of the first representatives of Western Christianity was friendly; the emperor seemed willing to admit abuses and was prepared to reform. However, the emperor was more open to change then the clergy or the masses of people. 34

The Jesuit experience was bitter and left its impression on the Ethiopian Church for years to come. For two centuries doctrinal controversies arose from the need to reexamine the influence left by the Jesuit missionaries. 35

Jesuits did not make the best use of their opportunities. One cardinal error was to send a Latin Patriarch to the country. This looked like foreign domination. A second error was the controversy over doctrinal questions. A third error was interference with local customs (e.g., circumcision, Sabbath).

Ethiopians were a proud Christian people who had defended and propagated their faith for centuries against a surrounding “infidel” world. Mendez acted as if the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was pagan—rebaptizing them, reordaining their priests, reconsecrating their churches. {99} If the Jesuits had contextualized themselves—according to the principles of Paez—with a policy of education and had restrained, instead of spurring on, the fervor of royal conversion, it is possible that they might have succeeded. Instead, the Jesuits so embittered the Ethiopians toward foreigners that the Christian emperor enlisted his traditional enemies—the Muslim Turks—to keep foreign Christians out of his country. The suspicion and hatred for Catholics remained a long time. 36

If the policies of Paez had been followed, it is possible that the contextualized Ethiopian Church might have reformed and continued to maintain its unique contextualized character. Paez’ missionary achievement matches that of his contemporary Matteo Ricci in China. 37 He was broad-minded, diplomatic, sincere, painstaking, courteous, and patient. He was faithful to the instructions of St. Ignatius. He sought to understand the Ethiopian mind, but his efforts were disregarded by Mendez and those acting under his direction.

Mendez’ policies were characterized by impatience, intolerance, and narrow-mindedness. His use of political power created suspicion and division from the beginning. He disregarded the Church’s depth of contextualization in Ethiopian culture. His policies worked against contextualization and could best be characterized as reverse contextualization.


  1. See Calvin E. Shenk, “The Ethiopian Orthodox Church: A Study in Indigenization,” Missiology 16:3 (July 1988): 259-65.
  2. Ibid., 265-70.
  3. Stephen Neill, A History of Christian Missions (Middlesex: Penguin, 1964), 156.
  4. Edward Ullendorff, The Ethiopians (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), 74-75.
  5. Philip Caraman, The Lost Empire: The Story of the Jesuits (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame, 1985), 7-9.
  6. Richard Pankhurst, An Introduction to the Economic History of Ethiopia (London: Lalibela House, 1961), 81, 83. {100}
  7. DeLacy O’Leary, The Ethiopian Church (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1936), 62.
  8. Caraman, 11.
  9. Ibid., 49.
  10. Ibid., 53.
  11. A. H. M. Jones and Elizabeth Monroe, A History of Ethiopia (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), 94.
  12. Caraman, 55-56.
  13. Ibid., 63-66.
  14. Ibid., 68.
  15. Ibid., 80-81.
  16. Ibid., 82-83.
  17. Ibid., 121-24.
  18. Ibid., 83-87.
  19. Jones and Monroe, 94, 96.
  20. O’Leary, 66.
  21. Ibid., 121.
  22. Ibid., 139.
  23. Ibid., 142.
  24. O’Leary, 67.
  25. Richard Pankhurst, 81-83.
  26. Caraman, 144.
  27. Ibid., 148-50.
  28. David Buxton, The Abyssinians (Southhampton: Camelot, 1970), 53.
  29. Caraman, 151.
  30. Jones and Monroe, 97; O’Leary, 69-70.
  31. Caraman, 153.
  32. Ibid., 154.
  33. Ibid., 155-56.
  34. Jones and Monroe, 100.
  35. Taddesse Tamrat, “Persecution and Religious Controversies,” in The Church of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Orthodox Church (Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Orthodox Church, 1970), 29.
  36. Jones and Monroe, 101.
  37. Caraman, 1.
Calvin Shenk is Professor of Religion at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. He and his wife, Marie, served as missionaries in Ethiopa from 1961 to 1975 and return there each summer to teach.
I knew Hans Kasdorf when he was teaching missiology at Fresno. We often met at conventions of the American Society of Missiology or participated in Mennonite mission consultations such as the Council of International Ministries. We shared a kindred spirit and often had similar convictions.

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