Matthew is said to have died in Ethiopia. The Kingdom of Aksum was one of the first nations to officially accept Christianity , when St. Many believe that the Gospel had entered Ethiopia even earlier, with the royal official described as being baptised by Philip the Evangelist in chapter eight of the Acts of the Apostles Acts 8: Orthodox Christianity has a long history in Ethiopia dating back to the 1st century, and is dominant in northern and central Ethiopia.
Both Orthodox and Protestant Christianity have large representations in southern and western Ethiopia. A small ancient group of Jews , the Beta Israel , live in northwestern Ethiopia, though most emigrated to Israel in the last decades of the 20th century as part of the rescue missions undertaken by the Israeli government, Operation Moses and Operation Solomon.
Today, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church , part of Oriental Orthodoxy , is by far the largest denomination, though a number of Protestant P'ent'ay churches have recently gained ground. Abyssinia is also mentioned in the Qur'an and Hadith. While many Ethiopians claim that the Bible references of Kush apply to their own ancient civilization, pointing out that the Gihon river, a name for the Nile , is said to flow through the land, some scholars believe that the use of the term referred to the Kingdom of Kush in particular, or Africa outside of Egypt in general.
The modern name Ethiopia is from the Greek term Aethiopia used to translate Kush, and was applied to all of Sub-Saharan Africa, including what is now Sudan , but with a few classical geographers giving more detailed descriptions of present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea e. Islam in Ethiopia A mosque in Ethiopia. Islam in Ethiopia dates back to the founding of the religion; in , when a group of Muslims were counseled by Muhammad to escape persecution in Mecca and travel to Ethiopia via modern-day Eritrea , which was ruled by Ashama ibn Abjar , a pious Christian king.
Moreover, Bilal ibn Ribah , the first Muezzin , the person chosen to call the faithful to prayer, and one of the foremost companions of Muhammad, was from Abyssinia Eritrea, Ethiopia etc. Also, the largest single ethnic group of non-Arab Companions of Muhammad was that of the Ethiopians. According to the most recent CSA governmental data, Muslims are State Department, however, estimates that "approximately 45 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim. Islam first arrived in Ethiopia in with the First Migration to Abyssinia.
Addis Ababa , Ethiopia's capital city, is home to about , Muslims or Beta Israel Areas inhabited by the Beta Israel before their mass aliyah. The Beta Israel , also known as the Falashas though this term is considered derogatory , are a long-isolated group of African Jews who have lived in Ethiopia since antiquity.
Their existence was not widely known to the outside world for many years, and they likewise were not aware of other Jewish groups outside of their own community. After this, Operation Moses and Operation Solomon , conducted in and , respectively, airlifted the vast majority of the Ethiopian Jewish population to Israel, where there is currently a population of , Beta Israel.
A small Jewish community still exists in Ethiopia, although it is mostly composed of Falash Mura , Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity in the past, and as such have not been recognized as Jews by the State of Israel, but have returned to Judaism the Falash Mura now number some 22, Waaq An estimated 2. The largest numbers of practitioners of traditional religions are in the SNNPR about , people and Oromia , The Emperor himself was the defender of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, that also has a concept of Zion, although it represents a unique and complex concept, referring figuratively to St.
Mary , but also to Ethiopia as a bastion of Christianity surrounded by Muslims and other religions, much like Mount Zion in the Bible[ citation needed ]. It is also used to refer to Axum , the ancient capital and religious centre of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, or to its primary church, called Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion. There is no state religion, and it is forbidden to form political parties based upon religion; all religious groups are required to register with the government, and renew their registration once every three years.
It is a crime in Ethiopia to incite one religion against another. There is some tension between members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Protestant Christians, as well as between the Ethiopian Orthodox and Muslims.
A study estimates some , believers in Christ from a Muslim background in the country.