The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is one of the largest Orthodox churches and the largest of the Oriental Orthodox Christian Churches. The Ethiopian Church was administratively part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria since the first half of the 4th century until 1959, when it was granted its own Patriarch by the Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa, Cyril VI.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, being one of the oldest Christian churches and a non-Chalcedonian Church, is not in communion with the Ethiopian Catholic Church, a Chalcedonian Church. Ethiopia is the second country only after Armenia to have officially proclaimed Christianity as state religion (in 333AD) though some argue it may even be the first.
One of the few pre-colonial Christian Churches in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has a membership of between 45 and 50 million people, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia, and is thus the largest of all Oriental Orthodox Churches. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is a founding member of the World Council of Churches.
Tewahedo is a Ge’ez word meaning “being made one” or “unified”. This word refers to the Oriental Orthodox belief in the one perfectly unified Nature of Christ.