The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in the Diaspora: Expansion in the Midst of Division
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) has expanded considerably during the last two decades throughout the globe in the midst of turbulence caused by the division within the Patriarchate. Focusing on the Diaspora EOTCs, this article discusses critically the causes that gave way to the split within the Church into two Holy Synods—one in Ethiopia and the other in North America—while setting apart some of the major social, political and economic dynamics that contributed to both the division and expansion. The paper contends that the Ethiopia‟s government intervention in the Church‟s affairs has been at the heart of the problem, and thus the division within the Church is a consequence of the ethnically-politicized social milieu that the regime has created since it came to power in 1991. Quintessentially, the schism within the Diaspora EOTCs into three types—affiliated with the Exiled Synod, affiliated with the Home Synod and neutral has been the most visible manifestation of the forces at work in Ethiopia. The paper concludes that the Holy Synod in North America must find ways to embrace all Diaspora EOTCs, especially those that are neutral, until such time that the unity of the Church is guaranteed once again at some foreseeable future.