Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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THE HERRNHUTER BRETHREN IN SEARCH OF ETHIOPIAN CHRISTIANITY: A LETTER TO ABUNA JOHANNES III OF ABYSSINIA (1756) [Abstract ID: 1302-05]

Lina ELHAGE-MENSCHING, Akademie der Wissenschaften zu G├Âttingen

This paper focuses on one of the sporadic interactions between German Protestantism and the Ethiopian Church as early as the 18th century. Although the initiative that is the focus of my talk was not successful, it testifies to the great interest that certain protestant movements have had in Ethiopian Christianity. The subject is the attempt of the Herrnhuter Br├╝dergemeine (descendants of the Unity of Brethren from Moravia) in the 18th century to establish a connection with Christians in Egypt and Abyssinia. This initiative was triggered by the vision of the Herrnhuters' leader, Count von Zinzendorf, whose interest was based on the Ethiopian Eunuch, treasurer of Queen Candace mentioned in the Bible, who converted to Christianity. As the center of my talk, I will present and discuss my first edition of the letter of recommendation (ms. UAH R.17.B.7.c.13) written in 1756 by Pope Markos VII of Alexandria, Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, to the Abuna of Abyssinia, Johannes III. This will give us the opportunity to review the history of the Herrnhuters' failed Ethiopian mission from the perspective of global interconnections and local identities.