Posted: May 03, 2015 10:36 am
by Clive Durdle

Another classification is by religions. The true Ethiopian, as already said, is Christian. But some of the Gallas have been at least nominally converted to Christianity. In all, the Christians probably account for nearly one-half of the population. Three-eighths are Moslems, residing in the east and southeast. In addition there are the Falasha -- the Jews of Ethiopia -- estimated to number between one and two hundred thousand; their Judaism is much corrupted and they are ignorant of the Hebrew language. The rest of the population are pagans.

The Christians belong to the Coptic Church and are consequently of the monophysite faith. Ethiopia's isolation from the rest of the Christian world has naturally led to a considerable barbarization of dogma and ritual. At the head of the church is the Aboona who is appointed by the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria and is always an Egyptian. The Emperor would very much like to have a native in this post, but traditions are hard to break in Ethiopia and the best that he has been able to obtain is the creation of several native bishops, to serve as coadjutors to the Aboona. The monastic orders are under the particular supervision of the Etcheghé, who unlike the Aboona is an Ethiopian and thus likely to stand closer to the Emperor than his Egyptian rival.

The clergy are very numerous, some writers going so far as to place them at one-third of the adult population. This is undoubtedly an exaggeration. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that in stagnant societies (e.g. in Tibet) the number of persons seeking refuge in the ecclesiastical life is out of all proportion to the needs of the church. The Ethiopian clergy have managed to get into their possession a large part of the land. Add to this the fact that they are ignorant and superstitious, and we can understand what an enormous conservative force they represent.

1935 ... d-her-army