Sunday, January 1, 2017

How did Ethiopia turn to Christianity, and what was their religion before that?

Ethiopia had experienced a respect for Judaism since the time the Queen of Sheba returned from visiting Solomon, from whom Axumite kings claim descendent, they both had a child together named Menelik. Monotheistic leanings held ground against the general animistic polytheism. Many Jews found their way to Ethiopia after the great Diaspora of 70AD. The religious shifts allowed the arrival of shipwrecked Christians to enter a field ripe for conversion. With a heritage that was said to trace back to King David, the leaders adopted the name “King of Kings” for themselves.

Ezana ruled from c. 330 – 356 AD. It is said that he succeeded his father, Ella Amida, and started ruling Axum when he was just a child with his mother as his supervisor and regent. When he was a child, he had a tutor who was a Syrian Christian called Frumentius. Frumentius was one of Ezana’s father’s counselors. Frumentius later converted Ezana and Ezana became a Christian at around 333 AD. Frumentius even baptized Ezana and his brother, Sheazana. Frumentius gave Ezana the name of Abreha, meaning Lightbearer, and Sheazana, the name of Asbeha, meaning Dawnbreaker. Sheazana co-ruled Axum with Ezana and both of them were often called Abreha and Asbeha. Ezana then made the state religion of Axum, Christianity. He made Frumentius the head of the Ethiopian Church. Frumentius and Ezana were both responsible for the increase in Christians in Axum. Ezana even made coins with crosses on them to spread his religion around the kingdom. These were the first coins in the world to have the Christian symbol on them.

But before that, King Ezana II's coins and inscriptions show that he might have worshiped the gods Astar, Beher, Meder/Medr, and Mahrem..."
Around 1000bc we know that Ethiopia shared a similar religion with southern Arabia before they converted to Christianity
The dietes worshiped were Astar who was the embodiment of the planet Venus. Beher and Meder were a single deity that represented Earth, and
they both followed Aster. The word for their god is Egzi'abher. The moon deity, Hawbas. Symbols of the sun and moon Matara and Anza, are found on
the Stelae in Auxum. Mahrem in Greek mythology was called Ares, or the god of war.

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