The Old Roman Catholic Church in Europe offers prayers for Abune Mathias, the 6th Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Abune Mathias was chosen to head the Church on February 28th, having previously served as Archbishop of Jerusalem. Previously, he was Archbishop of North America and eventually Archbishop of the United States of America. The Church has suffered much in the past few years with upheaval in Ethiopia, and we pray that the Church will prosper and grow under Abune Mathias’ leadership.
The Ethiopian Church claims its earliest origins from the royal official said to have been baptized by Philip the Evangelist (not to be confused with Philip the Apostle), one of the seven deacons:
Then the angel of the Lord said to Philip, Start out and go south to the road that leads down from Jerusalem to Gaza. So he set out and was on his way when he caught sight of an Ethiopian. This man was a eunuch, a high official of the Kandake (Candace) Queen of Ethiopia in charge of all her treasure. (Acts, 8:26-27)
The passage continues by describing how Philip helped the Ethiopian treasurer understand a passage from Isaiah that the Ethiopian was reading. After the Ethiopian received an explanation of the passage, he requested that Philip baptize him, and Philip did so. The Ethiopic version of this verse reads “Hendeke” (ህንደኬ); Queen Gersamot Hendeke VII was the Queen of Ethiopia from ca. 42 to 52.