Abyssinian Christianity is divided into three parts:

Part I  begins with the Kingdom of Aksum, its roots from Antiquity, how it became a “Christian nation” after the conversion of Ezana to Christianity, or for that matter, the “first Christian nation” as a result of preaching of the Ethiopian eunuch, and how it continued to develop as such up to the turn of the Middle Ages.

This part traces:

1) The formal establishment of the Ethiopian Tewahdo Church

2) The importance of the Legend of the Queen of Sheba

3) The  Second Golden Age of Ethiopia and Eritrea and the flowering of Abyssinian monasticism

4) The curiosity of foreigners about the Legend of Prester John

Part II  is exclusively dedicated to the presence of the Catholic missionaries in Ethiopia and Eritrea from the 13th century onward. It is a biographical presentation of how they contributed to the continuing development of the Abyssinian individual.

This part traces:

1) The active and constructive communication between Rome and Ethiopia, which sought to bring their Churches and cultures together

2) The positive impact of Catholic missionaries like the Lazarists and Capuchins Father Giuseppe Sapeto, St. Justin De Jacobis and Mons. Guglielmo Massaia, as well as

3) Ethiopia’s negative reaction to the missionaries who refused to inculturate as they evangelized

Part III  treats the matter of Christian and national identity in an historical context, thereby analysing the Abyssinian person in respect to the socio-political and cultural-religious challenges, answering questions like:

  • How do Ethiopians and Eritreans actually see themselves within the framework of their past? Has anything changed from then to now?

This part traces:

1) How essential the cultural understanding of the liturgy was to the concept of nation and nationality for Ethiopians and Eritreans

2) Pope Pius XI’s oft-overlooked crusade against Mussolini, which enabled peace and freedom to eventually prosper, especially in Ethiopia

3) The reign of Hailé Sellassié, the last Christian emperor, and his many battles and achievements

4) The role of women who helped shape Ethiopian society

5) Catholic Social Services, and the rebuilding of Abyssinian society through education