Tewahido Church celebrates its rich historical heritage
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church hosted a fascinating and educating exhibition at Barnato Park High School in Berea, Johannesburg, at the weekend.
The exhibition opened with photographs and artefacts detailing the historical time-line of the church over the past 2000 years.
Ethiopian theologians and history experts gave talks on how the church started as an underground movement and on the calender system.
Pascal Schmitz, the church secretary, said the church was founded in 35 AD in Ethiopia, the only African country to possess its own alphabet.
Schmitz said: "Ethiopia is the only country on the continent to have maintained its independence in the face of European colonisers and has never adopted any European laws.
"The African calendar was derived from Ethiopia but its origins are somewhat obscure."
According to the church, the calendar recognises that the world was in existence 5500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.
Schmitz said since Judaism had an important influence on the country, it is generally accepted that the Ethiopian calendar takes its starting point from the biblical systems.
The eve of the new millennium will be celebrated tomorrow at Barnato Park High School, starting with traditional Ethiopian church songs and ceremonies.