The idea that Christianity is somehow foreign to Africa is one of the most widely held misconceptions of modern times. Surely, some of the spread of the faith on the continent can be attributed to European missionaries. However, The Orthodox Ethiopian Church predates all European Christian churches.
Founded in the 1st century A.D.,The Orthodox Ethiopian Church is second in age only to the Church founded at Alexandria (Egypt) by the apostle Mark. Christianity in Sudan also spread in the early 1st century, and the Nubian churches there were linked to those ofEgypt.
For a thousand years monks and nuns of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church , have quietly maintained a monastery, called Deir Sultan (meaning Monastery of the Sultan) at one of Christianity’s holiest sites. This site, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, is recognized as the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and later ressurected.
The Christian Holy Bible (I Kings 10: 1-13) documents Ethiopian presence in Jerusalem 1000 years before the birth of Christ. Deir Sultan is believed to be built on land given to the Queen of Sheeba by King Solomon. Ethiopians patiently awaited the birth of Christ as fulfillment of prophecy, just as other believers.
The maintenance of a continual Ethiopian presence in Jerusalem is attributed to faith as opposed to political agenda. After the overthrow of Haile Selassie in 1974, by Marxist revolutionaries, believers were severely persecuted. tens of thousands of believers were killed and church properties confiscated. Modern-day Ethiopian Christians are scattered across the globe as a result of persecution.