Historical region of Country
With Ezana’s conversion, Christianity became the official religion of the kingdom of Aksum, to which groups of Syrian monks migrated in the 5th and 6th c., as is hinted by local traditions that, in the Acts of the nine saints and the just men ?adqan, preserve references to the origin of these saints in Rom Eastern empire and to Syrian proper names. Kenya Map Though the Syrian origin of these monks is now universally admitted, it is less certain whether they were for or against the Council of Chalcedon; many scholars, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, hold that they were monophysites. From the Lives of the Just, we deduce that the immigrant missionaries met local resistance to their evangelization, perhaps related to the decline of Aksumite power, when Christianity was expanding more and more toward the S of that kingdom.
The long, scarcely documented medieval period 7th-12th c. is characterized by the decline of the kingdom of Aksum and the removal of the capital to the Lasta region under the Zagwe dynasty, famous for its construction of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. During these centuries the Ethiopian church continued to depend on the Alexandrian; the metropolitan of Ethiopia, always an Egyptian, was chosen and consecrated by the patriarch of Alexandria, to whom the Ethiopian kings turned for a new bishop whenever the death of the incumbent metropolitan left the country without one. Kenya Map Evangelization intensified and expanded in the pagan regions of Ethiopia, as we can deduce from Acts of local saints living in those centuries. With the coming of Islam in the 7th c., Muslim expansion made lines of communication more difficult between the West and Christian Ethiopia, which for centuries strenuously resisted the new faith, Kenya Map giving Christianity more and more the character of a national religion. With the establishment of the Muslim empire, relations between Ethiopia and other Christian countries could be maintained only through Egypt and Jerusalem. The Ethiopians who went on pilgrimage to the holy city constituted a community of their own; through them, news of the wonderful Christian king of that distant African land reached Europe.