A Dictionary of All Religions and Religious Denominations/Abyssinian Church


ABYSSINIAN CHURCH, that established in the empire of Abyssinia. They maintain that the two natures are united in Christ, without either confusion or mixture; so that though the nature of our Saviour be really one, yet it is at the same time two-fold and compound.

The Abyssinian church embraced these tenets in the seventh century. They disown the pope's supremacy, and transubstantiation, though they believe the real presence of Christ in the sacrament, and administer the communion in both kinds. Like the Roman catholics, they offer their devotions and prayers to the saints, and believe in a state of purgatory. They use confession, and receive penance and absolution from the priests.[1] Their divine service consists in reading the Scriptures, administering the Eucharist, and reading some Homilies of the Fathers. They use different forms of baptism; and keep both Saturday and Sunday as sabbaths. They are circumcised, and abstain from swine's flesh; not out of regard to the Mosaic law, but purely as an ancient custom of their country. They read the whole four evangelists regularly every year in their churches; and when they speak of an event, they say, "It happened in the days of Matthew," i. e. while Matthew was reading in their churches. They are a branch of the Cophts.


Original footnotesEdit

  1. Mosheim, vol. ii. p. 172. vol. iii. p. 492. Mod. Univ. Hist. vol. xv. p. 174 —177. Ludolph's Hist. of Ethiopia.