Abuna of Ethiopia
Since 28 February 2013
|First holder||St. Frumentius (Bishop)|
|Established||c. 350 (Foundation)|
|Cathedral||Holy Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa|
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This is a list of the abunas of Ethiopia, the spiritual heads of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The Abuna is known officially as Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Archbishop of Axum and Ichege of the See of Saint Taklehaimanot. Mathias acceded to this position on 28 February 2013.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is part of the Oriental Orthodox communion, and it was granted autocephaly by Cyril VI, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church, in 1959.
On 13 July 1948, the Coptic Orthodox and Ethiopian churches reached an agreement that led to the elevation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church to the rank of an Autonomous Church; allowing the Archbishop of All Ethiopia to consecrate on his own bishops and metropolitans for the Ethiopian Church and to form a local Holy Synod. The Archbishop, however, is consecrated by the Pope of Alexandria along with the members of the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
|1959–1970||Reigned during the 1960 Ethiopian coup d'état attempt and the 1965 Conference of Addis Ababa.|
Born in Mada Mikael as Gebre Giyorgis Wolde Tsadik
|1971–1976||Confirmed by the Emperor after his election.|
Deposed and arrested by the Derg; executed by strangling in 1979.
Born in Debre Elias as Meliktu Jenbere
|1976–1988||Met Pope John Paul II in 1981, in the first such meeting in modern times.|
Born in Begemder as Melaku Wolde Mikael
|1988–2022||Deposed by the EPRDF, which claimed that he willingly abdicated.|
Headed the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Exile from 1991 to 2018.
Entered into dual patriarch arrangement alongside Abune Mathias from 2018 to 2022.
Born in Begemder as Ze-Libanos Fanta
|1992–2012||Reign disputed by followers of Abune Merkorios.|
Born in Adwa as Gebremedhin Woldeyohannes
|2013–present||Reign disputed by followers of Abune Merkorios until 2018.|
Entered into dual patriarch arrangement alongside Abune Merkorios from 2018 to 2022.
Born in Agame as Teklemariam Asrat
In 1959, the Coptic Orthodox Church granted autocephaly to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and elevated the Archbishop to the Patriarchal dignity and was enthroned with the title of: Patriarch and Re'ese Liqane Papasat Echege (Catholicos) of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The title of Ichege (Supreme Abbot) of the See of St. Tekle Haymanot of Debre Libanos was subsumed into the Patriarchate. The title of Ichege was revived and the title of Archbishop of Axum was added to the Patriarchal titles in 2005, as Axum was the seat of Ethiopia's first Bishop, St. Frumentius, and thus the oldest see in the church.