We did a recent post where we stated that Christianity was brought to Africa during the colonization of the continent. Edward Sinclair, one of our readers brought to our attention that we were wrong. He said Christianity existed in Africa before the colonizers. In fact, he share a speech by H.I.M Majesty Emperor Selassie I gave that does talk about the existence of Christianity in Africa before the Europeans trespassed on her shores. Below I share is H.I.M’s Speech. Read it and see what you thing.
In ancient times, when the Faith of the whole Church was one, Our country had the closest relations with the Emperors of Christian Byzantium. At the time when several Christian Peoples in the North became subservient to non-Christian powers, our country gladly provided asylum to thousands of Christian refugees. It had equally given asylum from religious persecution at an earlier date to the followers of the founder of Islam. Only when our own immediate neighbors ceased to be Christians did our contacts with our fellow-Christians in the North and East become difficult to maintain.
Ethiopia, an island of Christianity, has make her own distinctive contribution to the Christian faith; for, ever since her conversion to Christianity she has remained faithful, her age-old ties with the Apostolic church uninterrupted. For this reason she is universally renowned as the faithful daughter of St Mark of Alexandria. The opportunity we have today to discuss our common interests and problems together is the fruit of that ancient unity. To defend the faith and to preserve our ancient ties with your respective countries, our fathers the Emperors of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people have exerted great efforts all through our history. We are grateful to all of them.
It is therefore with great joy that We welcome Your Holinesses to Our land and to Our Church. Your Holinesses bring with you sacred memories from the ancient past. Your presence here is a pledge and token of the desire of all Christians to be one. Ever since We ascended the historic throne of Ethiopia. We have considered it Our duty to call for a meeting of the churches who belong to the same fold. We were praying to God for His help in achieving this holy purpose, so that He may grant it to Us to see this event.
In ancient time the Byzantine emperors used to summon the councils. Our sincere wish from the very beginning was to see these churches meeting to discuss their common interests and decide on their common problems. This wish is in actual fact fulfilled today, and We are happy to witness it. Therefore, We thank Almighty God first because He has enabled Us to properly fulfill Our clear duty, and secondly, because Our long cherished desire has now met with fulfillment.
Henceforth the matter will demand the spiritual unity and hard work of Your Holinesses. For strength can be achieved through unity, and success is the fruit of co-operation. There is no doubt that work done through a co-operative spirit shall meet with success. Christ affirmed:
‘….that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.’ – Matthew 18:19
January 15th, 1965 – Addis Ababa Ancient Man and His First Civilizations