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Salama's efforts to gain restitution for the ousted Shawan clergy eventually resulted, in 1846, in his violent expulsion from Gondar, back to Tegré. Here, again like Qerelos before him, he found himself marginalised.67 An uneasy deadlock lasted into the early 1850s, when it was broken with the rise to the throne of Tewodros II, whose ambition, soon realised, was to revive the Solomonic monarchy. Central to his vision of a revived monarchy and kingdom was a unified church, and central to that vision was the restoration of episcopal authority.

By 1853 Tewodros had established military supremacy in the central provinces and summoned Salama to Gondar. The bishop re-entered the city in June 1854. In August, Tewodros joined the bishop and summoned leading authorities, including representatives of both the Qebat and the YaSaga Lej schools, to a council. It met at Amba Cara, near Gondar. Tewodros challenged the sectarians by evoking the authority of Alexandria and of the Alexandrian-appointed metropolitans. 'Has there', he asked the council, 'been any one of the archbishops of Alexandria who preached a third birth by grace or natural birth by the unction of the Holy Spirit?' In defence of these teachings, their adherents pleaded, 'But this is not in Alexandria, rather our fathers here have taught us.' Tewodros then proclaimed, 'Do not deviate from the faith of these our fathers archbishops and metropolitans.' Finally, the council condemned a variety of teachings, which the chronicler describes as 'the creed and ordinance of those who maintain, "The Son of God was born by Grace through a third birth".'68

The following month, Tewodros proclaimed himself negus (king) and married his wife in a church ceremony. In February 1855 Salama crowned him with the title negusa nagast (king of kings). Tewodros then reorganised his court, giving the bishop not only precedence over the ecagé, or prior of Dabra Libanos, but also control of the office of the liqa kahnat, general supervisor of the clergy, one previously held by the ecagé. Through these actions Tewodros laid down the template for modern Ethiopian monarchs: a church unified around Alexandrian doctrine under episcopal authority, the kings themselves bound to a church-sanctified monogamy.69 The latter was a radical departure from the practice of their Solomonic forerunners; the former an echo of Zar'a Ya'qob's vision that religious and secular nationalism were inseparable.

67 Crummey, Priests and politicians, ch. 4.

68 The words are those of the anonymous author of the Ge'ez chronicle of Abuna Salama. See Crummey and Getatchew, 'Abuna Salama'.

69 D. Crummey, 'Imperial legitimacy and the creation of neo-Solomonic ideology in nineteenth-century Ethiopia', Cahiers d'Études Africaines 28, no. 109 (1988), 13-43.

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