the death of Mattewos in 1926 and was directed against what critics saw as his overweening power and his practice of simony. This agitation, which arose from increasing nationalist feeling amongst Ethiopian Christians, led, slowly but inexorably, to a drive for autocephalous status, which culminated with the crowning of an Ethiopian patriarch as leader of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in 1959.80 But autocephaly meant only peer status vis-a-vis the Coptic Church and the churches under the Syrian patriarchate, not the power of the church to determine its own fate vis-a-vis state authority.
Development of the church's national structure started in September 1926 shortly before the death of Mattewos, with the promulgation of a constitution for the church, which enlarged the authority of the edgé and created a holy synod. Negotiations for the appointment of Mattewos's successor were complicated by Ethiopian demands that the new metropolitan be empowered to consecrate bishops and then by the death of the Coptic patriarch himself. Finally, in 1929 agreement was reached on the consecration of a new metropolitan, a Copt who took the name Qerelos, and of five supporting bishops, all Ethiopians and all monks. At each stage of the process church assemblies made the major decisions, nominating the candidates for consecration, and then creating a diocesan structure within which they were to work.81 It was a momentous development: 'For the first time in its history Ethiopia had a partially Ethiopianised hierarchy and a diocesan structure which had some relationship to the country's needs.'82
The road to full autonomy proved bumpy.83 In 1935 the Italians invaded the country and absorbed Ethiopia into an Italian East Africa, which came to an end six short years later. However, the period of Italian domination both complicated and advanced the movement towards autonomy. In 1936 Haile Sellassie went into exile, taking with him the new ecage, Abba Gabra Giyorgis, and leaving behind the metropolitan and four Ethiopian bishops (one of the original five had died). Initially, the Italians attacked the church, executing both Abuna Petros and Abuna Mika'el fortheir refusal to cooperate. Following
80 Adugna Amanu, 'The Ethiopian Orthodox Church becomes autocephalous', unpub-lishedBA thesis, Haile Sellassie I University, 1969. See also SergewH. SellassieinPanorama, 34-6; Aymro andMotavu, The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, 11-14; S. Chernetsov, 'Ethiopian Tawahedo Orthodox Church. From the time of Yohannes IV to 1959', in Encyclopedia Mthiopica, 11, 421-4.
81 In addition to Adugna and Chernetsov, see also Gabra Egzi'abeher Elyas, Prowess, piety, and politics: the chronicle of Abeto lyasu and Empress Zewditu ofEthiopia (1909-1930) recorded by Aleqa Gebre-Igziabiher Elyas, ed. and trans. R. K. Molvaer (Cologne: Rtidiger Koppe Verlag, 1994), chs. 81, 94-6.
82 Adugna, 'Autocephalous', 21-2.
83 Cf.ibid. and Chernetsov, 'Yohannes IV to 1959'.
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