The Christianization of Ethiopia seems to have come about from several different directions. Rufinus (345-410) reports that the royal house of Axum was converted by two Syrian Christians, Frumentius and Aedesius, in the fourth century. It is likely that earlier Christian contacts had been made by Egyptians moving south and by Greeks and Syrians arriving along the sea coast. Frumentius was consecrated bishop by Athanasius of Alexandria and it became customary for the patriarch of Alexandria to consecrate an Egyptian, not an Ethiopian, as archbishop of Ethiopia. After consecration, this archbishop remained in Ethiopia at the royal court. This practice continued until the rise of Ethiopian nationalism in the twentieth century demanded an indigenous hierarchy. The first Ethiopian archbishop took office in 1951 and the Ethiopian Church became completely independent in 1959.

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