Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christian Union
Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity is thought to be one of the few pre-colonial churches of sub-Sahara Africa and is located mainly in Ethiopia. Originally part of the Coptic Orthodox Church, it was granted its own Patriarch in 1959. The Ethopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is not in communion with Eastern Orthodox churches but is discussing the possibility of unification.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christian Union is one of the student organizations at Virginia Commonwealth University and was established seven years ago. It consists of about twenty-five people and holds meetings every week on Wednesday evenings. Its main purpose is to bring Ethiopian students together in promoting awareness of the religion and providing them a place of worship. The Union helps Ethiopian students come together to celebrate the history and distinct culture of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity and to improve their knowledge and competence in the Orthodox tradition.
Every week is organized with different combinations of choir, verse of the day, discussion groups, prayers, and refreshments. The meetings are intended to help students in the organization become more knowledgeable and to create an environment in which they can learn from each other. Ethiopian Orthodox Christian services are celebrated in the Ge’ez language, which most second generation Ethiopians are not able to understand. The Union conducts its activities in English. There are celebrations for feast days before fasting seasons, which span one to three months. During the fasting seasons practitioners are prohibited from eating any meat and dairy product, drinking, music, and partying. In addition, no food or drink may be consumed until 3:00pm during the fasting period.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christian Union tries to bring the Ethiopian community together to celebrate the culture and worship Christianity. A primary objective of the Union is to foster unity between Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and the traditions of the Orthodox Christian Church. It is active with different Ethiopian Orthodox Churches around the Virginia area. The Union holds feast- day celebrations and raises money to support other churches and feed the homeless in Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christian Union
Virginia Commonwealth University Student Commons
907 Floyd Avenue
Richmond, VA 23284-2032
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christian Union member
Profile prepared by Salem Mengistu