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The gospel was first brought to Ethiopia in the first century, but many Ethiopian Christians still face persecution today. In southern Ethiopia, political unrest and the rise of Wahhabism, an extreme branch of Islam, among the Oromo people have resulted in a wave of attacks against Christians across the region. Eastern Ethiopia has one of the largest Somali populations in the world, and Christians there are persecuted by both their communities and their families. In northern Ethiopia, some Orthodox Christians persecute evangelical believers. Several majority-Muslim tribal groups throughout Ethiopia also persecute Christians. Freedom of religion is guaranteed under Ethiopian law and the government generally works to protect the rights of Christians. However, vestiges of Communist rule lead authorities to monitor the activities of churches and evangelical Christian organizations. Still, evangelical churches in Ethiopia continue to plant new churches and send missionaries to difficult areas.

Major Religions:

59 percent of Ethiopians are Christians (42 percent Orthodox and 17 percent evangelical). Islam is growing and Muslims now compose nearly 40 percent of the population.


Believers living in the north, south and east face persecution, especially those who leave Islam and traditional religions to follow Christ.

What It Means To Follow Christ In Ethiopia:

Most Christians worship freely and openly. However, evangelicals are sometimes pressured to join traditional churches, and Christian converts from Islam face violence and even death threats in Muslim-majority areas.

Access To Bibles:

Bibles are printed, sold and distributed in Ethiopia with no restrictions. However, in many rural areas believers can be severely persecuted for owning a Bible. Give Bibles

VOM Work:

VOM helps rebuild destroyed churches and believers’ homes, helps care for widows of martyrs, provides Bibles to believers in persecuted areas, supports local church evangelism efforts and equips pastors in difficult regions. Give to VOM’s Global Ministry

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for Christians who are persecuted by Muslims in southern and eastern Ethiopia.
  • Pray for the widows of recent Christian martyrs.
  • Pray for increased outreach efforts to Muslim communities by local churches.
  • Pray for believers who have lost homes and property because of persecution.
  • Pray for the members of churches destroyed in attacks.
  • Pray for believers who are persecuted by Orthodox Christians in northern Ethiopia.
  • Pray for peace and stability among regional ethnic groups.
  • Pray for Orthodox priests and believers who face severe persecution for following Christ over church authority.