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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, militants among the Ethiopian Orthodox Church persecute Christians outside their denomination. Several majority-Muslim tribal groups throughout Ethiopia also persecute Christians. Freedom of religion is guaranteed under Ethiopian law, and the national government generally works to protect the rights of Christians. But recent political unrest has created opportunities for large attacks on Christians and churches throughout the country. Still, many churches in Ethiopia continue to plant new churches and send missionaries to difficult areas. In November 2020, a civil war broke out in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, causing immense suffering and greatly affecting churches and pastors.
59 percent of Ethiopians are Christians. Islam is growing, and Muslims now compose nearly 40 percent of the population.
Believers in the south and east face persecution, especially those who leave Islam to follow Christ. Some believers living in the north are persecuted by militants among the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and armed rebel groups attack Christians and churches.
What It Means To Follow Christ In Ethiopia:
Most Christians worship freely and openly. However, believers from other denominations are sometimes pressured by militants among the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, 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 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
- Pray for pastors in Tigray who are suffering during the conflict.
- Pray for members of churches that have been destroyed.
- Pray for the boldness and safety of front-line workers in hostile areas of the country.
- Pray for Abebech Demisse, Worke Eda’o, Meseret Teketal and other widows.
- Pray for peace and stability in the Tigray region and between different ethnic groups.
- Pray for believers who face severe persecution from both Muslims and traditional Christians.
- Pray for Christian leaders from Muslim backgrounds who risk their lives to share the gospel.
- Pray for believers in the Bale and Arsi Zones whose homes, businesses and belongings were destroyed.