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Pentecostalism is a Christian religious movement with a presence in Ethiopia (often included within the evangelical category of P'ent'ay). With their respective organizations combined, Pentecostals maintain an Ethiopian constituency of approximately 2 million members.[1] Ethiopia's former prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn is a member of the Apostolic Church of Ethiopia, a Oneness Pentecostal organization.[2]



In 1951, Anna-Liisa and Sanfrid Mattson traveled from Finland to Ethiopia and established a Pentecostal mission in Addis Ababa. In 1960, a mission was created in Awasa by the Swedish Philadelphia Church Mission. Pentecostalism, during the 1960s, attracted many students, and the movement grew enough that the Full Gospel Believers Church (FBGC) was created in 1967.[3] Pentecostal practices eventually affected other Protestant denominations in Ethiopia, particularly the Lutheran church.[4][5][6]


The appeal for an officially recognized Pentecostal organization was rejected by the royal government. This was only the beginning of political repression which accelerated in the 1970s. On one 1972 Sunday alone, 250 worshipers were arrested. In 1979, the Derg government shut down the Addis Ababa FBGC church.[7]

Oneness PentecostalismEdit

In the 1969, an Ethiopian minister named Teklemariam Gezahagne converted to Oneness Pentecostalism. In 1972, the government forced Oneness United Pentecostal Church missionaries, along with those from other denominations, from Ethiopia. The established Oneness churches organized as the Apostolic Church of Ethiopia (ACE), and Teklemariam assumed leadership. Later, Teklemariam espoused a new Christological doctrine which led to an official split with the UPC in 2001.[8]

Current StatisticsEdit

As of 2011, the three largest, explicitly Pentecostal Ethiopian churches were the FBGC, the Hiwot Berhan Church (HBC), and the ACE. Each maintain constituencies of approximately 500,000 members.[9]


  1. ^ "Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements in Ethiopia — European Research Network on Global Pentecostalism". Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  2. ^ "The New Prime Minister's Faith: A Look at Oneness Pentecostalism in Ethiopia". PentecoStudies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Research on the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. 12 (2). 2013. Retrieved 2015-05-02.
  3. ^ Haustein, Jörg (2011). Writing Religious History: The Historiography of Ethiopian Pentecostalism. Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 14. ISBN 9783447065283.
  4. ^ Haustein, Jörg (June 2011). "Charismatic Renewal, Denominational Tradition and the Transformation of Ethiopian Society" (PDF). Evangelisches Missionswerk in Deutschland (EMW).
  5. ^ Djaleta, Tesso. A Critical Survey of the Development of Charismatic Influences in the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus. (Unpublished Master's Thesis). University of Liverpool.
  6. ^ Godebo, Yacob (2011). The Impact of the Charismatic Movement and Related Tensions on the Traditional Lutheran Worship of the South Central Synod of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Since 1991. PhD Thesis (University of Liverpool).
  7. ^ Haustin, Jörg (2011). Writing Religious History: The Historiography of Ethiopian Pentecostalism. Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 14–15. ISBN 9783447065283.
  8. ^ Reed, David (2014). Robeck, Cecil; Yong, Amos, eds. Then and Now: The Many Faces of Global Oneness Pentecostalism. The Cambridge Companion to Pentecostalism. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 62–64. ISBN 9781107007093.
  9. ^ Haustein, Jörg (2011). Writing Religious History: The Historiography of Ethiopian Pentecostalism. Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 17. ISBN 9783447065283.