According to tradition, Christianity arrived to the Kingdom of Axum during the reign of king Ezana in the early 4th Century AD. The infant king Ezana was converted into Christianity by Saint Frumentius, the first bishop in Ethiopia. Consequently Ethiopia is the second oldest Christian nation in the world (after Armenia).

The monastic tradition in Ethiopia dates back to the 5th Century and the arrival of ”the nine saints” from the Roman Empire. In monasteries the translation task of the Holy Bible into the Ge’ez language took place during the early 6th Century while the great composer, scholar and pioneer of musical notation, Saint Yared (505-571) devised the unique tonal system of sacred music. The role of monasticism remains significant for the diffusion of Christian learning today despite many political upheavals in modern times.

The seminar is organised by the Friends of the Holy Mount Athos, Helsinki Debre Amin Abune Tekle Haymanot Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Cultural Centre Sofia.

The seminar is chaired by Professor René Gothóni, the University of Helsinki.


13:00 Opening words by the Chairman of the Friends of the Holy Mount Athos, Mr Tapio Maljonen

13:15 First Lecture: Monastic Life in the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church: Foundation, contributions and contemporary challenges, presented by Deacon Dr. Solomon Abebe Asfaw
14:00 Presentation: Chants of Saint Yared, Wereb singing by
the Saint Tekle Haymanot Sunday Choir
14:30 Coffee & tea
14:45 Second lecture: Liturgical Hymnody in the Ethiopian Church and the contributions of Saint Yared, presented by Rev. Dr. Amsalu Tefera Alemu, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich
15:30 Q & A session, questions from the floor
16:00 Finish

• Please, register in advance (highly recommended!):, tel: +358-10-277-900

You may also want to participate:

10:30-12:00 Divine Liturgy, the Chapel of Holy Wisdom

12:00-13:00 Buffet lunch served in the Sofia Restaurant, price:16 €/person (by advance booking only)