Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Christian practices in the land of Eritrea began through interaction of traders and visitors who traveled to and from the Mid-Orient, using the ancient port at Adulis on the Red Sea. Evidence of ruins such as of prayer houses can still be seen today. The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church was formally founded in 329 AD under the fatherhood of St Frumentius (Abba Selama) the first bishop assigned by St Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria.
The church is organized under the supreme body of the holy synod, which is the council of all the bishops and archbishops of the church, presided over by the patriarch, and whose executive arm is the office of the administrator general. Under this governing body are the dioceses in the various regions of the country. These in turn guide the activities of the sub-dioceses and the congregations under them, down to the village parish. This administrative chain is the communication link for both channels of the hierarchy. Under the office of the administrator general are several departments, e.g. for development (including education and health), spirituality, foreign relations, etc.
Apart from the clergy, over 3000 other full-time workers serve the traditional church schools located at every church and monastery, in agricultural development projects and other activities. The church has its own theological formation and is planning to build a modern theological college that will provide education in both traditional and modern theology. The number of students currently preparing for the priesthood is 1250. Women are enabled to participate in all aspects of the life of the church except priesthood. They are active in monastic life and are freely allowed to acquire traditional and theological education in the church.