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About Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

Ethiopia, the land of Judeo-Christianity, is one of the most ancient predominantly Christian countries of the world. It is marked with a fascinating history, unique civilization, culture and religious life. The Book of Genesis recounts: “And the name of the second river is Ghion: the same is it that compasses the whole land of Ethiopia” (Geneses 2:13). The Psalmist David also says: “Let Ethiopia hasten to stretch out her hands to God” (Psalms 68:31).

Like Kahenat Messale Engeda Bio

Like Kahenat (Rev. Fr.) Messale Engeda

Like Kahenat (Rev. Fr.) Messale Engeda

Fr. Messale Engeda was born and raised in rural Ethiopia’s, Gonder province, where from an early age he began serving his local church community.  In 1982 he was ordained as a priest in Kingston Jamaica, where he was passionately serving as a missionary for four years.

In March 1984, Fr. Messale arrived in Toronto under a visitor’s visa.  Because he was not permitted to work under the visa, he dedicated his time to the writing and publishing of his book; “Handbook of Introduction to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.”   With the help of Archbishop Hennery Hill of the Anglican Church of Canada, who covered the publishing costs, Fr. Messale was able to generate enough income to continue to serve the church, and provide for he and his wife Mrs. Abebech Hunegnaw.  

In his pursuit of wisdom and understanding, Fr. Messale enrolled in the University of Toronto’s St. Michael College and faculty of theology.  In 1992, he received his Master Degree of Divinity and Theological Study.   Shortly after graduation from the University of Toronto, Fr. Messale obtained his Canadian Citizenship and continued to follow his ministerial calling.  

As the Ethiopian community grew in Toronto, so did the need to serve worshippers according to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Tradition.  The gymnasium of the St. James Bond, United Church of Canada would be the new home of the church named Medhane Alem (“Saviour of the World”) Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.  A new influx of Ethiopian refugees immigrating to Toronto presented the church with new challenges.  In order to meet these challenges, Fr. Messale founded the Saint Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  The new church was to serve the Ethiopian community by performing services in Geez, and Amharic, while the Medhane Alem parish continued to serve the Caribbean community in English.  

Fr. Messale has also been a champion advocate for the struggles of the Jamaican and Ethiopian communities’ fight for social justice and economic equality in Canada.  During the famine of Ethiopia in 1985 his fundraising efforts raised $100,000.00 in aid for Ethiopia.

Along with his wife and three children, Fr. Messale continues to selflessly serve the Ethiopian Orthodox Church across Canada.  His vision, faith and wisdom continue to inspire congregants across Canada.