Church History

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido church is owner of several religious, traditional and historical heritages amongst which are buildings, rock hewn churches, monasteries, historical monuments, literature and ecclesiastical articles. These are also among the wonders of the world, and the Cathedral is part of these.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral is one of the foremost historical sites in Addis Abeba and apart from its historicity:

  • It is a venue of economical meetings,
  • It offers special services of ceremonies like the enthronement of Bishops, Arch Bishops and pathriarics,
  • It provides memorial national ceremonies and prayers are also held.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral was established on December 22, 1931, under the auspices of His Imperial Majesty Haileselassie I. But during the war of resistance against fascism, the construction was disrupted for five years (1935 – 1940). Through the help of the Almighty, the construction had continued after liberation and was completed in1943. And the Cathedral was officially inaugurated on January 14, 1943. The building of the Cathedral occupies an area of 1200 square meters and it is 16 meters high. The graceful architectural structure of the Cathedral and its fabulous fine arts incredibly hard to believe that it is made by man.

The Cathedral is dedicated to the memory of those patriots who took part during the war of liberation. It remains the burial place of patriots. The crypts and the graves of the Impress Menen Emperor Hailesilasie, princes and princesses are also found in this Cathedral. With in the compound of the Cathedral, the graves of his Holyness Abuna Teklehaimanot, Bishops and the monument of those Military and Civilian Officials of His Imperial Majesty who were brutally murdered by the Dergue are found.

Under the order of the Majesty, further study was made by specialists to expand the dimension of the Cathedral to serve for more , church laymen. The present structure took shape for the third time, it was in 1964. The name of the Holy Trinity Cathedral was. bestowed by Likesiltanat Abba Meliektu who later became the patriaric of Ethiopia, Aba Theophilos in 1945.

On the other hand, on the Southern side of the Cathedral, there is a graceful circular church that was founded by Emperor Minilik II in 1887. Its former name was Mekanesilassie, and latter renamed Bealewold. Apart from these, the structure of the church is gracious and gravitating. Inside this stupendous church, the walls are decorated with beautiful spiritual murals done by indigenous artists.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral is located in the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa at Arat Kilo. It is also a venue of religious meetings and enthronement of patriarchs . Furthermore, it is a place where international Ecumenical meetings take place.

As regards to the Administration of the cathedral, from 1890 – 2007 about 26 administrators were assigned. There are about 300 both spiritual and different administrative service men are involved. Amongst the Administrators of the Cathedral more than half of them were elevated to the rank of Arch Bishop and up to the rank of patriarch, and this testifies the grandeur of the Cathedral.


In the Cathedral, there are gorgeious spiritual glass stained pictures mirroring the history of the old and the new Testaments. The pictures of the old Testament covers from Adam and Eve to Kind Solomon and Queen Sheba. On the contrary, the New Testament covers from the Nativity to the Pentecost on the other, there are historical pictures showing Emperor Hailessilasie hoisting the Ethiopian flag after victory and addressing the league of Nations in Geneva.


In the most inner part of the Cathedral there are two Tombs one of which is the Emperor Hailessillasie and the other one is the Empress, Menen. The Tombs reflect three historical heritages of the country.

  • The top of the tombs are the obelisks of Axum-the middle ones are one of the eleven rock hewn churches of lalibela, and the third one is the claw of the lion of Judah.


Emperor Haileselassie and the rest of his family were followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox church. Whenever the king and the Queen came to attend mass, they sit on their thrones. And nobody is allowed to sit in any of the thrones. The two thrones are part of the tourist attractions of the Cathedral.