A recent study found that Orthodox Ethiopians have much higher levels of religious commitment than Orthodox Christians in Central and Eastern Europe.
Ethiopia is home to 36 million Orthodox Christians, the second largest Orthodox population in the world. Nearly half of the East African nation’s population belongs to the Orthodox church.
A majority, or 89 percent, of Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia believe in God with absolute certainty, and 87 percent of them fast during Lent.
Findings of the Pew Research Center showed that nearly all Orthodox Ethiopians, or 98 percent, said religion is very important to them, compared with a median of 34 percent of Orthodox in 13 countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
Seventy-eight percent of Orthodox Ethiopians claimed they go to church every week, compared with a median of 10 percent in Central and Eastern Europe. In Russia, which has the highest number of Orthodox Christians in the world, only six percent of the followers attend church on a weekly basis.
Data from the research also found that Orthodox Ethiopians are more likely to wear religious symbols at 93 percent, compared to 64 percent of followers in Central and Eastern Europe. A majority, or 89 percent, of Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia believe in God with absolute certainty, and 87 percent of them fast during Lent.
Orthodoxy is the third largest branch of Christianity, after Catholicism and Protestantism. Statistics showed a decrease in its share of the overall Christian population. Despite the decline, Orthodox Ethiopians are “highly observant and growing.”