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Kidist Mariam Church in Atlanta inaugurates new building

Ethiopian Kidist Mariam Church in Atlanta inaugurated new building Kidist Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s new building in Lithonia, a suburb of Atlanta [Photo: Ethiopian Review]

Kidist Mariam (St. Mary) Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Atlanta inaugurated a new building on Saturday, August 29, 2009, in the presence of His Holiness Abune Merkorios, Patriarch of Ethiopia, and other dignitaries.

Ethiopian Kidist Mariam Church in Atlanta inaugurated new building
EOTC Patriarch Abune Merkorios and DeKalby County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis at the ribbon cutting ceremony of Kidist Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s new building in Atlanta [Photo: Ethiopian Review]
Ethiopian Kidist Mariam Church in Atlanta inaugurated new building
EOTC Patriarch Abune Merkorios, EOTC Holy Synod Secretary Abune Melketsedik and other church leaders at the inauguration of Kidist Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s new building in Atlanta
[Photo: Ethiopian Review]
Ethiopian Kidist Mariam Church in Atlanta inaugurated new building
The new Kidist Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Church building located at 1152 South Stone Mountain Lithonia Rd., Lithonia, GA [Photo: Ethiopian Review]

(News Release by Kidist Mariam Church) — The Atlanta Kidist Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral was founded and established in 1987. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s deep tradition goes back to the fourth century A.D. at which time the Church was formed when the Christian church broke off into its two main branches: Orthodox and Roman Catholic.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has been a source of spiritual and cultural education to the people of Ethiopia. The church’s heritage goes back almost two thousand years and has been a major contributor to the development of modern Christianity.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church is one of the oldest churches in the world. As a result Ethiopia is considered one of the longest lived Christian countries in the world.

Initially, Kidist Mariam Church was serving its congregation in a chapel rented from Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Atlanta. Since that time, the church has taken the lead in providing services to meet the spiritual, cultural, and economic needs of the Ethiopian immigrant population in the Greater Atlanta area. As the size of the congregation grew faster than expected, members of the church, encouraged by their strong conviction and deep religious dedication, purchased the current church located at 266 Robin Street Decatur, Georgia, in 1995. However, the Church was still unable to provide essential services for many hundreds of Ethiopians. Again, with members and all Christians’ fulfillment of their spiritual obligations, the church acquired and fully paid for 5.5 acres of land, to build bigger facilities.

Now that this complex is completed, the largest and most traditionally built Ethiopian Orthodox Church ever constructed outside of Ethiopia will provide adequate space for both worship and community outreach activities for many Ethiopians. The church plans to offer classes in health promotion and disease prevention, anti-crime meetings, social and youth activities, and English language training, educational and employment referrals and senior citizens activities. These services will be available to the entire Ethiopian community and other interested individuals, regardless of faith commitment. Members of our congregation continuously pray that God grants them guidance, unity, and vision in order to utilize the facilities of the new cathedral for the glory of His Holy Name.

36 thoughts on “Kidist Mariam Church in Atlanta inaugurates new building

  1. very well done. I see the Patriarch is there as well. It must have been very much spiritual. I like going to Decatur Atlanta just for the sake of the great comradeship that exists there.

  2. What a blessing job!I wish I were there during the inauguration.I love attending the Ethipian Orthodox church ceremony.Wow!what agreat accoplishment.
    God bless Atlanta

  3. May God bless you all,and the people of Ethiopia. May God give freedom to the Ethiopian Orthidox blivers so that they can pray freely for their country with out Government interferace.

  4. Long live to our legitimate patrirch Abune Merqorios, long live to the dedicated faithful, long live to the clergy and the disciples. Long live to the generous people that have contributed money, energy and wisdom to enable this accomplishment.

    Long live Ethiopia,
    Ethiopia is eternal.

  5. The Church that never dies!

    The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church at home and abroad may have internal conflicts as no institution, spiritual or secular, in this world is free from religious and political confrontations.

    How difficult and turbulent the religious and the political storms are, how poor and destitute the faithful and the shepherds of the flock are, how deep and sophisticated the doctrine of the Church is, how daily and nightly religious services the Church has been conducting to its members are efficient or inefficient, and how the Church has been productive or nonproductive is that much important or not important at all, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church has never been deterred by the worldly motivated and financed challenges to destroy and kill this historical and ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, but with all these extreme hindrances, the Church never dies and moves on, yesterday from Ethiopia to Atlanta, Georgia and from Atlanta to California to Washington to New York to Minnesota to Oregon, and to many other places; and tomorrow, it will move on to another continents and challenge the young generation and transform it to the next generation.

    Foretold long time ago by one of the patriarch Abraham’s sons, Jacob, the Church is “the gate to heaven.” When I saw the delightful pictures of the new magnificent buildings of Kidist Mariam Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Jacob’s word came into my heart and I said to this new building of Kidist Mariam Church: “What an awesome place this is! This is nothing else other than the house of God. This is the place of heaven.” (Genesis 28:16-17)

    Of course, Ethiopian immigrants can make a big difference wherever they go and live; these Ethiopian immigrants, though poor materially, came to Atlanta, Georgia, carrying their Church in their hearts, and they rented a little house from the Presbyterian Church and continued worshiping God in that little house for some time.

    Instead of enjoying with the little money they had earned in this country, they continued putting aside some portions of their money until they were able to fulfill their physical and spiritual dreams – to build the house of God – the Kidist Mariam Church.

    I’m certain the Ethiopian immigrants in Atlanta may have followed very carefully the message of that 6th century prophet, Haggai, who commanded the Hebrews to “go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house of God.” (Haggai 1:7-11)

    These Ethiopian immigrants in Atlanta may not have gone up into the mountains of Georgia to bring down timber, but some of them may have worked in the foundry with its burning heat; some of them may have worked as housekeepers, and some as taxi drives, and some as city board members, and whatever jobs they may have been performing in various areas, they all have done something tangible, something marvelous, and something acceptable to the Almighty God, i.e. they have built the house of God with their own hard-earned money. And God is saying: “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house” (Haggai 1:9), which means the glory of this new building of Kidist Mariam Church will surpass the glory of that little house they have been renting from the Presbyterian Church.

    Most of the time, the Ethiopian traditional Church includes around its compounds Nebab bet, Zema bet, Kine bet, Kidasie bet, Aquaquam bet, Tirguim bet, but many of them don’t. However, this Kidist Mariam Church in Atlanta is unique: its program includes English language, health, crime prevention, social and youth activities, employment services and senior citizen activities among many other of its programs.

    It is this kind of new programs the old Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church has been lacking for a long time. The Kidist Mariam Church modern and spiritual programs should be good models for other Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Churches at home and abroad.

    Dear Ethiopians in Atlanta, thank you so much for showing us your commitment and absolute dedication to serving the Almighty God. In St. Paul’s words, “You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the Chief corner stone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)

    Thank you Elias Kifle, editor in chief, for posting this beautiful Kidist Mariam Church and the pictures of the visitors.

  6. Thank you Elias for the good news you broke for us as usual brother. I always expect something which is new like this news whenever I visit your web so thank you for your hard work or for your dedication in order to inform us. By the way if I do not see a new thing on your web I think as everything froze about Ethiopia because if it is good or bad I get the first news from so my expectation on your service is too high again thank you and keep hope alive brother.

  7. The growth of the Diaspora Orthodox faithful throughout the world can in one way measured by the vibrant growth of its religious institutions. It remains the final fort to those who defied Wayane’s hegemony in controlling our lives.

    This is wonderful news to all of us. The successful construction of new church facilities first in Seattle’s St Gabriel Church in 2000 ( ); followed by Denver’s own Dagmawit Geshen Mariam Church in 2006 ( ; and now Kidist Mariam Church in Atlanta is a testimony of the blessing we all are receiving from the Lord.

    The church calls for those disgruntled and disillusion faithful by recent event in Ethiopia to come into communion.

    May God Bless those in Atlaanta who sacrificed everything in order to build this magnificent church. Ethiopia will never forget you!


  8. Just to touch the historical part – I think this is not the first tarditonally built church out side Ethiopia. Take for example Debere Genet Medehanealem church in DC/MD – Templehills and there may be others too. One day everythign will be alright and all churchs used by all Ortodoxes.

  9. Good job Atlanta!

    Can we divert our attention to the poor in Ethiopia? Almost every one help at least one family member, but no one seems to be willing to pull resources and help by adopting families that are not related to them. For instance 5 individuals can contribute $5.00 a week to get on homeless family from the street. When you bring such notion to Ethiopians, for some reason, they give you deaf ears. What is wrong helping Ethiopians out that are not relatives? Could you imagine if every 5 individuals abroad commt to such cause how many poor souls we can save.

  10. Assta B. Gettu I always admire your knoledge on the bible and it makes me proud as an Ethiopian because those new commer religion members who are new converts accuse Ethiopians as who do not know the bible so please let them know we have people like you.

  11. May the Lord continue to bless Ethiopain Orthodox Church!

    May the Lord continue to flourish her all over the world!

    May the Lord give wisdom and longevity to the Patriarch Abune Merkorios !

    May the Lord greatly bless all Ethiopian orthodox Christians!

    May the Lord bless the Christians in Atlanta who made us proud!

    And may God the Almight bless Ethiopia!!!

  12. Dear Stoned Peter,

    Thank you for the compliment, and I assure you there are many young and old Ethiopians who know the Holy Bible better than I who studied it at the very young age and memorized the Book of Psalm, the Kidasie Mariam Tirguim, the Woodasie Mariam Tirguim, the Timhirte-Hibuat Tirguim, the Bahire-hassab, and beyond that I studied the New and the Old Testaments’ Tirguims (the Blui Kidan and Hadis Kidan) when I was at Kollo Timhirt Bet, but now modern education has changed the important values of my traditional education. This doesn’t mean I have changed my faith, which I will never do because the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church is in my blood, and I will defend it with all my convictions, and nothing will move me away from my faith the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Fathers had taught me as St. Paul said: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1st Corinthians 16:13)

    Yes, most of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Fathers know the Bible in their hearts, but they are so humble that they wouldn’t say it openly. They always prefer to pray and fast to express their scholarships in the Biblical studies; they leave that part of biblical discussions to us their students, and it is our privilege with their blessings to discuss any issues concerning the doctrine of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church and the Holy Bible with the new converts as well as with our members of our Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

    Thank you again for your interest in the word of God – the Bible!

  13. The church did not come here without its trial and tribulations. However, it was one proud moment to be an Ethiopian in Atlanta on Saturday, August 29, 2009. You could be a protestant, catholic or Muslim, no matter what persuasion or affiliation, in the eyes of Americans, what they see is ETHIOPIAN church with its unique design and quality. It show the world, we still deeply carry our religion on our sleeves and no wonder we’re being mentioned in the bible for at least thirty times.
    I hope this provides as a guide for successfully complete a task among Ethiopians, no matter what the task and difficulties it involves.

    Great job Atlanta Kidist Mariam!!!

  14. God Bless and God is Able. It is the greatest gift from God to us(Ethiopians) to own our church in a the diaspora.. Let us keep working hard to keep our religion and faith wherever we are…

  15. i was invited to the chinese comunity a week ago, it is very impressive how they teach their young children about their culture, the value of education, and employment referrals. even if my body was there, my mind was thinking about my people here in the USA. what are we doing? where will our kids be in the future? how are we going to help the new comers from ethiopia before they get confused? so, the saint mary church has a good plan, however, what it matters is taking action because anyone can say i can do this and i can do that.

    God be with all of us

  16. Dear Anonymous,

    What makes you unimpressed, the structure of the new building of the Kidist Mariam Church, the ceremonies or the festival conducted in the Church, the black gowns of the bishops, the archbishops and the Patriarch, or the new programs of this new Church? Can you be a little bit specific so that we can correct our mistakes and achieve our goal – to teach the word of God to our members and to every body else who wants to listen and participate in our Church services.

    The 14th century Europe was a century of great poets, composers, writers, and inventors, and of course it was a century of war, famine, disease, and so our century too. Every century has its own vicissitudes; no century is immune from natural and man-made disasters.

    Thank you for your comment.

  17. What an extraordinary example to the rest
    of us in other states. We all can do the same provided we bring our talent and resources together. God bless our
    people in Atlanta for doing a great job.

  18. “Anonymous says:

    Is this progress or retrogress?
    For non-believers this is way-back retrogress, a move that resmbles 14th century Europe.
    I am not impressed at all!”

    Who cares if you are impressed or not? You don’t matter. Let those who really care enjoy their moment.

  19. I saw the picture of your new grand church of Qidist Mariam of Atlanta. It is wonderful. May God bless the Ethiopian orthodox church believers in Atlanta who participated in financial contribution as well as in spiritual thinking of those who supported all efforts in building the church.
    God bless you.

  20. The entire undertaking is backward. Getting together to build a temple, a church or a mosque is not a modern concept. In these times of advanced technology and planetary research the idea of believing in some rituals and God is similar to that of the recent infamouse Tamrat Geleta. Tamrat promised earthly heaven while the belivers look the hevenly heaven. The concept is the same!
    Oh yes the bldg. is huge and pretty. But for what? Just to worship and make believers out of innocent kids?
    I am not impressed.

  21. Greetings in the name of Father, and in the name of Son and in the name of Holy Spirit. Amen
    Thanks to God giving unblable power to our fathers in exile. Holy Spirit give wisdom, knowledge and ability for our father to empower his people to build his house in exile to praise his name. Holy Spirit blessed his people and the shepherds. I am always proud of our God who give us unity and power to live together to worship his name. Holy Holy Holy who enable us to build such a spectacular church.


  22. Dear Anonymous,

    As your screen name suggests, so is your faith in the living God who created heaven and earth.

    Modern technology or modern science has failed to meet our needs; therefore, we do not depend on anything modern to solve our physical and spiritual problems, but there is one, who could meet our needs, and that one is Jesus Christ, and without him we will be always restless and die unsatisfied.

    It seems to me that your god is modern technology such as robot or any automation, and you think through this man-made technology, one day we will go to the galaxies. I will assure you we can reach to the stars if only God who created them allows us to be there.

    There were people who reached the galaxies or the heavens without using modern gadget or technology, without wasting the earth’s resources, and without polluting our atmosphere, and one of these people, was Elijah the Tishbite. As Elijah and his disciple, Elisha, “were walking and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.” (2nd Kings 2:11-12) If you believe in technology, I encourage you to believe in this type of technology, Elijah’s divine technology, Elijah’s divine chariot of fire, and Elijah’s divine horses of fire in a divine whirlwind – pure divine technology!

    From your comment, I can see that the new building of the Kidist Mariam Church may not have impressed you; the holy fathers who came to bless the new building may not have impressed you; the songs and the entire church services may not have impressed you; however, what has impressed you is man’s advancement in creating nuclear weapons, in polluting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat; is that where your impression is? But you are not impressed by God’s marvelous creation, the earth, the ocean, the galaxies, and the human beings. And those who went to Kidist Mariam Church to celebrate the dedication of the new building were human beings, the creations of God, and yet you are not impressed in them – God’s hand’s work.

    The reason why you are not impressed is simple because you don’t believe in God, and if you don’t believe in Him, you are considered fool as king David said: “The fool says in his heart ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1)

    If you were present with Ezra Nehemiah, would you be impressed by what the Israelites did after they had completed building the house of God? This is what they did: “Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles—celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy. For the dedication of this house of God, they offered a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred male lambs and …twelve male goats….” (Ezra 6:16-17)

    On the other hand, if the Kidist Mariam Church had slaughtered 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 male lambs, and 12 male goats, I’m sure you would be very impressed after you had filled your stomach with some portions of the meat, but you must remember what the Scripture says: “…man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

    I think you are totally taken away by man’s wishful thinking to dominate the galaxies; the truth is, however, “To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.” (Deuteronomy 10:14)

    Your foolishness became clearer when you wrote: “Getting together to build a temple, a church…is not a modern concept. In these times of advanced technology and planetary research the idea of believing in some rituals and God is similar to that of the recent infamous Tamrat Geleta.”

    You are insulting the living God and his dwelling place the holy Church and his dedicated servants – the holy fathers, and to be free from your iniquities, you must repent and ask forgiveness from God: “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet, he does not leave the guilty unpunished….” (Numbers 14:18)

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