Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian states in the world. State Department estimates that just over 50% of the country is Christian (40 to 45% of the population belongs to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, about 10% are members of Christian evangelical and Pentecostal groups).The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is an Oriental Orthodox Church, which is the largest Christian denomination in Ethiopia. According to the government's 1994 census (which the CIA World Factbook follows), 61.6% of the Ethiopian population was Christian: 50.6% of the total were Ethiopian Orthodox, 10.1% were various Protestant denominations (such as P'ent'ay and the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus), and Ethiopian Catholics constituted 0.9% of the population). Orthodox Ethiopian Christians are predominant in the Tigray (95.6%) and Amhara (82.5%), while the majority of Protestants live in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region or SNNPR (55.5% of the inhabitants) and the Oromia Region (4.8 million or 17.7%).It was part of the Coptic Orthodox Church until 1959, and is the only pre-colonial Orthodox church in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the government's most recent census from 2007, Christians constitute 62.8% of the total population, with the largest group being Ethiopian Orthodox Christians at 43.5%, followed by Protestant 18.6% and Catholics at 0.7%.The Kingdom of Aksum was one of the first nations to officially accept Christianity, when St.
The country is also the spiritual homeland of the Rastafari religious movement.
Today, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, part of Oriental Orthodoxy, is by far the largest denomination, though a number of Protestant (P'ent'ay) churches have recently gained ground.
Since the 18th century there has existed a relatively small (uniate) Ethiopian Catholic Church in full communion with Rome, with adherents making up less than 1% of the total population.
Additionally, there are a few followers of traditional faiths, who mainly reside in the southwestern part of the country.
According to the national census conducted in 2007, over 32 million people or 43.5% were reported to be Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, over 25 million or 33.9% were reported to be Muslim, 13,7 million, or 18.6%, were Protestant, and just under two million or 2.6% adhered to traditional beliefs.
While many Ethiopians claim that the Bible references of Kush apply to their own ancient civilization, pointing out that the Gihon river, a name for the Nile, is said to flow through the land, some scholars believe that the use of the term referred to the Kingdom of Kush in particular, or Africa outside of Egypt in general.