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Archmandrite Abba Laike Mariam Mandefro


Abba May 1970

ARCHIMANDRATE LAIKE M. MANDEFRO. Head and Administrator of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the United States, with welcomers at Palisadoes Airport shortly after his arrival yesterday afternoon.

Comes to establish branch of Ethiopian Orthodox Church

(1) The Head and Administrator of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the United States. Archimandrite Laike M. Mandefro arrived in Jamaica yesterday to establish a branch of the church in Jamaica; he was accompanied by Deacon Collin R. Tomlin and Deacon Gabre Hiwot.
They will be here about eight days.
A crowd of about three hundred, most of them dressed in Rastafarian wear, some waving Ethiopian flags, gathered at the Palisadoes Airport to welcome the archimandrite. As the Air Jamaica plane touched down, the crowd, which thronged the waving gallery, sang hymns. Later they gathered at the entrance to the Customs area, but only Mr. Cecil Gordon, chairman of the Ethiopian Mission Committee in Jamaica and Mr. J. N. Hibbert, organizer, were allowed by the police in the area to meet the visiting party.


(2) Soon after, the archimandrite and his party left the airport in a motorcade. Later at Hartley Court Guest House, 37 Lady Musgrave Road where he is staying, the archimandrite said that his coming to establish the Ethiopian Orthodox Church happened through the requests of many Jamaican brothers who have been writing to the Patriarch His Holiness Abuna Basilios and to Archbishop Theophilos, the acting Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and to him since he was appointed as the Head and Administrator of the Church in the United States.
After going through many correspondences with the Jamaican brothers, he was given the responsibility to deal particularly with the purpose of the mission in Jamaica. That was why he had come to establish the rightful mission to those who would like to have it here.
There are branches of the church in Trinidad, Tobago and Guyana, he said. Membership is about 9,000. The Ethiopian Church has many churches all over the world. The first one in the Caribbean was established in 1959 in Trinidad.

(3) He thought, he said, people were very much concerned about the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and they knew that this was the church, which belonged to the black race. Everyone wanted to have his own identity People also considered it the oldest church in the world and that was why so many requests were coming to His Majesty and the church authorities.

(4) As regards the establishment of the church here, Archimandrite Mandefro said that he was going to start tomorrow with a baptismal programme. He said of Haile Selassie Emperor of Ethiopia, that He is "…the great Christian leader in the world and the Defender of the Faith."