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ግንቦት 28, 2012 ዓ.ም.



Our Church History  

The Debre Selam Kidist Mariam Church was established in 1987 by a handful of followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church through the initiatives of Kehali Wondaferaw. The church is an affiliate of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church.

The church started its services with only one priest assisted by two deacons. At present, there are three priests and several deacons who regularly provide sacramental and other services to the community. Over the years, Church attendance has shown a steady rise. Today, more than 400 people, of whom 250 are registered and tithing members, attend regular Sunday mass. The number swells into a few thousands on special religious observances. Up to 4000 people are served by the church in a single week.

In recognition of this growth, the church was given cathedral status and was named Re'ese Adbarat (Head of Churches) by Archbishop Yishaq and Archbishop Zena Markos in September 2001.

In August, 1996 the tithing members of the church adopted a Revised By-laws. Subsequently, a general assembly of the members set up and elected a Board of Trustees and entrusted them with the overall management of the Church. The Church is, therefore, a people's Church managed by board members who are elected for an initial term of two years.

Soon after being installed, the Board in turn appointed the first Aleka [equivalent of an administrator] from among the priests and made him responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Church. In his efforts, the Aleka is assisted by several volunteer members of the Church.

The end of 1996 also saw the acquisition of a building that was an old garage belonging to Bell Atlantic, located at 1350 Buchanan Street, N.W., in Washington D. C. This milestone is the culmination of almost two years of ceaseless effort and unremitting perseverance by the administration of the Church to find a home for DSKM Church. The deal was signed and sealed in January 1997.

Over $300,000 was raised by the community over a span of four years to finance the purchase of the building. Thousands of dollars worth of material donations were also made over the same period of time. The Youth and Women's Associations of DSKM, and Youth Associations of sister Ethiopian churches in the Washington D. C. area have been instrumental in this regard. Scores of individuals have volunteered their knowledge, valuable time and skills in assisting in the fund raising efforts and during the negotiations preceding the purchase of the property.

On February 2, 1997 special inaugural prayers were held in the new building to coincide with the commemoration of the anniversary of the death of St. Mary.

In 1998, an adjacent vacant lot, on the 14th Street side of the Church, was purchased to accommodate future development plans. The lot is now serving as a parking space for parishioners.

In 2002, the Church acquired an old residential building within its vicinity and renovated it to accommodate priests and deacons taking part in night time prayer services and to house the many visitors to our Church.