Tigray, Tigrinya in Sweden

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People Name: Tigray, Tigrinya
Country: Sweden
10/40 Window: No
Population: 14,000
World Population: 9,773,400
Primary Language: Tigrigna
Primary Religion: Christianity
Christian Adherents: 90.00 %
Evangelicals: 3.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Ethio-Semitic
Affinity Bloc: Horn of Africa Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Tigray (Tigrigna) people are related to the Amhara and Tigre people of Ethiopia and Eritrea who together make up the Habeshans. These people can trace their origins back thousands of years. They settled on the African side of the Red Sea inhabiting the Nile Delta and all land east of the valley down to the Ethiopian Highlands. They established great kingdoms such as Sheba/Saba and Axum. After the Middle Ages they soon split into 3 tribes: Amhara, Tigre and Tigray with their own languages that all derived from Ge'ez, their ancient language. Habeshans settled in the Ethiopian Highlands and Red Sea coast of present-day Eritrea and North-Eastern Sudan. The Tigray live primarily in the Northern Highland of Ethiopia and the Southern plateau in Eritrea. Others have migrated to various North American and European countries including Sweden.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In the West, the Tigray are exposed to many new ideas. The forms of Christianity are different than they were used to in their African homeland. Life is far more urban and prosperous in Sweden than it was in the Horn of Africa.

What Are Their Beliefs?

From early encounters with the Hebrew people, many adopted the early form of proto-Judasim. Though the high and ruling class continued to practice the Egyptian pagan religion until Queen Makda of Sheba was converted by King Solomon to Judaism. Christianity came to the Tigray through Coptic missionaries.

The Tigray and other Habeshan tribes were the first African converts to Islam after sheltering Mohammad's followers in the holy city of Negash, located in the Tigray Region, from their enemies in Mecca. The converted Habeshans (especially Tigray Muslims) became known as the Jeberti (Elect of God). They became the religious leaders and university teachers in the powerful Islamic city of Zeila in NW Somalia. Because of the Islamic expansion, Aksum was cut from other Christian kingdoms which created their own unique form of Coptic Christianity by incorporating Judaistic rituals and laws and putting a large focus on monasticism. Today the majority of Tigray people are Ethiopian Orthodox, and the minority are Sunni/Sufi Muslim.

What Are Their Needs?

The Tigray need to put their faith entirely in the person of Jesus Christ, who died to pay for their sins and rose to victory over death.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Tigray people to understand that they cannot please God through works/righteousness, and they must depend entirely on his grace and mercy.
Pray for the Christian aspects of their religion to lead them to the cross.
Pray for Tigray disciples to make more disciples.

Text Source:   Joshua Project