The Anglo-Ethiopian Society

Lecture - ONLINE - Holy War: Catholic Italy's Crusade Against the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Ian Campbell

Thursday 22nd July 2021

Online event starting at 19:00 BST - Public lecture (all welcome to join).

Note - Register for the event on Eventbrite and you'll be emailed a Zoom link shortly before the event.


In 1935, Fascist Italy invaded the sovereign state of Ethiopia - a war of conquest that triggered a chain of events culminating in the Second World War. In this stunning and highly original tale of two Churches, historian Ian Campbell brings a whole new perspective to the story, revealing that bishops of the Italian Catholic Church facilitated the invasion by sanctifying it as a crusade against the world's second-oldest national Church.

Cardinals and archbishops rallied the support of Catholic Italy for Il Duce's invading armies by denouncing Ethiopian Christians as heretics and schismatics, and announcing that the onslaught was an assignment from God.

Ian uses evidence from three decades of research to expose the martyrdom of thousands of clergy of the venerable Ethiopian Church, the burning and looting of hundreds of Ethiopia's ancient monasteries and churches, and the instigation and arming of a jihad against Ethiopian Christendom, the likes of which had not been seen since the Middle Ages.

Finally, he traces how, after Italy's surrender to the Allies, the horrors of this pogrom were swept under the carpet of history, and the leading culprits put on the road to sainthood.

Ian Campbell has written several books on the Italian military occupation of Ethiopia (1936-41) in recent years: The Plot to Kill Graziani (Addis Ababa University Press, 2010), The Massacre of Debre Libanos (Addis Ababa University Press, 2014), and The Addis Ababa Massacre (Hurst, London & Oxford University Press, New York, 2017).

Holy War - The Untold Story of Catholic Italy's Crusade Against the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is his latest book, which will be published by Hurst in August 2021.

Ian Campbell divides his time between Nairobi and Addis Ababa.


Please reserve your place soon to avoid disappointment.

Eventbrite Tickets - Holy War: Catholic Italy's Crusade Against the Ethiopian Orthodox Church by Ian Campbell


Holy War book Holy War - The Untold Story of Catholic Italy's Crusade Against the Ethiopian Orthodox Church by Ian Campbell.

Publisher : Hurst Publishing, August 2021

ISBN : 9781787384774 (hardback)

UK RRP £30

First Published in News File Spring 2021

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