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Ethiopia – The Capuchin Franciscan Research and Retreat Center

About the Institute

The Centre is an autonomous institution under the Capuchin Custody of Ethiopia. It has signed a memorandum of Agreement with the Catholic University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, ECUSTA. The center is located within the compound of Saint Francis Friary, in North West of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The center has two branches:

  • The research wing is also known by the name “Awde Ethiopia”. It organizes national and international conferences on Literature, Art, Philosophy, Theology, Ancient Languages and Ethiopian Values. It also conducts research projects with Ethiopian and foreign scholars. It publishes research books and an annual journal.
  • The retreat wing organizes or hosts spiritual retreats, workshops and spiritual conversations.  



The Capuchin Franciscan Research and Training Center has two main objectives:

  • To promote research work in the field of Humanities, with a special focus on Classical and Ethiopian Literature, Philology, Philosophy and Theology.
  • To foster spiritual growth through spiritual retreats, Lectio Divina, counseling, on-going formation for priests, the religious, the laity and Franciscan studies.

The center organizes regular ecumenical seminars, twice a month to study ancient and recent texts, modern literature and current situations. National and International Conferences are also hosted by the research center, whereas, proceedings and research results are supposed to be published. The center hopes to make research material available for researchers by, among other things, setting up a specialized library, with digital material at disposal for study. Scholars and students interested in Ethiopian literature, both ancient (in Ge’ez) and modern are welcome. Philological and historical studies are given attention for the analysis of texts in Ge’ez.

Recent achievements and projects in Ethiopic Studies

  • A concordance to the first book of Enoch; needs proof reading only before publication if funds are found. The following is in preparation:
  • A concordance to the Catholic Epistles in the Ethiopic Version
  • A concordance to the Gospels in the Ethiopic Version
  • A Concordance to the whole Ge’ez Bible

Recent achievements and projects in Spiritual Classics

The center encourages and facilitates the study of Classical literature. It has started translations, into Ethiopian languages, of classical texts in philosophy and theology, especially the writings of the Church fathers which are not already existent in Ge’ez.

A number of books have been translated into Amharic and published; they have been appreciated by many Ethiopians. These are:

  • The “Confession” of Saint Augustine     
  • The “Interior Castle” of Saint Theresa of Avila
  • “The Journey of the Mind to God” of Saint Bonaventure
  • “The Tree of life” of Saint Bonaventure
  • The “Life of Moses” of Saint Gregory of Nyssa
  • The Commentary of Saint Mathew by Origen

Waiting for publication

  • The “Trinity” of Saint Gregory of Nyssa
  • The “Holy Spirit” of Saint Gregory of Nyssa
  • “On the Incarnation” of Saint Athanasius
  • The Way of the pilgrim (anonymous Russian author)
  • The Holy Spirit by Saint Basil

A Catholic Edition of the Bible in Amharic

This seven-years project, which is just completed in 2019, became part of the duties of the Research Center since 2013.  

Teaching Ge’ez (Classical Ethiopic for foreigners)

A one month intensive course has been offered to members of the research center in July 2014. There is a plan of continuing to offer courses of Ge’ez and, later on, Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Syriac both for members and to all who are interested.

National conferences

A national conference of two or three days is held every year in the month of May. So far two conferences have taken place, in 2014 and 2015. Papers are presented in Amharic on Ethiopian ancient and modern literature, on Ethiopian History, on Ethiopian Theology and Biblical Interpretation, on Ethiopian Music and Art.      

International conferences

An international conference is supposed to be held every three years. The first international Syriac-Ge’ez Conference took place in May 27-30, 2013. It was successful due to a number of reasons. The 24 presentations and about 20 scientific papers offered by scholars who represented different Christian traditions and different higher Institutes was a real accomplishment.

The second international conference will be held in Feb 3-5, 2016. Among others, focus will be on Textual Analysis (Coptic-Arabic and Syriac Vorlagen), Ethiopian Commentary (Andǝmta and Syro-Arabic Influences), Historical Studies (Ancient Texts, Gondarine Texts) and Theology (Liturgy, Monastic texts, Enochic Studies, Iconography).

The third international conference took place during Feb 5-7, 2019. Papers were presented on Ethiopian History, Theology (including Iconography) and Literature.


A considerable number of lay people are coming to the center for retreats and workshops and courses on Lectio Divina, Counselling, and various programs of on-going formation for priests, the religious and the laity.


Br. Dr. Daniel Assefa (Director)

Capuchin Franciscan Research and Training Centre (CFRTC)
Foto: Daniel Assefa
Daniel Assefa, Director

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