An Orthodox Partnership
State formation in Ethiopia at this time involved the centralization of power by a well-organized and hierarchical military society, territorial expansion into lands beyond the Amhara highlands, and both confrontation and cooperation with European colonial interests. During this process, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was a powerful cultural and religious force in unifying the nation. The Ethiopians treated locally conquered people no better and often much worse than did their European colonial counterparts. Ethiopian conquest led to the creation of black-upon-black colonialism. The members of Menelik's delegation occupied modest positions in the imperial Ethiopian hierarchy, and Leontiev was seriously concerned that the czar would take offense at receiving such low-ranking representatives. As soon as these revelations began to pour out in the press, the foreign ministry moved to send the delegation back to Ethiopia. The purpose of Leontiev's visit with Chefneux was to explore possibilities in the private arms trade in Ethiopia.