Groups in Oromia detained archbishop Gorgorios III for several hours, forbade Meskel celebration

Groups in what is Oromia region of Ethiopia forbade Meskel celebration in Bishoftu town.

Abune Gorgorios III detention in Oromia

September 28, 2019

Authorities in Debre Zeit (Bihsoftu), a town just 44 kilometers southeast of the capital Addis Ababa, which is in Oromia region of Ethiopia reportedly detained Archbishop Abune Gorgorios III for several hours. 

Bishotu (Debrezeit) Horaarsidi lake is where the tradition Oromo religion,Wakefena, yearly ritual takes place. Believers of Waqefena call the the ritual “thanks giving” or Irreecha.

Abune Gorgorios is in charge of East Shewa diocese of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. 

What is known about his detention so far is that he went to the Mayor’s Office of Bishoftu around 1 p.m. local time to appeal that Church choir who were waving the Ethiopian flag, which is also widely used in the Ethiopian church, were stopped by a group of the mob as they were making procession to the city’s Meskel Square. 

Part of Meskel celebration in the tradition of the Ethiopian church is a Bonfire. In Debrezeit (Bishoftu), the pyre like structure prepared for the Bonfire was ablaze weigh before the celebration by a group believed to be radical Oromo ethnic nationalist youth, also known as Qeerroo.

And the Meskel celebration in the city was canceled. 

Borkena news writer reached out to a credible source with insider information. The sources confirmed that the incident happened, and Meskel celebration, which was celebrated across the country, did not happen in Debre Zeit.

The source also confirmed that Abune Gorgorios III went to the mayor’s office and “was not let out of the office for several hours” after he spoke with the mayor. 

However, his apparent detention was not ordered by the Mayor sources told borkena. Groups, perhaps in government offices, who seem to have overpowered the mayor might have ordered the detention. 

Related reports on social media say that Abune Gorgorios personally asked to leave and to meet “with his children [spiritual children] but the groups were not willing to do so. 

At this writing, the Abune Gorgorios is not under detention. 

What seems to be Bishoftu city administration supported detention of the archbishop and cancellation of Meskel holiday celebration in the city came at a time when Ethiopian government is claiming that it is working to address the demands of Ethiopian orthodox church.

Followers of the Ethiopian church took to the street repeatedly demanding an end to orchestrated attacks on the Ethiopian church. They accused the government of not protecting the right to freedom of religion and worship which is a constitutional right. 

The Ethiopian church has become targets of radical ethnic nationalists, especially in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, among other regions.  

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