One protestant church head called Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church – “Enat Betekrestian” translates to “Mother Church”
Leaders from the Inter-religious council of Ethiopia this week visited the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church patriarchate.
The purpose was to ask the Ethiopian Church for an apology for a recent slur by Yonathan Akililu, a protestant pastor whom the Ethiopian Prime Minister in the past hailed as a role model.
The pastor spoke to a protestant crowd insulting the theology of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
The religious leaders are from Islamic Affairs, Ethiopian Catholic Church and Protestant Churches – a total of six leaders from six religious groups.
The Ethiopian Church was questioning the relevance of remaining a member of Ethiopia’s Inter-Religious Council when members were silent about the insult to one of the oldest churches on earth.
Days after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s hero pastor insulted the Ethiopian church, Archbishop Abune Abraham, head of the patriarchate office, and Abune Petros made a statement saying the church is sad and it is questioning whether it should continue to be a member of the religions council.
Before the leaders asked for an apology, there was a meeting in the Ethiopian Orthodox patriarchate. It discussed current affairs as it relates to the problems the church faced.
The Ethiopian Orthodox church has been on the receiving end of administrative, political, economic and social attacks since Abiy Ahmed took office as Prime Minister although he is credited with uniting the Holy Synod that was split due to the TPLF leadership intervention in the church affairs about three decades ago.
In southern Ethiopia, there have been repeated cases where the church was denied the right to celebrate religious processions and holidays in the open spaces as in the traditions of the church. Zone level authorities were reportedly involved in the decision.
There have also been multiple cases where churches were burned, and priests and deacons killed. In parts of Oromo region of Ethiopia, Ethiopian church followers were targeted and killed in 2020.
Some Ethiopian government officials have been saying that they have nothing against the Ethiopian Church.
Ethiopian church leaders and the laity on the other hand have been manifesting sentiments of grievance for being for the attack.
Some Inter-Religious Council leaders say religious conflict would be far more dangerous than ethnic-based conflict, and they called for respect for one another.
His Holiness Abune Mathias expressed gratitude for the religious leaders who visited the Patriarchate to ask for an apology.
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