Abune Sawiros , a member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Holy Synod, emerging as “Patriarch of Oromia.” Ethiopian Patriarch His Holiness Abune Mathias called the move illegal
Just days after celebrating the feast of Epiphany across the country, what looks like a coup against the Ethiopian Church – one of the oldest churches in history – is happening.
A group of Patriarchs, who seem to have been organizing clandestinely, declared a new Holy Synod for the Oromia region. The action is regarded as illegal and an attack on the Ethiopian church with a move to divide the Holy Synod.
The group has appointed Bishop Abune Sawiros as the patriarch for the Oromo region. It has ordained “Bishops” in Wolisso as part of the move to declare itself independent from the Ethiopian Holy Synod. There have been efforts in the past to establish the “Oromia Holy Synod” but was reversed with mediation from Ethiopian Church fathers.
Bishop Abune Sawiros ran in the June election for the position of Head of the Ethiopian Church but finished third securing only seven votes.
Ethiopian Patriarch His Holiness Abune Mathias announced on Sunday that he had learned about the new development and summoned all Bishops outside of the country to the patriarchate to discuss the matter and pass a decision. They are advised to make it to the Patriarchate as soon as possible.
His Holiness said the development is illegal and has no recognition from the Ethiopian Church.
He also called on the Ethiopian government to understand the security implications of the new development and take necessary action to address the matter.
For the faithful of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the message is “stay vigilant” and pay attention to the messages from Holy Synod.
The Protestant church and Islamic faiths are not currently facing any challenges of separation from the “Oromia” region of Ethiopia.
There are speculations among those who are close to the church that moves are politically motivated and are backed by politicians. The Oromia region has been facing a security crisis for over four years now as what Shane, as the government calls it, the militant group has been attacking innocent civilians and at times burning churches.
PM Abiy Ahmed is credited with uniting the Holy Synod after the TPLF imposed exile on the fourth patriarch of Ethiopia, His Holiness Abune Merkorios, soon after it took power in Addis Ababa in 1991.
At this writing, PM Abiy has not remarked on the new development.
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