Egyptian Coptic Church Supports Ethiopian Church. The Holy Synod will have a meeting following the days of prayers to resolve the subversive ordination with the move to establish Oromia Patriarchate
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church on Wednesday started three days of prayers as part of the rituals before the meeting of the Holy Synod. The Opening ceremony was held in St. Mariam Church near the Patriarchate.
Ethiopian Church bishops from across Ethiopia and oversea have arrived at the Patriarchate in Arak Kilo in response to the call from His Holiness Abune Mathias.
His Eminence Abune Petros on Monday called upon Ethiopian Airlines to cooperate and facilitate flights to Addis Ababa.
Earlier this week His Holiness Abune Mathias announced something unexpected has happened in our church and that the Holy Synod needs to discuss it.
Out of what appears to be a stint of pacifism, the incident was framed as Episcopal ordination in violation of the canons of the church.
What really happened was rather a politically motivated breakaway of three bishops who were a member of the Holy Synod with the objective to form an ethnic Oromo-based patriarchate in what is called the Oromia region of Ethiopia. The three bishops ordained 25 other bishops and assigned them to dioceses across the Oromo region of Ethiopia. Implied in their act is that they are taking over Churches in the region.
The development within the Ethiopian church has generated a great deal of reaction including from non-believers.
Three members of the Holly Synod have been clandestinely working to form an ethnic-Oromo-based separate synod by breaking away from the Ethiopian Patriarchate. Abune Sawiros, Abune Melketsadek and Abune Ewostatewos were the ring leaders in the plot which many saw as a coup d’Saint Synode. The pretext is to provide service in the Oromia region in Oromo language. It has been over a decade since Ethiopian Church started to give service in the language.
And it was carefully executed a few days ago in a rural church near Wolliso – which is about 110 kilometers south of Addis Ababa- where they ordained about 25 Episcops and bishops in violation of the Ethiopian church’s canon.
There are all kinds of indications that government authorities had information about what was going on. For example, according to Adebabay Media report, security forces were deployed near the three Bishops ordained bishops and episcopate. Members of the laity who learned about the violation of the Church’s canon and what was underway near Woliso were on their way to halting it but they were reportedly attacked by security forces and turned back.
The Holy Synod is expected to pass the decision when the meeting is completed and faithful Ethiopians were advised to wait in patience and not engage in any other undesirable activity.
When His Holiness Abune Mathias announced the development, he called on the government to protect churches and the laity. However, there are reports that security forces deployed to protect the patriarchate and the area are withdrawn.
Meanwhile, one of the ordained bishops submitted a letter of Apology and returned to the Church. Aba Tsegab Adugna kneeled down at the feet of Abune Petros after finishing reading the letter of apology he prepared. He apologized for being part of an action that caused grief to many Ethiopians, including those outside of the faith.
Egyptian Coptic Church reacted to the situation
According to a report by EOTC Media, the Egyptian Coptic Church has rejected Abune Sawiros-led schism and the move to install themselves as patriarchates in the Oromo region of Ethiopia.
The Church said that it entirely rejects the move as it is against the ancient Orthodox Church canons. It called the ordination of 26 Bishops illegal.
The Coptic Church also encouraged Bishops to keep the Orthodox traditions intact and strengthen unity.
It is unclear if other Orthodox Churches communicated with His Holiness Abune Mathias to express solidarity in the face of what appears to be a government-supported devastating attack on the church.
For the past four years, the church endured violence and many churches were burned in Oromia regions and several orthodox church followers were killed including priests and deacons. Monasteries were set on fire. The church was restricted from celebrating religious holidays in some places in South Ethiopia. Resistance to it was at times dealt with brute force.
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