PM Minister Abiy Ahmed is getting a copy of the Holy Synod decision against Archbishops that attempted to break up the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Holy Synod on Thursday excommunicated three Archbishops who declared this week for illegally ordaining bishops earlier this week.
Abune Sawiros, Abune Ewostatewos and Anune Zena Markos were given a deadline to appear before the Holy Synod to apologize for the move in the direction of creating an ethnic Oromo patriarchate in the Oromo region of Ethiopia.
The Holy Synod said that it has confirmed from media sources that the three undertook an illegal ordination in Balewold Church in the West Shoa Diocese in Sado Dachu district – a few kilometers from Woliso town.
Apart from ex-communication, the Holy Synod stripped them of all their ecclesiastical ranks. They are no longer archbishops, bishops, priests or deacons. They are now reduced to Ato (equivalent to the English title Mr.) The decision is effective as of January 26, 2023.
25 of the 26 bishops they ordained are also stripped of all their clerical ranks in the church. The exception is Qomos Tsegazeab Adugna who repented and apologized to the Holy Synod a day before the Holy Synod passed the decision based on the church laws.
They will not be receiving any sacrament from the Ethiopian Church in life or in death too.
The Holy Synod will name Archbishops for the Dioceses and churches that were under the excommunicated Archbishops namely South West Shoa Diocese, Kenya-Uganda-Tanzania-Rwanda Diocese, Illu Aba Bora and Buno Bedele Diocese, North America Minnesota and area diocese, Guji-West Guji-Borana zone Dioceses and Miskaye Hizunan Medhane Alem Monastery (Addis Ababa)
The Holy Synod also said that the excommunicated bishops can not represent the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and can not communicate on its behalf with governmental or non-governmental organizations in the country or abroad, or with Sister churches, Easter Orthodox Churches, Rome Catholic Church and other churches.
The Ethiopian Church said it will accept them with open arms should they opt for repentance for the damage they did to the Church.
The decision from the Holy Synod will be sent to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other levels of government officials. A forum is to be organized for government officials.
The excommunicated Archbishops were intending to use the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church resources – including the churches.
Support from Sister and other churches
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church got messages of Solidarity from the Egyptian Coptic Church, Eritrean Orthodox Church, Indian Malankara Church and Other Eastern Orthodox Churches.
The Egyptian Coptic Church said that it entirely rejects the schism and “…the separation of Bishop Abune Sawiris and the installation of himself as Patriarch of the Oromo region of Ethiopia..”
The three patriarchates accused the Ethiopian Church of not offering services in the Oromigna language and also in connection with the distribution of resources to the diocese in the region.
His eminence Abune Henok, His eminence Abune Rufael and His eminence Abune Nathanael are all Oromo language speakers. They gave their testimony soon after news of illegal ordination by Abune Sawiros.
Abune Nathanael said their move does not have anything to do with offering services in Oromo. “I myself offer service in Oromigna. I sing in Oromigna, I offer liturgy and mass service in Oromigna. The church united us as brothers but politics separated us,” he said.
The Ethiopian Church has had programs and services in the Oromo language for several years now. Geez, an ancient language in the country, has been extensively used as a church language in all parts of Ethiopia and ancient church scriptures are mostly, if not entirely, in Geez language. The language has a Saba script which is also used in Eritrea. Radical ethnic Oromo nationalists tend to see the use of the ancient church language as a sort of “imposition on the Oromo People.”
Politicized religious leaders seem to be subscribing to that view.
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