The Ethiopian Church said the government is not enforcing laws as the illegal group is invading church properties in the Oromo region of Ethiopia. Deceleration of fasting and prayer came in response to it.
The Ethiopian Church on Friday declared three days of prayer and fasting in response to heavy-handed government policy to cuddle the group that declared a patriarchate in Oromia region while continuing to harass those who stood firm with the Ethiopian Church Holy Synod in the region.
This is the second declaration of prayer in less than two weeks in connection with what the Ethiopian Church calls a violation of the church’s canons. The situation is being described in many media outlets as a “schism.”
The fasting and prayer are declared in a way to coincide with Nineveh fasting, one of the seven fasting of the church. It is based on the Biblical teachings from Jonah 3:5 “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. “
The statement from the Holy Synod, released today, recalled that the group that drifted from the Church was excommunicated. But the group is not refraining from illegal activities and is getting support from government forces, invading offices of dioceses in the region, and breaking into churches that belong to the Ethiopian church illegally.
The statement also indicated that priests and the laity are being arrested. “Because the government is unable to protect the rights of the church to exercise its law, the Holy Synod found it necessary to pray to the almighty God,” said the statement as an explanation for the purpose of the three days of prayer and fasting.
The call is addressed to members of the church in and outside of the country. The Holy Synod asked followers of the church to dress in black during the three days of prayer and fasting. The black dress is, it is said, to convey perseverance in adversity. Hundreds of thousands of social media users have already changed profile pictures to black with an emblem of the church in response to the call. Dozens of rallies are also called in North America, Europe and Australia – among others.
Last week, three Bishops drifted from the Holy Synod of one of the oldest churches in the world in pursuit of an ethnic-based patriarchate to operate from the Oromia region of Ethiopia.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government this week remarked on the situation in the church. He said the matter is “simple” and insinuated dialogue is the best solution in a way giving recognition to the group that drifted away. In fact, he said that he spoke to the group and that “they have valid points.” He framed the issue as if the Ethiopian Church has no interest in providing service in different languages.
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