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HomeEthiopian NewsEthiopian Church says gov't statement takes away church right, we reject it

Ethiopian Church says gov’t statement takes away church right, we reject it

The peaceful demonstration will go as planned if the government is not responding to the demands of the church  said the statement from the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church 

Ethiopian Church expressed gratitude to all regional states, except Oromia and Addis Ababa city Administration, for defending the rights of the church and enforcing law 

Ethiopian Church _ Abiy _ peaceful demonstration
Image source : Mahibere Kidusan

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A day after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government released a stern statement, via the Security and Intelligence Task Force, the Holy Synod of Ethiopian Orthodox Church released a statement with the blessing of his Holiness Abune Mathias. 

The Holy Synod said the statement from the government that was released on Wednesday took away our church’s right and it is illegal.

Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday held a closed door meeting with cabinet ministers and security authorities soon after he arrived from a “working visit to Italy and  France.” 

The Security and Intelligence Task Force, whose head is the Prime Minister himself, announced, on the same day, that it has received reports of planned demonstrations and that it is not authorized by relevant authorities. 

The  government also framed the Ethiopian Church’s demand for an end to attack on followers of the church in Oromia and an end to illegal support to illegal group ( which the government calls fathers”) as something that is orchestrated by “internal and external enemies of Ethiopia.” At least 37 followers of the Ethiopian Church and priests have been killed in Oromia region of Ethiopia in the past one week or so only.  Rights abuse of church fathers by Oromia police force has been prevalent in the region and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches have been seized by mobs supporting the illegal group with support from the government. 

The Ethiopian Church Holy Synod said the government’s characterization of Ethiopian Church pursuit of its rights as a movement orchestrated by “external and internal enemies” amounts to contempt to the intelligence of Ethiopians and to the Church. It is seen as perverting the issue of political consumption. The Holy Synod rejected it.

The Church said the problem is created by the government and that the solution is also in the hands of the government. It also rejected that the government is restricting the internationally recognized right for peaceful demonstration which is also enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution. 

The Ethiopian Church asked for the government to address all the demands of the Church in the next two days or the peaceful demonstration will go ahead as planned on February 12. 

On January 22, 2023 three Bishops who are members of the Holy Synod announced that they have ordained 26 episcopates as Bishops in the rural county outside of Woliso. The pretext for it was a language right that was not observed by the Ethiopian Church – which the church refutes with concrete evidence.  The move is rather seen as a pursuit of an ethnic Oromo patriarchate and it is a project by radical ethnic Oromo nationalists within the Federal government and Oromia regional state. 

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was quick to recommend negotiation between the “two groups of church fathers.”   The Ethiopian Church rejects that the government stop making a reference to two groups as there are no two groups in the church. It said three Bishops who violated the church canons are excommunicated and stripped of their ranks on the basis of the canons of the church and they will have to repent if they want to return to the church. 

Oromia regional state, with tacit support from Abiy Ahmed-led Federal government, mobilized state structure to legitimize the excommunicated group in the Oromia region and they forcefully seized Churches and an episcopal see. Dozens of Christians and priests have been killed in the process, many more wounded (some in a life-threatening situation ) and hundreds have been arrested. The Oromia regional state mounted a crackdown against those Christians who are loyal to the Holy Synod.

His Grace Abune Yosef is the archbishop of Shashemene where Oromia forces opened fire on Ethiopian Church Followers as they attempted to protect St. Michael church from the illegal groups. In an interview with EOTC TV, he said the group is 100 percent supported by the government and that the whole thing is the work of the government. He said he was even unable to travel to his dioceses to console those who lost loved ones  and assess the magnitude of the damage by Oromia police and mob (including from other faiths) that supported the illegal group. 

The statement from the Holy Synod on Thursday said the government should stop legitimizing the illegal group and demand an apology officially for all the crimes it committed against the church. It also demanded the victims of government attacks be compensated.  

The Ethiopian Church on Wednesday completed a three days of fasting during which the faithful were dressed in black as requested by the Holy Synod based on biblical traditions. It was meant to signify sorrow and grief over orchestrated attacks on church and an attempt to break up and demolish the church. Images circulating on social media showed millions of Ethiopians dressing in black and attending mass prayers. In Addis Ababa, the government banned public servants who dressed in black which the Ethiopian Church saw as a violation of rights to worship. 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you and May God Bless the our fathers, the Holy Synods. The truly faithful’s and God fearing peaceful protectors of God’s children.

    Ethiopians are with you and do not want Abiy government political interference in our religion.’

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