Is Abiy Ahmed’s remark appropriate?
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church experienced a challenge on January 22, 2023 when the three Bishops and members of the Holy Synod announced that they had departed it to form an ethnic Oromo synod. They ordained 26 monks as bishops in ways that violate the canons of the church. The pretext for it was grievance about “language rights” and “failure to make services available in Oromo language” – something that could not stand the test of evidence from the point of view of the Ethiopian Church. Yet, the church admitted that expansion work is needed in that area.
The Holy Synod called an emergency meeting and all bishops of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church were summoned to the patriarchate in Addis Ababa. After two days, the Holy Synod announced that it had excommunicated the three bishops while offering them an opportunity to repent and return to the church.
It has been widely believed among the followers of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church the fathers that initiated what was presented as “split” was politically motivated and the influential politicians from the Federal government and Oromia regional state were behind it. Oromia region security forces have massacred at least 13 followers of the church as they attempted to illegally hand over churches to those who broke away from the church.
On Wednesday February 15, 2023 – the Ethiopian Church announced that the problem had been resolved. It was Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who led the three Bishops to the patriarchate where they bowed to this Holiness Abune Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
Today, Fana TV, state owned media, released video footage (see below) of a meeting between six church fathers ( three from the holy Synod and three of those who attempted to form ethnic Oromo synod). Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed facilitated. Not everything he said is pleasant and has already reached Ethiopians on social media. Some of the remarks he made seem to demonstrate his penchant for ethnic Oromo politics. There are also points that are unpalatable, to say the least, from the point of view of giving instruction on how the church should operate. The very habit of lecturing on every single issue within and outside of the realms of government functions is something that needs improvement. The government was only asked to enforce law and stop harassing Christians who clamored for the unity of the Holy Synod and a single patriarchate.
He even suggested government model of resource redistribution as a solution to resolve that part of the problem that relates to resource management.
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Video : embedded from Fana TV YouTube channel
Cover photo : screenshot from the video
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