By Staff reporter
ADDIS ABABA – Information obtained from Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) indicates that offenses, breaking of law and violation of human rights perpetrated against the Church and the laity continued in an intensive manner. Tension is rampant around Churches of Orthodox Christianity. Followers are being detained, Churches are raided and broken into, individuals who were condemned to stop their illicit acts have come back with their evil doings, various sources indicated.
General Secretary of the Association of Clerics in North America, Abba Neway Kassahun told Anchor Media that individuals who are supported by the government security forces have inflicted illicit acts deliberately in a bid to destroy the Holy Orthodox Church.
“The 25 illegal members drawn from the splinter group get together for discussions in hotels and come up with their unlawful acts in various parts of the country. The individual who was assigned by the group in Shashemene had his seat at a hotel in the town and gave orders to church service givers that they should get back to their duties or else he will take all the necessary measures,” Abba Neway said.
Abba Neway said that the splinter group continued with its illicit acts in Wollega, East Hararghe, Shashemene and Arsi-Negelle areas. They disrupted the holy Mass at Debre Mitsilal Church in Asella Town of East Arssi Dioses. “The individual who claimed to be assigned by the illegal group tried to raid the church being escorted by Oromia Security Forces who were jam-packed in by five patrol police wagons,” Abba Neway said.
All these things are reportedly being done in the wake of the joint discussion held between the religious fathers of Orthodox Church and President of Oromia Regional State, Shimelis Abdissa last Friday, March 3, 2023. “During the discussion the President promised to the religious fathers that he would bring back the 25 members of the splinter group. He also said that those who were in Wollega areas would be ordered back through a letter. What was confirmed to the religious father by the president, Shimelis Abdissa, was that the runaway group would not do anything wrong against the church,” Abba Neway said.
However, what the president had promised has not been implemented. The group has continued with its sinful acts. “What the government bodies have been doing currently is to buy time or to change their strategy. It seems they will go ahead with their worst destruction. What they are doing now shows that they keep on doing their malicious acts in an intensified manner. They are detaining followers of the church. They have kept on raiding the churches under the bright sun.”
Sources also said that members of the illicit group are doing what the canon of the Holy Church prohibits. Killing bulls in this time of fasting is completely denounced by the church, according to some religious fathers. Oromia Police have not released those who have been thrown behind bars. Many clerics and laities of Orthodox Christianity have still been languishing in prisons in Shashemene, Awash, Arsi-Negelle and other parts of Oromia Region. Though the Oromia Regional State and the police commission are duty bound to ensure peace and security, lawless individuals and groups are committing many acts of legal violations and property loss in daylight.
Abba Neway stressed that the government has broken its promise to lose grip against the Ethiopian Orthodox Holy Church. “Many people are still detained. Though there are ten points we have come up with to apply, none of them has so far been implemented. The Shashemene dioses has not started church services yet. This is the time in which the young people were in trouble walking over to churches. Many others have not yet been set free from dungeons… What the government needs is to let the church bow down to its interest… to destroy Ethiopianism and establish self-dominance and to secure the advantages of the few,” Abba Neway said.
He said at length that he was discouraged by the government. “Justice is not expected from a lawless body. The sordid acts inflicted at the compound of St. George is a clear indication of what they are doing.” However, he said that the church would keep on resisting the illegal acts by pursuing all peaceful means.
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