The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Media, on Tuesday, said 17 illegally appointed Bishops submitted a “letter of apology” to the Ethiopian Church.
The source said that His Grace Abune Abraham received and read out the letter. He is presenting the letter to the Holy Synod.
It is also indicated that His Grace Abune Abraham and His Grace Abune Petros held discussions with the illegally appointed bishops who submitted their “letter of apology.”
However, information that is circulating on social media regarding the development sounds different. While the circulating account confirms that the monks who were illegally appointed as bishops, in what was meant to be an ethnic Oromo synod to operate from Oromia region, it indicated that the letter of apology is rather a misnomer.
It seems it has defied to ask for an apology from the Holy Synod – the highest body of the Ethiopian church which is one of the Oldest churches on earth.
On Monday, Aba Teklehaimanot Weldu, who was a member of the renegade group submitted a letter. Without stating any words of apology, he said he will commit himself to implementing the ten points agreement that was reached between the Church and the group to which he was a member. And he asked that his salary be reinstated and his residence is made available for him again.
There are voices on social media that are expressing resentment that these monks did not demonstrate readiness to ask for forgiveness. In doing so, they are triggering questions about whether they dare to consider themselves spiritual when they fail to ask forgiveness for violating the church canons.
It is to be recalled that dozens of Ethiopian Orthodox Church followers were gunned down in the Oromia region, by the region’s security forces, as they attempted to protect their church from the illegal groups. It was widely believed that radical ethnic Oromo nationalist elements within the government structure (both at the Federal and Oromia regional state levels) were behind the renegade group.
On January 22, three archbishops who were members of the Holy Synod, illegally appointed 26 bishops in violation of the canons of the Ethiopian Church. The aim was to establish a separate “Oromia and Other nations and nationalities,” synod. Ethiopian Church Holy Synod held an emergency meeting on January 26 to deliberate on the matter and excommunicate the group that broke away in pursuit of the ethnic church. At the same time, the Holy Synod left the door ajar for the group to remorse and rejoin after receiving repentance canons from his Holiness Abune Mathias.
As the government continued to support the illegal group, the Ethiopian Church called for three days of fasting and prayer. It also ordered the laity to dress in black for three days at which point Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration demonstrated interest in “mediating” the Church and the renegade group. The Holy Synod did not sit with Abiy Ahmed for mediation with the illegal group but the church assigned three archbishops for a talk with the government and the three illegal archbishops. After two days, news broke that an “agreement” was reached and the group was to rejoin the Church but the new appointees were not to be accepted as bishops.
It has been several weeks since that agreement was reached but many of the members of the group did not show up at the church as per the agreement until today. The church extended calls for peace last week.
The Ethiopian church has been facing orchestrated government-backed attacks in different parts of the country – especially in the Oromia region. Last week, a priest was stoned to death in the outskirts of Addis Ababa as he was heading home after finishing mass service in the church.
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