inside the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
....I am an atheist, but
I do respect all religions. I grew up in an orthodox family. I beg
forgiveness from all Christians for what I am about to write.
all due respect to those who have spent time and effort to resolve the
conflict between the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church at Addis
Ababa and defectors in the United States of America, I would like to point
out major transgressions that will weaken the church.
was in Addis Ababa when Abunna Markorios, the former Patriarch of Ethiopia
fled the country. If Ato Tamrat’s testimony is that he left the country
under duress, it is far from the truth. Abunna MArkorios happened to have
been a very passive Patriarch who failed to defend the Ethiopian Orthodox
Church. The Patriarch before him, Abunna Tewoflos was murdered by Derg,
the military junta and buried on the threshold of the palace and Abunna
MArkarios did not raise a finger. When EPRDF entered Addis Ababa after it
toppled the military, the patriarch was in a state of panic and sought
shelter at American Embassy.
Embassy wanted to stay neutral and was seeking information and advice as
to how to handle this delicate request. EPRDF’s response then was one of
no interest because it had more pressing issues of keeping Addis Ababa
stable. Remember Mogadishu few weeks bore EPRDF had entered Addis Ababa
was in flames and Somalia had had disintegrated into a failed state.
That’s what most of us had expected to happen with the fall of Derg. So,
the feedback to the embassy was that EPRDF did not care how the US handled
the issue. He could stay like everyone else and allow the Orthodox Church
the opportunity to resolve his concerns.
should also be remembered that he EPRDF firmly believed in separation of
State and Church. They were communists, but did not want to suppress
religion similar to the military junta. With no takers and no interest,
the US Embassy arranged his departure to the US through Kenya. Story
contrary to this is untrue. I have on reason to lie about this story. I am
sure the Patriarch himself would corroborate my version of the account.
of the Foundation of the Institution
major reason put forward to justify the transgression of the church
leaders who against the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church teachings and
rules formed a second synod and appointed a patriarch. The reconciliation
note states that the negotiators decided to sacrifice the church rules for
expediency and coming together where both contenders came out winners.
Contrary to what the newly appointed PM presumes, the entire diaspora
“added” is only 0.45% of the population of Ethiopia and only 0.8% of
this case, the dissenting voices were not related to cannons violated or
persecution. The church leaders who came to America had competed for the
patriarchy and lost. Those who served them as deacons were mostly
recruited from Ethiopia during and after the Derg. Both leaders and
followers were no different than secular people seeking power and/or
economic improvement. They obviously fell prey to politicians who had
their own ax to grind. What was so tragic were the men and women who
either did not know the difference or had no choice but worship in the
churches that were staffed with leaders who were excommunicated by the
these decanters had a case they would have appealed to the Holy Synod in
the motherland. They knew better and they did not. Peace or reconciliation
where root cause of conflict or fundamental mistakes committed by the
feuding parties is only temporary at best and damaging to principles and
values that may never be repaired. Thus, an institution that compromises
on solid rules and laws believed and followed by the faithful diminishes
itself. So it is with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which stands
at a crossroads. It has taken a step on the wrong path; it could pull back
the starting foot into the cross in order to rethink, dialogue and discuss
to reach a better consensus. Should it ignore the red flags and proceed on
the path it is about to start, the institutional values and respect
accorded it will vanish.