January 27, 2023

Ethiopian Orthodox Church Holy Synod excommunicates dissident clergy in life or death

City: Addis AbabaNewsCurrent Affairs

The Holy Synod also notified that the doors of compassion of the Holy Church are always open if the condemned repent and appeal for forgiveness.

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By Ilyas Kifle

Ilyas is a reporter at Addis Zeybe experienced in creative writing and content production.

Ethiopian Orthodox Church Holy Synod excommunicates dissident clergy in life or death
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Credit: Medlot (Aba Zena [on left], Aba Sawiros [middle], and Aba Eustathius [on right])

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Holy Synod has condemned Aba Sawiros, Aba Eustathius, and Aba Zena excommunicating them from the church and banning them from receiving any spiritual service from the church whether in life or death, including 25 others who were ordained by the three Archbishops as episcopate. 

The penalized clergy were alleged to violate the church’s canonical orders by ordaining 26 episcopates without the church’s recognition and being part of the act the church called “illegal”.

The Holy Synod's plenary assembly has resolved to suspend the former spiritual titles of the Archbishops who were in charge of several dioceses and remove them from their roles. The Holy Synod will appoint new diocesan leaders in their place.

"They were presuming that their action is dictated by the wish of the Oromo people, but this act does not represent the Oromo people who love their faith, respect their forefathers, and are wise," the Holy Synod declared in its statement.

It has been agreed to host forums to inform the Holy Synod’s decision in which Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other top government officials will be in attendance.

The Holy Synod’s decision asserts that, as of Jan 26, 2022, they should be addressed by their prior secular names because their power and titles were revoked.

In response, Aba Sawiros, one of the denounced clergies, said in a recent interview on YouTube, “The newly ordained 26 episcopates are from diverse places, and speak 15 different languages. 16 of them are from the Oromia region, 8 from the Southern regional state, and 2 from the Amhara region, respectively”.

Aba Sawrios’ collective of bishops prefers to address the recently established Holy Synod as “A holy Synod of Oromia, Southern, or nations and nationalities, under the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church”.

"Our movement is not about dividing the church or any other; it is about working together with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church. If it's possible, we'd want to collaborate; if not, we'll go our separate ways”, said Aba Sawiros. In case the holy synod refuses their request, he said, they have plans to even ordain a new patriarch.

One of the leaders who lost his purity to the church, Aba Eustathius, claimed that the ordination of the episcopates did not violate church doctrine. 

Remarking that there was no government involvement in their action Aba Sawiros, said “the government cannot engage in religious matters in our nation. Therefore, if we request, the government may act on security objectives rather than religious concerns.”

All governmental, non-governmental, religious, or non-religious organizations were instructed by the holy Synod to terminate relations with the three archbishops and those ordained episcopates.

However, Aba Sawiros noted that they have several questions to present to the federal authorities, including a request to be considered as a formal religious group and personal security issues.

The Holy Synod also notified that the doors of compassion of the Holy Church are always open and that it would welcome the above-mentioned condemned clergy in accordance with the canons of the church if they repent their ill-doings and appeal for forgiveness.