The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Holy Synod issued a statement requesting retractions and defying some statements from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's briefing on the controversy in the church.
“The Holy Synod would like to announce that we will relentlessly disclose to the world the injustice inflicted on the church until the issue is resolved going to the extent of martyrdom,” reads the statement.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gave a televised briefing and reflection on the recent controversy between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Holy Synod and dissident clergy who allegedly ordained 26 episcopates and happened to be excommunicated by the Holy Synod’s urgent assembly.
The Church’s statement detailed the points that it said are pronounced mistakenly/ intentionally by the Prime Minister and should be corrected.
The church said the Prime Minister normalized the situation considering it as a simple matter which can be resolved around the table while being oblivious to the grave consequences it would have.
“The Prime Minister’s speech and elaboration is one that encourages lawlessness, shrieks the government’s responsibility of defending legal institutions resulting in recognizing the ill motives of illegal groups, and inconsiderate of the church’s ancient history and national significance.”
The government’s secularity and impartiality are other issues that are challenged by the Church. In this regard, the statement mentioned the recent detention of holy fathers, the backup and patrol the dissident clergies are having from Oromia Police, and the trespassing and grabbing of the church’s compounds by the groups they called illegal.
“Such instances attest that our government has violated the constitution and gives the implication that a Holy Synod coup is being undertaken with its acknowledgment.”
Among the Prime Minister’s words rebuked by the Church are the issues he raised on mediating the split Patriarchy in the US and Ethiopia by bringing home the late Abuna Merkorios, granting the church a larger portion of land compared to other religious institutions, restoration of Lalibela Churches holy site, and the church’s failure of adopting multi-lingual spiritual services.
Concerning the Prime Minister’s comment that the right to use one’s own language can not be oppressed, the statement said the church’s history demonstrates that it has granted the right to language and had long been delivering its services in the people’s language in the indicated Oromia Region and accusation of repression of the use of languages has an undercover intent.
“While the underlying facts on the use of languages are these, considering the church has closed its door to multi-lingual services by the Prime Minister is a way of approving the acts of the power monger illegal spiritual groups,”
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Holy Synod called on the government to execute its responsibility of defending the church’s institutional order and its legal rights by taking corrective measures on illegal acts.
The church precautioned it would hold local and international demonstrations to voice the grievances that all the holy fathers, bishops, and congregation, including the Patriarch, will be attending.