On Thursday, church officials said that the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church elected Abune Mathias Asrat (see bio here) as its new patriarch to replace its previous First Hierarch, Abune Patriarch Paulos Yohnannes, who died in August 2012. Daniel Sefermikael, a church official, said, “Abune Matthias… Archbishop of Jerusalem (for the Ethiopian OTC) was elected with a majority of the votes cast”. He said that Mathias got about 500 out of 806 votes cast. Mathias, 71, has lived abroad for over 30 years, initially fleeing Ethiopia following a military coup by Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1974. He has since travelled throughout Europe and North America, and will now settle in Ethiopia to serve as patriarch.
About 63 percent of Ethiopia’s 83 million people are Christian, with the majority following the Orthodox faith, according to official figures. Mathias will be sworn in at an official ceremony in Addis Ababa on Sunday, which tens of thousands of people are expected to attend. The office of the patriarch has been vacant since August after Abune Paulos died of an undisclosed illness. He had served as head of the Ethiopian OTC since 1992. Ethiopian patriarchs have the title Abune, which means “father” in Amharic. Ethiopia is home to some of Africa‘s oldest Orthodox churches, including a cluster of 11 ancient rock-hewn churches in Lalibela designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
28 February 2013
Agence France Presse
As quoted in Global Post
On Thursday, the Fisherman’s Throne in the Vatican was vacant as of 20.00 CET (11.00 PST. 14.00 EST. 19.00 UTC. 23.00 MSK. 06.00 1 March AEST), after Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger left the Apostolic Palace, heading for the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo. Earlier on Thursday, he addressed all the cardinals in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, giving them a blessing and shaking hands. Benedict also bid his followers farewell on Thursday in the last message on his Twitter account, which he later closed, texting, “Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives”.
Benedict, who became the 265th Pope of Rome in 2005 following his predecessor John Paul II Wojtyła’s death, announced his resignation due to old age and failing health on 11 February. The last pope to step down voluntarily was Gregory XII Corraro in 1415. Earlier, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said that the conclave to elect a successor to Benedict could begin before 15 March if all the cardinals were present in Rome. Under church rules, the conclave should begin between 15 to 20 days after the papacy becomes vacant, to give cardinals time to get to Rome.
28 February 2013
It’s Another Discovery of the Century
Women scientists working in the biological sciences are less likely than their male colleagues to resort to unscrupulous tricks… nine out of ten researchers caught cheating were from the stronger sex.
23 January 2013