Voices from Russia

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Elects New Patriarch

00 Abune Mathias. Ethiopian OTC. 28.02.13


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



Thursday, 16 August 2012

Ethiopian Patriarch Abune Paulos Dies in Addis Ababa


The government announced that the First Hierarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Abune Paulos Yohannes (Patriarch and Catholicos of EthiopiaIchege of the See of St Tekle Haymanot, Archbishop of Axum), died in Addis Ababa at the age of 76. There was no announcement of the cause of his death. According to some sources, the patriarch received medical treatment over the past few weeks. Abune Paulos became patriarch in 1992, a year after the fall of the totalitarian régime of Mengistu Haile Mariam. In 2007, the patriarch was able to overcome a 40-year-old rift with the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa, and, in 2009, participated in the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of Africa, held in the Vatican. In Ethiopia, almost two-thirds of the 83 million people are Christians.

17 August 2012 (MSK)

Voice of Russia World Service


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