Ethiopia Orthodox Church threatens strike

Saturday, February 4th, 2023 07:20 | By
Abune Mathias, Patriarch of Ethiopian Orthodox Church. PHOTO/Reuters.

The top leadership, or synod, of Ethiopia’s Orthodox church, the largest religious denomination in the country, has threatened to call nationwide rallies to be led by its patriarch, Abuna Mathias.

The church has criticised Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s recent statements regarding rogue clergy involved in the appointment of bishops without its knowledge.

Abiy’s lengthy remarks, broadcast on national television on Tuesday, came after the church’s synod excommunicated the breakaway clergy, who are from the country’s Oromia region.

He warned his cabinet members against getting involved in the church’s affairs. However, he said both sides “have truths.”

The synod said the PM’s remarks disregarded its decisions, challenged its authority and gave recognition to an “illegitimate power-hungry” group.

Some of Abiy’s statements were “misleading”, it added.

The breakaway clergy accuse the church of maintaining a system of linguistic and cultural hegemony in which congregations in Oromia are not served in their native languages. The church denies the accusation.

The breakaway clergy said they had “overwhelming” public support after touring some areas in the conflict-prone western Oromia.                        -

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