Home > Uncategorized > The death of Aba Paulos and the opportunity to unite the Ethiopian Orhodox Church

The death of Aba Paulos and the opportunity to unite the Ethiopian Orhodox Church

The death of Aba Paulos and the opportunity to unite the Ethiopian Orhodox Church

by Hailu Dejen

The long held canon law of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church about the assignment of a patriarch has been that no otherThe death of Aba Paulos and the opportunity to unite the Ethiopian Orhodox Church patriarch be appointed while an existing patriarch is still alive unless the incumbent is found guilty of betraying the church’s teaching, adultery or murder. In 1992 a grave mistake was committed by the forceful imposition of Aba Paulos as a “patriarch” unjustly displacing the existing Patriarch, Aba Merkoriwos for no good reason. The heavy hand of the TPLF government, the greedy nature of some church fathers and the complacency of us, the faithful, were the main reasons that made such a serious mistake possible. The consequence has been the division and weakening of our church.

The damage the late Aba Paulos has caused is enumerable. However, the most glaring damage of all is the division he has brought to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and most recently his complacence while the age old monastery, Waldiba, is being desecrated. Aba Paulos is gone now, may God bless his soul. It is a relief for the church that he is out of the scene. This brings an opportunity to fix the two decades old division in our church. This is a momentous time to correct the grave mistake that was committed some 20 years ago and left our beloved church splintered. Unless we do the right thing now, it will be saddening to see a divided and weakened Orthodox Church that we will pass to the generation to come. This will have a direct impact on the future of Ethiopia as well.

We need to step back and think thoroughly before we start beating the drum of electing another “patriarch”. We must not repeat the very mistake that caused us so much trouble. Remember, how the deceased, came to power 20 years ago. It was orchestrated by TPLF to control and weaken the church. If there is anyone out there who still believes Patriarch Merkoriwos relinquished his position due to ill health, I would say he/she must not have been observing what the TPLF has been doing to justify every atrocity it committed against our church and Ethiopia in the past two decades. Read the diplomatic cable released by wikileaks on what the then TPLF Prime Minister Tamirat Layne, now a protestant preacher, told to the US Embassy in Addis Ababa about how they caused the division of our church.

Now that Aba Paulos is gone, the most important question should be how we can restore unity, dignity, and holy leadership going forward. This is the time to think how to solve our Church’s most pressing problem, the division. It is time for soul searching and praying to God for guidance, and not a time to simply vent our emotions. If we allow a second “patriarch” by election or government imposition, we will guarantee the perpetuation of the very problem that divided our church for the past 20 years.

We are fed up of the division, trivialization of our values, corruption in the church, desecration of our holly places, etc. We are tired of the weeping, the heart aching and helplessly murmuring as we witness ill being done to our Orthodox Church.

We pray to God to give the fathers of the church to seize this moment as an opportunity to heal the division in our church. They must start conversation for peace and unity. For the sake of mending the splinter in the church, restoring the Patriarch Abune Merkoriwos appears to be the only best option. Unless God does his divine intervention, such a wise idea to solve the church’s most significant problem is likely to be ignored by some short sighted church fathers, complacent followers and the intervention of the oppressive TPLF government. TPLF would like to assign, or may already have picked, another cadre. This is what must not happen if the Orthodox Church is to be united. We believe that God’s plan and work is supreme as we are witnessing it these days. However, our church may remain divided if we sit by and don’t do our part. It will at last be united if we pray and rise up for our rights in defense of our faith. We must learn from our Muslim brothers and reject any interference that may come from the TPLF.

May God bless our Orthodox Church! May God bless Ethiopia!

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