News: Dissenting Archbishop returns to Diocese where Church schism first ruptured as Holy Synod continues rejection

A poster from a local church in Qerssa Malima Woredsa hangs on a minivan with a message “We are behind our fathers.” The poster shows the three breakaway Archbishops at the center of the ongoing controversy, Abune Eustathius, Abune Sawiros, and Abune Zena Markos. Picture: Sinoodoosii Oromiyaa

Addis Abeba – Abune Sawiros (PhD), Archbishop of South West Shoa Diocese, who is excommunicated by Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church (EOTC) Holy Synod in Addis Abeba, has returned today to Woliso city, in South West Shoa zone of Oromia regional state, where he is welcomed by thousands of supporters.

It is recalled that the move by the three dissenting Archbishops, led by Abune Sawiros, to appoint two dozen episcopate three weeks ago in Woliso has sent a shock-wave through the Church’s followers who considered the act as “illegal appointment.” It also led to the immediate excommunication of the Bishops and their nominee episcopate by the Synod in Addis Abeba.

This is the first time Abuna Sawiros went back to the Diocese where Haro Beale Wold Church, which is located in Woliso town, Sodo Dache district, is found and, a sign of the continued split in the Church as his return to the Diocese is taking place despite the rejection by the Holy Synod in Addis Abeba.

The dissenting Archbishops who now refer to themselves and their supporting clergymen as “Holy Synod of Oromia and Nations and Nationalities,” have also continued dispatching their appointee episcopate to their assigned dioceses and parishes. The first round of such dispatch took place to West Wollega and Kellem Wollega dioceses in western Oromia.

But a similar event in the city of Shashemene, in West Arsi zone of the Oromia Region on Saturday 04 February was marred by clashes and police shooting which “claimed the lives of many people.”

The Holy Synod has accused the government of direct involvement in the crisis. AS

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