Addis Abeba – In an emergency plenary session the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Chuch (EOTC) held this afternoon, it has passed a decision to revoke the full authority given to three Archbishops who were involved in anointment of 26 Episcopate. The revocations of titles and authority by the Holy Synod also extends to the 25 Episcopate out of the 26 who were anointed by the three Archbishops. One of the 26, Father Tsega Zeab Adugna, has yesterday apologized to the Church and its community and voluntarily rescinded his Episcopate anointment, which was accepted by the Holy Synod.
Today’s decision by the Holy Synod followed events on Sunday Morning, when His Holiness Abune Sawiros (PhD), Archbishop of South West Shoa Diocese, together with Archbishop Eustathius and Archbishop Zena Markos, presided over the appointment of 26 bishops: 17 bishops for dioceses located in the Oromia region, and nine bishops for dioceses outside Oromia at a ceremony held in Haro Beale Wold Church.
His Holiness Abune Mathias I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church convened an emergency meeting on the same Sunday and called the appointment process “illegal” and an act done without the approval of the Holy Synod. “A great event that has targeted the church”, the Patriarch said, adding that it has taken place unexpectedly, without the knowledge of the Synod, and without discussions.
The Patriarch then summoned all members of the Holy Synod from around the world for an emergency plenary assembly, which took place today.
Subsequently, the Holy Synod issued a statement revoking the authority given to the three Archbishops as of today; The Holy Synod also said that they will be called by their former secular names without a priesthood title, were condemned by the plenary assembly of the Holy Synod and will be separated from the activities of the church.
The statement further said that the Archbishops were entrusted with the apostolic mission, but acted in a manner that violated the foundation of the faith, religious canons, and all administrative systems. It constituted an act of destroying the institution and its structure, the statement added.
However, the Holy Synod has said the doors of the Church’s mercy will remain open for the three Archbishops in the event that they decided to repent and apologized.
It is to be recalled that in presser issued after the appointment, His Holiness Abune Sawiros issued a lengthy explanation on the decision to appoint the 26 Bishops and said that it was made to resolve long lasting problems within the church for failing to serve believers in their native languages and detached of their culture, which resulted in loss of millions of believers over the past years particularly in Oromia and Southern region.
The Archbishop accused the Holy Synod that is currently in office for comprising 85% of its members from only one group and for failing to reflect the Church’s diversity. AS