News: Orthodox Synod declares faithful to wear black for Fast of Nineveh to protest against “illegal group”

His Holiness Abune Pertos, (left), Head of the Holy Synod Secretariat, and His Holiness Abune Mathias I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. File photo

Addis Abeba – The Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) in Addis Abeba has declared the faithful to observe the upcoming three days of Fast of Nineveh which will be observed from Monday 06 to Wednesday 08 February, by wearing black to protest against what it said is a government supported coup attempt to overthrow the Holy Synod by the “illegal group.”

“On the occasion of the Fast of Nineveh, Christians all over the world wear only black clothes, take vows in fasting and prayer by being present in the premises of the Church. We wear black clothes to express perseverance in suffering,” the statement said.

In declaring the three days’ prayers by wearing black, the Synod said that despite its decisions to excommunicate the breakaway archbishops and their nominee episcopate ,who now refer to themselves as Holy Synod of Oromia and Nations and Nationalities, they “are unable to refrain from their actions and with the help of government forces, they are doing great damage by forcibly invading and breaking the pontificates and offices administered by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.”

The Synod also accused the government that “instead of enforcing the law, the government failed to uphold the law and rights of the church by giving support to illegal groups, so the Holy Synod understood that it is important to pray and make vows to our all-powerful God.”

On 01 February, the Synod issued ultimatum to the government “to carry out the responsibilities assigned by the constitution by upholding the institutional supremacy of the Church, the rights and interests given to it by law, and by giving appropriate correction to the illegal actions” by the breakaway Archbishops, and alternatively, threatened to call for a worldwide protest if corrective measures were not to be taken.

Regardless of the continued protest by the Holy Synod in Addis Abeba, however, the breakaway archbishops have continued dispatching their 25 nominee episcopate to different dioceses in Oromia regional state. Reports indicate that Abune Paulus, the newly nominated episcopate by the breakaway Archbishops for the West Arsi diocese, will be traveling to the city of Shashemene over the weekend.

In a new statement it issued yesterday, the Holy Synod of Oromia and Nations and Nationalities said that starting this weekend, its ongoing apostolic journey will continue in the remaining areas of Oromia and other dioceses located in the southern regional state.

Last weekend, two nominee episcopate assigned to West Wollega and Kellem Wollega dioceses were dispatched and have received “overwhelming” public welcome from the faithful both in their respective destinations and on their routes, according to the spokesperson. AS

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