Addis Abeba : The Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) has this morning issued an official apology for failing the Tigray region Orthodox Church and its followers during the Tigray war.
The official apology stated the Synod’s failure to plead “to end the war on time”, for failing to be physically present in Tigray during the war and even when it was possible to travel to and from Tigray, in order to “comfort the entire people of Tigray, bishops and church leaders.”
The letter also stated that the Holy Synod’s apology included an apology for the grievances and misunderstandings between the Orthodox church and the entire people of Tigray because the Holy Synod was unable to deliver the humanitarian aid to the hurting people in the Tigray region.
The Holy Synod in Addis Abeba found itself at loggerheads with the Tigray Orthodox Church in the wake of the two years devastating war in the Tigray region, which led to the Tigray Council of Bishops to severe relations with the Holy Synod, which they blamed for endorsing a “war of genocide that was declared on the people of Tigray.”
On 07 May 2021 the Archbishops in Tigray have already announced the formation of the new Tigray Orthodox Church, effectively cutting ties with the EOTC Holy Synod in Addis Abeba. The archbishops in the region said their decision to severe ties with the Synod was as a result of its silence while many priests were killed, monasteries and churches in Tigray destroyed, and religious heritages were looted during the war. Attempts at reconciliation have since not yielded a positive result.
In a joint statement the Council issued on 09 February this year, it said Tigray received a rhetoric of toxic hate speeches from some members of the Synod which had [played a role in aggravating the war, led to acts that included the burning of Tigrayan civilians, a rhetoric advocating for the erasure of Tigrayans from history and people’s conscience, and speeches from bishops who “chose Satan over people”. The Council denounced the precedent as “unforgivable historical mistake” and have since went on establishing and consolidating what is now known as the See of Selama Kessate Beharan Archdiocese, marking the end of relations with the EOTC in the center.
However, the Synod in Addis Abeba did not recognize the new structure in the region and had accused the religious leaders of creating “a new illegal regional structure in a way that violates “the institutional unity and existing structural organization of our church.”
Today’s official apology came after the Church announced that His Holiness Abuna Mathias, Patriarch of the EOTC, was due to travel to the Tigray region with a delegation of 13 Synod members to deliver the Church’s support to the region and discuss with the region’s religious leaders to find ways to mend relations.
However, the apology did not mention the main bone of contention raised by the Tigray region religious leaders that members of the Synod had played active roles in fulling the war in the region. AS