News / Africa

    Ethiopian Patriarch Dies

    Ethiopian Orthodox Church patriarch Abune Paulos attends the opening ceremony of the first Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations in Madrid, January 15, 2008. Ethiopian Orthodox Church patriarch Abune Paulos attends the opening ceremony of the first Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations in Madrid, January 15, 2008.
    x
    Ethiopian Orthodox Church patriarch Abune Paulos attends the opening ceremony of the first Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations in Madrid, January 15, 2008.
    Ethiopian Orthodox Church patriarch Abune Paulos attends the opening ceremony of the first Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations in Madrid, January 15, 2008.
    Ashenafi Abedje
    The leader of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Paulos, has died at the age of 76. No details of his death were made available.  He had been receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness.

    Government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said a new leader will come into office based on what he called “the bylaws and canons of the Coptic Church.”

    Abune Paulos studied at Princeton's Theological Seminary in the U.S. after receiving a degree in theology from Addis Ababa University.  He was arrested in 1974 by Ethiopia's military dictatorship.  Upon his release, Abune Paulos fled to the U.S., where he spent several years in exile.

    He returned to Ethiopia in 1991 when Mengisu Hailemariam’s government collapsed and Meles Zenawi assumed power.  Shortly after, the patriarch Abuna Merkorios was dethroned under disputed circumstances.  The controversial process led to the election of Abune Paulos as head of the Coptic Church in 1992.  Abune Merkorios and his supporters went into exile, establishing a rival synod in the United States.  

    Many credit the patriarch for championing the cause of the victims of the military regime. He presided over the funerals of Emperor Haile Selsassie in 2000, Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen in 1997 and Princess Tenagnework in 2004.  He also officiated at the funerals of the 60 former civilian and military leaders of the Imperial government in 1993, and the burial of Professor Asrat Woldeyes, the leading opposition leader, in 1998.

    Detractors accuse Abune Paulos of being too close to the Meles government, and for failing to speak out when security forces storm churches and brutalize peaceful demonstrators.  He has also been accused of vanity in overseeing the construction of his own statue in Addis Ababa in 2010.

    The office of the patriarch is expected to hold an emergency meeting Friday to finalize funeral arrangements.  It is not clear whether Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi - who has not been seen in public since June - will attend the funeral.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mg from: VA
    August 20, 2012 2:06 PM
    Interesting that you omitted that His Holiness Abune Paulos earned a Doctorate from Princeton University, was the first Ethiopian Bishop to join the WCC and as Patriarch is one of the seven current presidents of WCC as well.

    This is information available to all. Fact that a journalist who is Ethiopian and Orthodox chose not to mention this is quite interesting...

    by: Ethiopia4ever from: USA
    August 17, 2012 2:04 PM
    This patriarch is gone and no need to go back and talk about the evil things he did but generally i can tell you he is the worst patriarch i have even seen.

    i hope you will post this if you are not a one sided person.

    by: Daniel from: Florida
    August 16, 2012 10:23 PM
    It's wrong to describe Ethiopian Orthodox church as Coptic church. Ethiopian Orthodox church and Coptic church are sister churches. It's not a single church.

    by: MTedros from: VA
    August 16, 2012 4:34 PM
    Thank you for the report. The writer of this article should have had it proof read by an official Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church clergy or official representative. The late Patriarch Bitsue we Kidus Abune Paulos was never the head of the Coptic Church (Coptic = Egypt). He was the head of the EOTC. In addition, its never wise to quote a government official regarding church cannons because it can cause mistakes such as stated above in second paragraph: “the bylaws and canons of the Coptic Church.” The EOTC is not the Coptic Church, therefore, EOTC has her own bylaws and canons.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.