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

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs