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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs