News / Africa

Thousands Attend Ethiopian Church Leader's Funeral

Priests conduct ceremony next to casket bearing remains of Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Paulos, Aug. 23, 2012.
Priests conduct ceremony next to casket bearing remains of Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Paulos, Aug. 23, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
ADDIS ABABA — Thousands of Ethiopians gathered Thursday for the funeral of Abuna Paulos, head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  Abuna died last Thursday at the age of 76, four days before the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Abuna Paulos’ funeral was held at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.  Among the mourners was Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who is set to take over as Ethiopia's new leader.

Most people had to listen to the service on the radio outside the church compound, as the crowd was too large to accommodate everybody. Many people were crying outside, mourning the death of their religious leader.

Bezawit is a clinical nurse in Addis Ababa and and says she respected the religious leader for his work in the community.

“He is a father of the poor and educates them.  He wants us to know what we really believe in.  And he also helped to control the spread of HIV amongst the youth.  We’re very sorry that he died as he was a good father,” she said.

Woldesemait, an Ethiopian businessman, praised how Abuna Paulos’ treated people.

"Father Paulos is a very good person.  We came to the funeral because we heard he passed away. He looks at all people equally. He built schools and was a person that helps everybody,” he said.

Many people at the funeral said they will remember Abuna Paulos mostly for his development work in Ethiopia.

But the patriarch was also frequently criticized.  His critics felt that his ties with the government were too strong.  They also said he tried to make his own position more powerful by attempting to put the patriarch position above the synod, the council of the church.

Also, Abuna Paulos was appointed leader while his predecessor, Abuna Merkorios, was in exile.  The Ethiopian Orthodox church officially states that no new patriarch can be appointed if the former one is still alive.  Abuna Merkorios and his followers started a rival synod in the United States.

General secretary of the Orthodox Catholic Church, Abuna Heskin, says that people who are criticizing Abuna Paulos are judging without knowing the truth.

“They don’t know him in depth or closely, but he was a good father.  We hear some things without having the chance to talk to them personally,“ Heskin said.

Ethiopian Orthodox followers are the dominant religious group in Ethiopia.  Abuna Paulos had led the Orthodox Church since 1992.  The synod will hold meetings soon to appointment a new patriarch.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid