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News: Breakaway Archbishops counter-excommunicate 12 EOTC Archbishops, prepare to dispatch nominee episcopate in defiance of Holy Synod’s decision

A man pictured hanging a banner in preparation to welcome the episcopate anointed by the breakaway Archbishops in Gombi town, in western Oromia. Picture: Sinoodoosii Oromiyaa

Addis Abeba – The three breakaway Archbishops and their 25 appointee episcopate, who were excommunicated by the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC) on Thursday, accused involving in “illegal anointment” have excommunicated 12 Archbishops of EOTC Holy Synod members in a counter measure in what has potentially indicate a split within the church. They have also announced preparations to send the 25 appointee episcopate to their local churches.

In a lengthy statement released yesterday, the three breakaway archbishops and the 25 episcopate who now refer to themselves as “Holy Synod of Oromia and nations and nationalities” of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, have also denounced their excommunication by the Holy Synod, and reiterated that they acted in accordance with church’s rules and regulations.

The breakaway archbishops also accused members of the Holy Synod for acting on earthly wishes to “prevent true religion fathers from being a member of the Holy Synod by excommunicating them, adding that they were involved in acts of “division, misleading the Holy Synod and confusing the Christian population.”

His Holiness Abune Sawiros, the leading archbishop of the breakaway synod, who presided over the appointment of the appointee episcopate at a ceremony held in Haro Beale Wold Church in located in Woliso town, South West Shewa zone of Oromia, said that new appointments will be given to replace the 12 archbishops who were excommunicated. He also announced that the 25 episcopate would be dispatched to their respective places where they have been assigned.

This morning pictures from different location in Western Oromia show followers preparing to welcome the appointee episcopate with banners and rallies. As of the publishing of this news, there is no statement released from the Holy Synod in Addis Abeba on the latest developments.

The decision came on the back drop of a statement subsequent to an emergency plenary session of the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Chuch (EOTC) on Thursday, which passed a resolution excommunicating the three Archbishops and the 25 Episcopate. One of the 26, Father Tsega Zeab Adugna, had apologized to the Church and rescinded his Episcopate anointment, which was accepted by the Holy Synod.

His Holiness Abune Sawiros explained the decision to appoint the 26 episcopate,which led to the current controversy, said that it was made to resolve long lasting problems within the church for failing to serve believers in their native languages and detached of their culture, which resulted in loss of millions of believers over the past years particularly in Oromia and Southern region.

The Archbishop accused the Holy Synod that is currently in office for comprising 85% of its members from only one group and for failing to reflect the Church’s diversity.

The appointment was called “illegal” by his Holiness Abune Mathias I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church who convened an emergency meeting to deal with the event he described as “a great event that has targeted the church”. AS

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