Holiness Abune Mathias

Mahlet Fasil @MahletFasil

Addis Abeba, April 16/2020 – In a letter written yesterday April 15 and was addressed to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, His Holiness Abune Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, (EOTC), requested the loosening of the gathering regulations in Ethiopia’s COVID-19 State of Emergency on Maundy Thursday & Easter Sunday in order for the Church to provide its Holy offerings to worshipers who take the Holy Communion. Today is Maundy Thursday in Ethiopia.

His Holiness Abune Mathias wrote the letter after the Church’s request for the loosening of the ban on gathering during these two days were turned down by the national task force implementing the SoE. The letter called the rejection “unjust” & a “threat to the Church’s existence.”

In an unprecedented move, on April 01 the Holy Synod of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church (EOTC) passed a decision to suspend all its services in all Churches and monasteries under its jurisdiction as part of the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The letter adds that in addition to being “unjust” and “a threat to the Church’s existence,” the Church believes that denying the request to serve worshipers, who endured and have been faithfully and tirelessly fasting and praying during the two months of the Holy Lent, while at the same time the SoE regulations on the gathering of more than four people continued to be implemented loosely, would create “a great anger” and would lead to “unnecessary conflicts.”

EOTC, therefore, requested PM Abiy to loosen the ban on gathering for the two days: Maundy Thursday, the last Thursday before Easter observed by Christinas as the Last Supper, & Easter Sunday. The Church will, in return, provide its Holy services for those who take the Holy Communion by adhering to the principles of physical distancing & other health guidance issued by the Ministry of health, the letter said. AS

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