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News: Tigray Orthodox church leaders announce plans to ordain 10 episcopate

Photo: Tigray TV

Addis Abeba – Leaders of the See of Selama Kessate Beharan Archdiocese of Tigray Orthodox Tewahdo Church announced this afternoon plan to ordain ten episcopate to dioceses inside Tigray and abroad.

The new independent structure of the Orthodox Church in the Tigray region had already announced the appointment of Archbishops to serve the Tigrayan diaspora in USA, Europe,Canada, Australia and dioceses organized under the Tigray Orthodox Tewahdo Church.

In today’s announcement the leaders of the Church said they have “decided to appoint the ten episcopate to serve dioceses in Southeast Tigray, Western Tigray, and Southern Tigray within the regional state, dioceses in North America, Europe, Australia, Canada and the Middle East.

The Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church (EOTC) in Addis Abeba has already accused the religious leaders in the Tigray region of creating “a new illegal regional structure in a way that violates “the institutional unity and existing structural organization of our church.”

Relations between the Holy Synod in Addis Abeba and the Church in the Tigray region soured in the wake of Ethiopia’s two years’ atrocious war. On 07 May 2021 the Archbishops in Tigray announced the formation of the new Tigray Orthodox Church, effectively cutting ties with the EOTC Holy Synod in Addis Abeba. The archbishops in the region said their decision to severe ties with the Synod was as a result of the its silence while many priests were killed, monasteries and churches in Tigray were destroyed and religious heritages were looted during the war. Attempts at reconciliation have since not yielded a positive result.

Today’s decision by the religious leaders in Tigray came ahead of Wednesday’s expected press announcement by His Holiness Abuna Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, following the conclusion on Monday of this year’s Assembly of Priests.

During the opening of the Assembly, the Patriarchate cautioned that the ongoing challenges the Church is facing in Oromia and Tigray regional states were “going beyond” the Church and becoming people’s challenges that required wisdom to be addressed.

A similar decision by a group of breakaway Bishops in Oromia, in late January this year, to appoint 26 episcopate without the say so of the Synod had led to a never-before-seen schism within the Holy Synod, which threatened to divide the ancient Church. AS

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