A group of bishops, who said they are members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Synod, announce the formation of what they said is an all-inclusive synod in response to what they said were longstanding questions of the christian faithful. They said this decision was according to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s creed .
In a statement their representative read out, they detailed the journey of the Ethiopian Orthodox church’s quest for autocephaly from the Coptic Orthodox church, which was finally achieved in 1959. The statement praised the achievement of autocephaly, but said “in the last 60 years of autocephaly, that didn’t avoid the creation of administrative problems/gaps that are causes for the problems in the church today.”
The statement said “the main one of them is the appointment of church fathers from one locality and assigning them to Oromia, South, East, and West and abroad. And this, because of the [assigned church fathers’] lack of knowledge of the culture and language of the people, has contributed significantly to the weakening of the faith of the faithful and the their estrangement from the church. Besides this, when it is about a certain locality, they [the synod fathers] appoint someone from the area and one who knows the language. But in Oromia and similar areas, almost all assigned fathers come from an outside locality [not from the areas themselves]. And research has showed that the fact that they [the assigned church fathers] couldn’t communicate in the culture and language of the regions has been the main cause for millions of followers to leave the Orthodox church in the past decades. Especially treating Oromia as one diocese and the attempt to administer it coercively is creating significant obstacles for serving the faithful.
The statement said its problem is administrative, language and culture, and inclusiveness. The statement repeatedly said certain locality, which is a code word used to refer to some regions in Amhara or the Amhara region broadly. They said there were some progress during the time of Patriarch Abuna Paulos, “but, now, in Oromia and similar regions, there are serious problems that threaten the continuation of the church.” Thy also said these questions have been asked for long time now, but haven’t been addressed.
To address the problems, they have passed the following “historic decision”:
“Because the existing synod, with 85% of its members hailing from a certain locality, is not considered all-inclusive, we are today announcing the establishment of an all-inclusive synod including all the peoples of the country and our official starting of work. Our country’s people and the faithful, congratulations!”
Following these, their representative read out the appointment of 26 bishops for several dioceses or provinces mainly in Oromia, Southern Nations and Nationalists and Peoples and the Oromo Special Zone in the Amhara state. They have also been given new names. The names of the bishops are below in Geez script.
- አባ ገ/ማርያም ነጋሳ – አባ ገብርኤል – ምዕራብ ወለጋ
- አባ ተ/ሃይማኖት ወልዱ – አባ ባስልዮስ – ድሬዳዋ
- አባ ገብርኤል ወ/ዮሐንስ – አባ ጢሞቴዎስ -ጉራጌ ሶዶ
- አባ ገ/እግዚአብሔር ታደለ – አባ ጳውሎስ – ምዕራብ አርሲ
- አባ ሚካኤል ገ/ማርያም – አባ ኤልሳዕ – ከምባታ
- አባ ኃይሉ እንዳለ – አባ ገሪማ – ምሥራቅ ሐረርጌ
- አባ ተ/ማርያም ስሜ – አባ ተ/ሃይማኖት – ጉጂ ሊበን
- አባ ኃ/ኢየሱስ መንግስቱ – አባ ዕዝራ – ከፋ
- አባ ወ/ኢየሱስ ኢፋ – አባ ኢያሱ – ቄለም ወለጋ
- አባ ጳውሎስ ከበደ – አባ ዳንኤል – ሀዲያ
- አባ ኃ/ኢየሱስ ተስፋዬ – አባ በርሱማ – ምሥራቅ ወለጋ
- አባ ገ/ኢየሱስ ገለታ – አባ ሚናስ – ሆሮ ጉዱሩ
- አባ ጸጋዘአብ አዱኛ – አባ ኤጲፋንዮስ – ምሁር ገዳም የበላይ ኃላፊ
- አባ ኃ/ማርያም ጌታቸው – አባ አቤል – ምዕራብ ሐረርጌ
- አባ ወ/ጊዮርጊስ ኃ/ሚካኤል – በርተሎሚዎስ – ከሚሴ
- አባ እስጢፋኖስ ገብሬ – አባ ራጉኤል – ባሌ ረዳት ጳጳስ
- አባ ገ/መድኅን ገ/ማርያም – አባ ዑራኤል – ጎፋ ባስኬቶ
- አባ ኃ/ሚካኤል ንጉሤ – አባ አኖሬዎስ – ጊኒር
- አባ አብርሃም መስቀሌ – አባ ኒቆዲሞስ – ዳውሮ፥ኮንታ
- አባ ንዋየ ሥላሴ አክሊሉ – አባ ሀ/ማርያም – ምዕራብ ጉጂ
- አባ ኪ/ማርያም ቶሎሳ – አባ ተ/ሃዋርያት – ጅማና የም
- አባ ወ/ማርያም ጸጋ – አባ አብሳዲ – ቦረና
- አባ አምደሚካኤል ኃይሌ – አባ መርቆሬዎስ – አርሲ
- አባ መርሐጽድቅ ኃ/ማርያም – አባ ደቅስዮስ – ጌዴኦ፥ቡርጁ፥አማሮ
- አባ ሞገስ ኃ/ማርያም – አባ ኤፍሬም – መናገሻ ጋራ መ/ዓለምና ፥ደ/ፀሐይ ቅ ጊዮርጊስ የበላይ ኃላፊ
- አባ ገ/ኢየሱስ ንጉሤ – አባ አልዓዛር – ቡኖ በደሌ መመደባቸው ተሰምቷል።
Previous Attempt of Establishing Oromo Patriarchate
Oromo religious leaders have been attempting to address the question of serving the Oromo faithful in their language for some time. In 2019, they tried to establish an Oromo patriarchate, under the Ethiopian Orthodox Synod. They were opposed by the Synod and by Amhara media and elite. The current establishment of synod seems in response to that failure.
The church has been a tool of imperial Ethiopia and of Amhara politics , being used to impose Amharaa culture, language and faith, among others. Today, many people outside the Amhara see it as an Amhara church. Amhara politicians and religions leaders also see it as an important tool in the creation of Amharized and unitary Ethiopia. Despite Ethiopia being a federation since 1991, the church has refused to change its administrative structure and to deliver services in other languages. The Amhara religious and political leaders have refused any slight reform and attempt of inclusion in the church. Amhara media and politicians continually attack and defame non-Amhara fathers, especially if they suspect they are pro-reform.
Today, the church is a den of Amhara politics from where people like the genocidaire Daniel Kibret and many Amhara bishops preach the total extermination of people. Below is an image of Amhara/Ethiopian bishops speaking directly or indirectly in support of the genocidal war on Tigray.
But in their attempt to exclusively run the church and overuse it for their politics, Amhara leaders have also been laying down the ground for its split. Below is an ESAT video from 2016 where Amhara religious leaders of Gojam and Gondar declared they no longer were under the Synod led by Patriarch Abuna Mathias, who is a Tigrayan.
Tigray Genocide and the Establishment of Tigrayan Orthodox Patriarchate
Following the religious institutions’ and their leaders endorsement of and participation in the genocidal War on Tigray, Tigrayan religious leaders distanced themselves from religious establishments in Addis Ababa, and announcing the establishment of their own independent institutions. Orthodox leaders established Tigrayan Orthodox Church Patriarchate.
- The War on Tigray heightens schism in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
- Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s Betrayal and the Rebirth of the Tigray Orthodox Church