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Tigrayans to Ethiopian Orthodox: “What do righteousness and wickedness have in common?” Ethiopian Orthodox Leaders Rejected in Tigray for their Involvement in Tigray Genocide



Ethiopian Orthodox Leaders Rejected in Tigray for their involvement in Tigray Genocide

A Cold Reception

A group of Ethiopian orthodox church leaders led by Abuna Mathias went to Mekelle today seeking reconciliation with the religious leaders of the Tigray Orthodox Church that declared its independence from the Orthodox Church based in Addis due to the latter’s and its leaders involvement in the genocidal war against Tigray and Tigrayans. The Tigray Orthodox Church leaders apparently refused to receive them and to talk with them. Instead, they were received by Tigray Interim Administration leaders where they were briefed about the magnitude of the grievance and where they lamented about the fact that they couldn’t talk with the Tigray Orthodox Church leaders.

Their Miniscule Donation Came as an Insult

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church leaders also went with a minuscule 20 million birr (about 200,000 USD in blackmarket price) aid for Tigray. This is from a church that spends hundreds of millions in vanity projects and billions of birr in helping what the church considers its people.

Upon their arrival at an IDP center in Mekelle, the Orthodox leaders from Addis were confronted by a message from 2 Corinthians 6:14 which reads “What do righteousness and wickedness have in common?” in reference to how different the Tigray Orthodox Church (the light) and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (the darkness) are, according to the IDPs, and that they should not be mixed.

May be an image of 6 people, dais and text

The 20 million birr donation also came as an insult for Tigrayans. Mehari G. Yohannes, a prominent politicians from Tigray Independence Party, probably summarized best how Tigrayans view this donation. In a Facebook post, he said that this was a small part of the money the Amhara Church earned from the sale of religious heritage stollen from Tigray churches. He is referring to the massive looting and plundering of Tigrayan cultural heritage and their sale at markets such as ebay. The “Amhara Church” is a phrase Tigrayans are increasingly using to refer to the Orthodox church based in Addis.

The Orthodox Church based in Addis has also many times profited in the name of helping Tigrayans. For example it budgeted a total of 50,000,000 birr in October 2021 for people affected by war, collected 350,000 US Dollars in the names of IDPs in Tigray and Benishangul Gumuz in January, and raised 15 million birr from Addis Ababa diocese in the name of IDPs. But it spent them all in the Amhara region, and none went to Tigray.

The Tigrayans in the IDPs in Mekelle also displayed messages of what some Ethiopian Orthodox Church leaders said during their support of the war on Tigray.


The Ethiopian Orthodox leaders inside Ethiopia and abroad were actively involved in the war on Tigray including in fund raising initiatives, leading demonstrations, writing letters, demonization of Tigrayans and mobilization of anti-Tigrayan forces and militia.

In preparation for its travel to Mekelle and as a PR stunt, the Orthodox Church based in Addis recently issued a shame apology, making light of Tigray Genocide & its active involvement in it. Instead of sincerely apologizing for its direct involvement and the immense damage it caused on the Tigrayan people, it apologizes for secondary issues of not calling for end of war, not consoling Tigrayans, & not delivering aid.

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Gebrekirstos Gebremeskel is a researcher, runs (NLP resources & tools), and manages Tghat. He is interested in science, history of ideas and the politics of the Horn.

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  1. Congratulations on the return of the seat of Menbere Selama to its rightful sanctuary

    July 23, 2023 at 12:30 pm

    Most Honorable and Revered Episcopal Leaders of Menbere Selama Kesate-Birhane Orthodox Tewahedon Church of Tigray (MSKOTC),

    We would like to express our sincere congratulations on your historic ascension to the distinguished church leadership on this holy and revered day of your consecration. In a miraculous act of providence, God has chosen you to lead and guide His people, the Children of Axum Zionist.

    Amidst countless lives lost and unspeakably heinous crimes, Tegaru bears the haunting scar of genocide. Yet, from the depths of tragedy, the resilient spirit of the Tegaru perseveres, leading to the revival of the Menbere Selama Kesate-Birhane Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Tigray. This rebirth calls for an independent church, granting Tegaru the freedom to choose their religious leaders. In devout contemplation of the harrowing times of genocidal atrocities endured, we symbolize our resolute determination to establish independent leadership through the sacred return of Menbere Selam See to Axum. This profound gesture epitomizes our unwavering commitment to sever all ties with the perpetrators of the cataclysmic genocide inflicted upon our cherished church members and the entire Tigrayan populace, embodying our unwavering dedication.

    This ancient sanctuary stands as a sacred symbol, embodying Tegaru’s timeless faith and indomitable spirit. It serves as a profound metaphor, illustrating the unwavering devotion and resolute determination of faithful Tigrayan patriots who, despite enduring sacrifices, have triumphed magnificently, resulting in the glorious restoration of the church’s rightful seat in its hallowed grounds.

    “”And so I say to you, you are Peter (i.e., all our Archbishops, who reinstated Menbere Selama to its rightful sancturay and see Axum, are successors of Saint Peter and all Apostles), and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”” Matthew 16:18

    ስምኦን ጴጥሮስ፡ ንሳኻ ክርስቶስ ወዲ ህያው ኣምላኽ ኢኻ፡ ኢሉ መለሰሉ።

    የሱስ ከኣ መሊሱ በሎ፡ ስምኦን ወዲ ዮና፡ እዚ እቲ ኣብ ሰማያት ዘሎ ኣቦይ እምበር፡ ስጋን ደምን ኣይገለጸልካን እሞ፡ ብጹእ ኢኻ።

    ኣነ ኸኣ እብለካ አሎኹ፡ ንስኻ ጴጥሮስ ኢኻ። ንማሕበረይ ከኣ ኣብዛ ኸውሒ እዚኣ ኽሃንጻ እየ፡ ደጌታት ሲኦል ድማ ኣይሕይልዋን።

    ወአውሥአ ፡ ኢየሱስ ፡ ወይቤሎ ። ብፁዕ ፡ አንተ ፡ ስምዖን ፡ ወልደ ፡ ዮና ። እስመ ፡ ሥጋ ፡ ወደም ፡ ኢከሠተ ፡ ለከ ፡ አላ ፡ አቡየ ፡ ዘበሰማያት ።ወአንሰ ፡ እብለከ ፡ ከመ ፡ እንተ ፡ ኰኵሕ ፡ ወዲበ ፡ ዛቲ ፡ ኰኵሕ ፡ አሐንጻ ፡ ለቤተ ፡ ክርስቲያንየ ። ወአናቅጸ ፡ ሲኦል ፡ ኢይኄይልዋ ። ወእሁበከ ፡ መራኁተ ፡ መንግሥተ ፡ ሰማያት ።
    Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130–202 AD): “The Church is apostolic because its bishops are successors to the apostles.” (Against Heresies, 4.26.2)

    Tertullian (c. 155-240 AD) wrote in his Prescription Against Heretics: “The supreme priest, therefore, ought to be chosen, one who, as the common father and pastor of all, will take up the task of keeping the flock together, and of driving away the wolves”(ካብ ተዃሉ ሲኖዶስ 4ተ ኺሎ ወ ማህበረ ቅርሱሳን) .”

    May the radiant grace of God enshroud you and illumine your path as you dutifully serve the church with unswerving integrity, impartiality, and unflagging devotion.

    May your prayers and blessings be bestowed on us all.

    With deepest respect and highest regards,

    Sincerely in Christ,


  2. Hiyab

    July 11, 2023 at 11:05 am

    Great Article

  3. Aron

    July 10, 2023 at 8:34 pm

    Gebrechristos thank you for the super summary you wrote here. Excellent job. Keep chronicling.

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