His Holiness Abune Mathias I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) underlined the need for stakeholders to devote for peace and come closer to discuss to reach a national consensus. The biannual Holy Synod conference was commenced with the Holy Synod’s prayer on Tuesday, where at the opening ceremony Abune Mathias urged the government and all competing political parties, as well as to the entire Ethiopian people “It is very important to pay the necessary price for the sake of peace since the root solution to all our problems is peace and only peace.”
In the statement, Abune Mathias emphasized that sustainable peace can only be achieved through an all inclusive discussion. “The world we live in is never immune to adversity and the only way to be saved is to pray diligently and earnestly. The church regularly prays not only for believers, but for the whole world and all creation,” his holiness said, adding “ However now, more than ever, we need to pray, cry out, and grieve over the fact that our country, our people, and our precious Christian children are under great pressure.”
His Holiness also warned against losing the trust of parishioners in this congregation and reminded that ignoring the situation at this time would leave a historic scar on the church, further causing spiritual accountability. “Monasteries and churches, monks and priests, deacons and young people, parishioners are faced with trials and tribulations, and the Holy Synod is directly involved and must be part of the solution,” said Abune Mathias.
“This conference should stand by the parishioners who are suffering in different parts of the country as well as those who are suffering from injustice in general”
– His Holiness Abune Mathias I
“This conference should stand by the parishioners who are suffering in different parts of the country as well as those who are suffering from injustice in general,” said Abune Mathias in the statement, while also reminding the congregation to do this in prayer, in reconciliation, and in the provision of shelter, food, drink, clothing, and medicine, in accordance with the spiritually given responsibility of protection. He said, “This sacred service is not new to our church. What makes it different now is the severity and complexity of the problem.”
The statement suggested looking into the inner strength of our church and seeking the cooperation and help of the parishioners, as well as worldwide partners. Abune Mathias said, “To that end, we can save lives from starvation if we extend the same mechanism used over 30 years ago.”
Later in the opening ceremony, the Secretary-General of the Holy Synod and Archbishop of the Diocese of Sidama, Gideo, and Burji, His Holiness Abune Yosef, made a brief statement on the activities of the Holy Synod on the day.
According to the statement, through an agenda-setting committee appointed from the member Holy Synods seven agendas were approved. They included current national issues, including ‘issues that were difficult to resolve’, and the meeting was chaired by His Holiness Abune Matias. Accordingly, it was expressed that decisions have been made by the Permanent Synod on six agendas that were difficult to resolve in connection to the current situation of the country in which the decisions will be announced as soon as the minutes are signed.
It is recalled that over two weeks ago in a video which was privately recorded by Dennis Wadley, international director of Bridges of Hope, His Holiness Abune Mathias I addressed Ethiopians “inside and outside the country” and revealed that he has been denied to speak his mind regarding the current situation in Ethiopia and particularly the case in Tigray. He also pointed out that his efforts have not been successful because “a permission was not granted.”
#Ethiopia: Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarch says war in #Tigray “barbarism” & “attempt to erase Tigrayans from the face of the earth." He also said his repeated pleas are "censored" –https://t.co/wr4ghiGiho “For 6 months our mouth were sealed, unable to speak for fear and influence.”
— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) May 8, 2021
Later the Holy Synod announced that it distanced itself from the Patriarch’s remarks on Tigray saying that the remarks made by His Holiness Abune Mathias, were that of His Holiness’ and were not approved by the Holy Synod, the highest assembly of the Church.
It is recalled that, at the opening ceremony of September 26, 2020 Demera, before the onset of the war, His Holiness Abune Mathias, through his speech, pleaded with all Ethiopian political elites to set their differences aside, come together for dialogue under one roof to avert the danger the country is facing.