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His Holiness Abune Mathias upon arrival at Bole International Airport


The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) Patriarch and his delegation returned from a working visit to Mekelle on Tuesday.

He was greeted by His Eminence Abune Abraham, Head of the administration at the Patriarchate, upon arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.

It is in the tradition of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church to welcome a patriarch with a religious ceremony including Sunday School Church hymns singing but that did not happen when His Holiness Abune Mathias arrived in Mekele on Monday where he spent one day. EOTC TV, the media of the church, said the Patriarch was not received by Archbishops.

The purpose of his trip was to hold a discussion with four Archbishops in the Tigray region as they later declared that they had formed “Selama” Patriarchate, abandoning the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

However, the discussion did not happen. The Archbishops in the Tigray region of Ethiopia did not appear in the media to explain why they declined to meet the Patriarch and several other Archbishops who accompanied him.

What is known so far is that there was a closed-door meeting with Debretsion Gebremichal, chairman of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – a radical ethnic Tigray Organization that started the war with the Federal Government when it attacked the northern command of the Ethiopian Defense Force in November 2020.

It is also reported that Getachew Reda, interim president of the region, met with Patriarch Abune Mathias. Getachew reportedly said that he is not in a position to blame the Archbishops in the region for not wanting to meet with the Patriarch.

The Archbishops in Tigray accuse the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church for supporting the war ( and the war was between the TPLF and the Federal government).

Active war came to an end in November 2022 when the two warring parties signed the Pretoria agreement – something the Ethiopian Church has been celebrating. The Archbishops in Tigray have been receiving Senior government officials of the Federal government and commending them for bringing the war to an end.

Not only was Ethiopian Patriarch His Holiness Abune Mathias given a cold and unpleasant reception in Mekelle ( the Patriarch Himself is ethnically from the Tigray region of Ethiopia) but access to the church was not given and he had to pray outside of the door to the church along with Archbishops who accompanied him to Mekelle.

His Holiness is said to have described the experience as a “dark spot in History.”

The development has sparked heated discussion on social media about it and it is noticeable that many followers of the church are saddened by it.

The view tends to be that the TPLF is behind the whole drama.  The TPLF did not remark about it as an organization. The Ethiopian Church is yet to release a statement about it.

According to EOTC sources, the Holy Synod has been making efforts for months now to resolve the issue in connection with the Archbishops in the Tigray region.


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