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Ethiopia: 15 Tewahedo Orthodox priests killed, ten churches damaged

The Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church is an ancient Church that separated from Holy Orthodoxy over the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451. It is not at present in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate or other Orthodox Churches, but with the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Around 45 to 50 million people are members of the Tewahedo Orthodox Church, mostly in Ethiopia itself, where despite the fact that Christians make over 60% of the population, they are still subject to incidents of violence such as this one. Please pray for the repose of the murdered Tewahedo Orthodox priests, Kidane Mariam Nibretu, Yared Hibu, Gebiremariam Asfaw, and Abreham Tigabu, and the others who are not named in the article below.

“Ethiopian PM sends condolences to Orthodox Church after 15 priests killed,” World Watch Monitor, August 14, 2018:

Ethiopia’s prime minister visited the leader of the country’s Orthodox Church on Saturday to express his condolences after 15 priests were killed and ten Orthodox churches damaged in the eastern Somali region last week.

Among the priests killed were Rev. Kidane Mariam Nibretu, Rev. Yared Hibu, Father Gebiremariam Asfaw, and Abreham Tigabu, a local source told World Watch Monitor, adding that four of the 15 priests were found burned together.

Nine evangelical churches were also vandalised or looted. Although state media reported the deaths of at least 30 people, according to local sources the number could be as high as 50.

Orthodox parishes in the regional capital, Jijiga, are supporting more than 20,000 displaced Ethiopians, sources close to the Tewahedo Orthodox Church told Catholic news agency Fides.

Voice of America reported that nearly one million people have been displaced since April as part of an ethnic conflict between Oromo and Somali people that has been going on for years.

Earlier today, 40 people were killed when armed men, allegedly members of the Somali region’s paramilitary Liyou forces, carried out cross border-attacks in Oromia’s East Hararghe district, according to Al-Jazeera….

In mid-June, 20 Christians were killed in the Bale Goba area of Oromia, west of the Somali region. Although some observers blamed TPLF sympathisers, a local source told World Watch Monitor that it took place after Christians opposed the installation of a monument for a prominent Muslim leader in the area.

Some locals pinned the blame on the government, saying they were warning Christians against opposing such moves in future.

“Similar tensions are bubbling under the surface in other parts of Oromia,” said World Watch Monitor’s source. “We have even heard of places where Muslims had asked Christians to vacate the area. And though this call is veiled as ethnic rivalry by some media and observers, it is at its very core a religious matter.”…

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