Abune Paulos dies at 77
Abune Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church died at 77 today at Balcha Hospital, Addis Ababa. The patriarch who full title was “His Holiness Abuna Paulos, Fifth Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Ichege of the See of St. Tekle Haymanot, Archbishop of Axum and one of the seven serving Presidents of the World Council of Churches,” was a controversial figure due to his close association and connection with with the dictatorship of Meles Zenawi.
(Wikipedia) Patriarch Dr. Abune Paulos was born in Adwa in Tigray Province; his birth name was Gebre Medhin Wolde Yohannes. His family was long associated with the Abba Garima Monastery near the town, and he entered the monastery as a young boy as a deacon trainee, eventually taking monastic orders and being ordained a priest. Then known as Abba Gebre Medhin, he continued his education at the Theological College of the Holy Trinity in Addis Ababa under the patronage of Patriarch Abune Tewophilos. He was sent to study at the St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in the United States, and afterwards joined the doctoral program at the Princeton Theological Seminary.
Following the fall of the Derg in 1991, the then Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abuna Merkorios, was dethroned in circumstances that remain under dispute. Patriarch Abune Merkorios and his supporters maintain that he was forced from office by the new EPRDF-led government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and its supporters, while his opponents maintain that the Patriarch abdicated following numerous protests against him by the faithful. His attempt to reverse his abdication was refused by the Holy Synod of the Church which authorized a new Patriarchal election. Abune Paulos was elected in 1992, and Abune Merkorios and his supporters went into exile, establishing a rival synod in the United States. The enthronement of Abune Paulos as Patriarch is still recognized by all the canonical Orthodox Christian, and other canonical churches, and recognized by the Coptic Patriarchate in Alexandria, Egypt…..