December 9, 2007

Radio To Ethiopia: RADIO TEWAHEDO!!!

With the will of God a new radio station has started broadcasting to Ethiopia from USA. According to the announcement, the radio will broadcast every Monday from 10-11pm local time or (kemeshetu 4-5).

I thank God for that. Let God give these brothers and sisters strength and wisdom to proclaim the word of Tewahedo.

Cher Were Yaseman, amen

November 14, 2007

"The EOTC Holy Synod held its 24th session"

NEWS:
The "legitimate Holy Synod" of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church in exile lead by his Holiness Abune Merkorios, Patriarch of The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewhahedo Church, successfully completed the Holy Synod's 24th session in Columbus, OHIO on November 10, 2007. It was the first conference held in the new Ethiopian Millennium.

COMMENT:
Mother Church is in a desperate situation these days. One of the problems is the schism amongst fathers. We know the administration led by Abune Paulos is the most
2. embarrassing of all times. But that will never ... the legality of an exiled "synod". Two negatives will never result One positive. Please try to find the right solution.
Stop your anti-Orthodox tradition "synod". Try to reconcile with each other. Do not help the Abune Paulos group to further manipulate your mistakes.
1. ‹‹የጎንደር ምንቸት ውጣ … የትግሬ ምንቸት ግባ›› <<ዘመነ መሳፍንት>> በቤተ ክህነት
2. የምናካሒደው ጸረ ዘረኝነት ትግል በጎጠኞች አጀንዳ እንዳይጠለፍ


Cher Were Yaseman,
Deje Selam

November 8, 2007

Nazis and Islamists

By Paul Belien
(The writer is editor of the Brussels Journal and an adjunct fellow of the Hudson Institute.)
During the Second World War, the Nazis worked on plans to build the "Amerikabomber," an airplane specially devised to fly suicide missions into Manhattan's skyscrapers.
Albert Speer, the Nazi minister for armaments, recalled in his diary: "It was almost as if [Hitler] was in a delirium when he described to us how New York would go up in flames. He imagined how the skyscrapers would turn into huge blazing torches. How they would crumble while the reflection of the flames would light the skyline against the dark sky." Hitler hated Manhattan. It was, he said, "the center of world Jewry." Less than 60 years later, Hitler's plans were executed by Muslim immigrants living in Germany. At the 2003 trial of the network around Mohamed Atta (the pilot who flew into the World Trade Center), Shahid Nickels, a German convert to Islam and a friend of Atta's, said that the Islamists had targeted Manhattan because it is "the center of world Jewry, and the world of finance and commerce controlled by it." The parallels between Nazism and Islamism are overwhelming. Yet the subject is a taboo. When last March the German historian Matthias Kuentzel, author of "Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11," was to give a lecture at the University of Leeds (Britain), the university authorities cancelled the lecture after threats from Muslim students.
There is a war going on between the Jihadists and the West. We are losing the battle because, as so often in man's history, our political leaders think that they are still fighting the previous war. Europeans who warn against the danger of Islamism are considered — and sometimes even prosecuted — as xenophobes, racists, even neo-Nazis.
The European left, in league with the Islamists, is constantly reminding the Europeans of Hitler and the Nazis, accusing Europe's identity, the very core of its being, of being intrinsically evil. Hence, attempts to rob Europe of its identity are seen as "good," even when those eager to eradicate this identity leave no doubt that they will eradicate the Jews first.
Unfortunately, some American "conservatives" are also blind. Last year, Ralph Peters wrote in the New York Post that Europe's identity is stained by "ineradicable viciousness." He said that the Europeans are "world-champion haters," who have "perfected genocide and ethnic cleansing." Mr. Peters' message is similar to that of Ayyub Axel Koehler. Last June, Mr. Koehler, a convert to Islam and the chairman of the German Council of Muslims, told German church leaders that Europe should be ashamed of the "trail of blood" that it had left throughout the world down the centuries.
To some, defending Europe's identity is seen as a characteristic of neo-Nazism, while they fail to realize that Hitler's real successors are the Jihadists. To many Europeans it now seems that the only way in which Europe can atone for the crimes of the Holocaust is by looking on passively while others prepare a new holocaust.
And so, ironically, Hitler will get his way and win the war after all. Contrary to what is generally acknowledged, the Fuehrer did not care about Europe's or even Germany's identity. Those European nationalists who today take their inspiration from Charles Martel, the Germanic leader who beat the Arabs in 732 at the Battle of Tours, cannot be neo-Nazis for the simple reason that Hitler explicitly wished Martel had lost the battle.
"Had Charles Martel not been victorious," Hitler told his inner crowd in August 1942, "then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world." Hitler told Mr. Speer that Islam is "perfectly suited to the Germanic temperament." If the Muslims had won in Tours, the whole of Europe would have become Muslim in the 8th century; and "the conquering Arabs, because of their racial inferiority, would in the long run have been unable to contend with the harsher climate and conditions of [Europe]. They could not have kept down the more vigorous natives, so that ultimately not Arabs but Islamized Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire." Today, Germany, like the rest of Western Europe, is rapidly turning Islamic. In addition to the many Muslim immigrants, 4,000 Germans convert to Islam each year. As always the converts are among the most radical. Last September, Fritz Gelowicz and Daniel Schneider, two young German converts to Islam, were arrested as they were preparing to bomb Frankfurt International Airport. Hitler would have been proud of them. And he would have loathed the so-called "racists" who worry about their country losing its national identity.

Students Protest Church, Government Ties

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Students at Ethiopia's top religious college are protesting the close ties between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the government, alleged restrictions on their speech — and Beyonce's recent meeting with their patriarch.

The 26-year-old singer met with the Ethiopian patriarch, Abune Paulos, before performing in skimpy sequined outfits as part of celebrations of the country's millennium, which fell in September, according to the church's calendar.

Daniel Techale, a 28-year-old Theological College of the Holy Trinity alumnus who lives at the college, said about 30 of his friends had been hospitalized after a hunger strike they began Sunday.

He said students were upset by the closeness of the church to the ruling party and restrictions on their speech, but were also upset over the Beyonce-Paulos meeting.

"She provoked the whole situation," he said, accusing the patriarch of "practically a nonreligious act. It's unacceptable, or inappropriate, to say the least."

Authorities were trying to persuade the students to end their hunger strike, he said.

The college has 196 students training to work at the church, although not as clergymen.

The Orthodox Church is Ethiopia's largest, claiming 45 million out of 77 million citizens as members. It is considered to be very close to the government.

College official Bedilu Assefa confirmed that students had complained, but said: "What they have done is they have raised some administrative issues regarding food and clinical facilities. Nobody has protested against Beyonce. Never."

Not all the protesters were concerned with the singer, or even politics. Student Kinetibebeu Assefa, 25, said that he had joined the protest to demand an improvement in cafeteria food and the firing of some college officials.

"There is no problem with Beyonce," he said. "But the (cafeteria) food is poisoned."

October 28, 2007

Comments: His Holiness Abune Paulos, R & B Star Beyonce

Addis Admas, a newspaper in Addis Ababa has published comments about the meeting of His Holiness Abune Paulos and R & B Star Beyonce. What do you think?

Cher Were Yaseman, amen.

Muslims in the DC Area Host Dinner for Kinijit Delegation?

Kinijit leaders Dr Hailu Araya, Ato Gizachew Shiferraw, Ato Brook Kebede and Dr Berhanu Nega held a four-hour working dinner with several representatives of the Ethiopian Muslim community in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area. The meeting took place in an Afgan restaurant in Northern Virginia. Wzt. Bertukan Mideksa, who was sick with flue, could not attend the meeting.

Comment: We have no objection if anyone of any religion to meet his/her political appointees. But Christians should be concerned with the recent religious developments in Ethiopia. Some time ago, some muslim representatives met with Meles, and discussed different agendas that "need immediate response". People of the same ideology are now meeting Kinijit delegation. The agenda will defiantly be in the media soon. But it is obvious, it will be about'historical' questions regarding , the role of the Muslim community etc.

Kinijit leaders should be very cautious about what they say, do and promise. They should not repeat the same fallacy EPRDF is committing: recognizing a Christian king as Muslim, criminalizing the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, etc.

Cher Were Yaseman, amen

Related Issue:
. Militant-Islam-Symptom in Ethiopia: The Taliban's "Don't Think, Speak, Listen, See" Syndrome

. Christian Masacre in Jimma Area.

. Older Posts

October 25, 2007

His Holiness Abune Paulos, R & B Star Beyonce in the Media



Beyoncé Giselle Knowles is an American R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, music video director, actress, dancer, and fashion designer. Knowles rose to fame as the creative force and lead singer of the R&B girl group Destiny's Child, the world's best-selling female group of all time. She staged her songs last week in Addis, and controverstial, she met his holiness the patriarch in Trinity Church, where he invited her to visit the country. The issue has become a talking point among Ethiopians inflaming the indignation Ethiopians have towards the current patriarch. I found an article by a certain Abebe Gelaw worth reading.
Melkam Nebab

October 19, 2007

Holy Trinity Seminary Students Demand Better Curriculum

(By Deje Selam Reporter, Addis Ababa)

Holy Trninity Seminary Students requested betterment of college curriculum. In a public protest suspending classes and regular activities, the students asked the patriarch to reply to their demand.

The students also demanded:

1. Betterment of food condition,

2. Better payment after graduation, and

3. General betterment of college admnistration.

The patriarch has promised to consider their request.

Saudi School in the US Teaches JIhad?

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said today the 23-year-old Islamic Saudi Academy in Northern Virginia is fomenting hate and religious extremism.
TO READ MORE, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which advises Congress, the State Department and the president on religious-freedom issues, has issued a 30-page document saying the Saudi Embassy, which operates the 933-student academy, is violating U.S. law.

At issue are textbooks the USCIRF says contain "highly intolerant and discriminatory language, particularly against Jews, Christians and Shi'a Muslims." Its findings are based on a three-year study of Arabic-language textbooks, some of them from the Saudi Academy, by the Center for Religious Freedom in the District.

Comment:

1. A couple of months ago a study made on Iranian school curriculum showed that hatred towards Christians was the basic part of their teaching system.

2. German journalists had found out that Islamic schools there have the same school system

3. The big question comes here: How about Ethiopia? What are the Saudi funded schools teaching in our country? What is the ministry of education saying about this? If they dare to do their Jihadi education system in the US, why not in Ethiopia?

Cher Were Yaseman, amen.

October 18, 2007

Dreamer helps unearth ancient Church


Posted on Wednesday 17 October 2007 - 10:57

(By Tedla Desta, Africa News reporter in Addis Ababa)

Almost a year ago, a buried church was unearthed in Ethiopia.The church has invaluable historical and cultural value. Striking is that the unearthing is initiated by a man with a dream, as Africanews reporter Tedla Desta found out.
However, he had to persue his mission and walk from the upper to the lower official’s chest of drawers but to no avail until finally he went to journalists (the 4th estate). It was then that he realized that media has actually the power to bring about change.

TO READ MORE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.


From this time onwards the ears and eyes of the executives, congregates and the society at large started to open very widely.

Following his insistent claim that he is being haunted by a recurrent dream, that the Virgin Mary was speaking to him about a buried temple, Kasim Alemu Ahmed, with the assistance of the government, interested people and residents of Bole Sub City, Kebele 19, finally unearthed a year ago a buried church, human remains and artefacts.

Kasim, a Muslim in his mid forties, said he has been having the same dream for the past seven years.

“I have had to go to all government offices which I thought are responsible and accountable to the matter”, Kassim said during the inauguration of the church rebuilt in a modern way, some eight months ago.

Upon reaching the area this reporter was able to see land full of trees and no sign showing there could be remains in that area.

With the help of some residents living near by, after a few days of the announcement on the media, they dug out features of a well-constructed semi-circular fence made of stones and recovered by human skeletons, giving some clue that there actually is something in that area.

These were evidences of the existence of a ‘Tsilat’ and a church at the same site, he said.

After these few sightings residents of the area however, have not taken the matter lightly on the people who made the unearthing and on him. According to Kasim, his statements were not welcomed then.

“Most residents have been adamant to believe what I have been saying. They fear the discovery of the church and whatever is in it would lead to their eviction from the area. It was not to lose their possession, and also with some secular beliefs that they were opposing us,” he asserts.

On the other hand there were many guys who stood by his side. Some gave him moral encouragement while there were others who went on paying the money he was asked by the Government in order to excavate.

“Every night in my dream, I was being directed by the Virgin Mary to uncover this house of God,” says Kassim, reminiscing about those times.

Some residents have dismissed the man’s claim of “divine guidance,” and state whatever has been uncovered could have been something left at the time of the Italian occupation.

“Community elders had accepted that I was telling the truth. I have brought the issue to the attention of the city administration, police and the Tourism Commission but none of them were willing to consider my words. The only ones to respond were journalists.”

Kasim had taken the initiative to collect the signature of willing residents for the excavation and reconstruction of the church.

“I am willing to risk my neck, that what I say is the truth and that whatever is buried here is not Italian era. Buried here, and revealed to me by the Virgin Mary is a Holy tablet (Tsilat). I may be a Muslim, but the Virgin Mary has revealed this to me,” Kasim said two years ago.

“This dream has haunted me enough. I am now asking all that are in a position to do something about this, to act and help me put this to rest,” Kasim pleaded.

Another resident of the same neighborhood, Birhanu Belachew (a Christian) also claimed that he had also dreamt similar dreams.

He bizarrely claims that certain people living closely to the area suffer from physical and mental disorders.

Long time residents of the area that Capital spoke to say that the ground over the uncovered structure was fully covered with grass and there was no clue that something else existed below it.

Church people who had come to dig out the Tsilat had reportedly gotten into disagreement about how to go on with the process.

Kasim also spoke of “inscriptions written in a foreign language” on the sword that he says was found during the excavation.

After a year and tiresome activities the said church first built in the 4th century during the time of Abreha WeAtsebeha, was dug out and officially consecrated on January 13, 2007 in the presence of high church officials, and named Dagmawi Eyerusalem Yerer Sellasie Gedam.

Now that the church is fully reestablished, tourists visit it every day in large numbers.

The church holds a number of historical and spiritual articles that are invaluable to the country.

History has it that Ethiopia was christianized in the 4th century AD by two brothers from Tyre—St. Frumentius, later consecrated the first Ethiopian bishop, and Aedesius. They won the confidence of King Ezana at Aksum. It was this church that was built during this century which lasted hidden till today and came out phenomenally.

In addition to Ethiopia being one of the earliest civilizations, it is also one of the oldest Christian nations in the world. The Ethiopian court (governing officials) was first introduced to Christianity in approximately the year 42.

“Then the angels of the Lord said to Philip, start out and go south to the road that leads down from Jerusalem to Gaza. So he set out and was on his way when he caught sight of an Ethiopian. This man was a eunuch, a high official of the Kandake (Candace) Queen of Ethiopia in charge of all her treasure.”

A visitor who first went to the place said that he was really astonished by the man’s (Kassim) gift from the Lord and the things that were found in the place.

Like this monastery many others are found all over the country, the miracles that were revealed in this location are puzzling to all. The courageous man’s attempts finally bestowed fruit.

“I have a great belief that this place has a blessing for the whole Ethiopia and even to the world. All of us have to come to this historic and fascinating place and visit it. For this to come true around 800,000 birr was invested, including labor, material and cash contributions,” he told Capital.

There are other miracles that remain to be revealed yet. But Kassim is still facing problems and discrimination from the residents of the area (farmers) who fear eviction.

The entire event has been filmed and recorded, and endeavors to make it public are underway.

October 12, 2007

Muslim scholars Reachout to Christian Leaders

More than 130 Muslim scholars have written to Patriarch Abune Paulos, Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders urging greater understanding between the two faiths. The letter says that world peace could depend on improved relations between Muslims and Christians.

It identifies the principles of accepting only one god and living in peace with one's neighbours as common ground between the two religions. It also insists that Christians and Muslims worship the same god.

Comment:
History tells us that Muhammad himself wrote and dispatched a letter to different christian kings, including the Ethiopian king. The letter urged christians to convert to Islam, otherwise ....

Now after hundreds of years, another letter reached christian offices. I hope no patriarch, pope or bishop would agree with "we worship one god" fallacy and make the greatest mistake of all times.

It is clear we do not worship the same God.

Christian God:.
. One God Three Persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
. Christ is God the Son incarnate Who was born of the Virgin Mary for our salvation.

Generally
The central doctrine of the Christian faith is that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for sinners and that by accepting Christ and His Mission, one is "saved" and is guaranteed a home in Heaven. Muslims do not believe God had a Son and, therefore, no atonement for sin is necessary. Muslims believe simply telling God one is sorry and repenting of sin is enough, if one also lives up to the five "pillars" of Islam. Furthermore, according to Muslims, Jesus did not die on a cross (as Christians believe); instead, God allowed Judas to look like Jesus and Judas was crucified.

No Way!! We do not Worship One God.

I have recently read a very moving article about Islam and Christianity in Amharic. I wish all of you could see it.
Cher Were Yaseman.

October 10, 2007

Another Ethiopian Eritrean war? Pathetic! ሌላ የኢትዮጵያ-ኤርትራ ጦርነት? ዕብደት ነው!

‹‹አለባብሰው ቢያርሱ ባረም ይመለሱ›› ማለት አንዱ የኢትዮጵያ-ኤርትራ ጦርነት ጉዳይ ነው፡፡ ሲጀመር አላማረበት ሲያልቅ ሊያምርበት እንዴት ይችላል? ቀድሞም ፍቅራቸው ገደብ ያልነበረው ‹‹ወጣቶች›› ዛሬ ‹‹በመካከለኛ›› ዕድሜያቸው ሲጣሉም እንዲህ ጠባቸው የመረረ ሆነና አሁንም የሌላ ጦርነት ዋዜማ ነጋሪት ይደለቅ ጀምሯል፡፡

በእውነቱ ሁለተኛ ዙር 70 እና 80 ሺህ ነፍስ መገበር ዕብደት ካልሆነ ምንም ሊባል አይችልም፡፡ ነገሩ ለሽማግሌ አስቸግሯል፡፡ ‹‹አብረን እንኑር›› ሳይሆን ‹‹ወይ አንተ ወይ እኔ›› ስለሆነ ‹‹አንተም ተም! አንተም ተው!›› የሚላቸው ጠፋ፡፡ ቢኖርም አይሰሙም፡፡ ችግረኛ ሕዝቦች እየመሩ የሌላውን ተቀናቃኝ ስለመርዳት፣ የሌላውን ሀገር ስለመበጥበጥ መጨነቅ ምን ይባላል?

በዚህ ዓይነቱ ሁናቴ ቤተ ክርስቲያን መናገር ይገባታል፡፡ ቢሰሟትም ባይሰሟትም፡፡ መጽሐፍ ቅዱስ ‹‹ደፍሮ የሚገስጽ ሰላምን ያመጣል›› ያለው ለዚህ ነው(ምሳሌ 16፣18-19)፡፡
ቸር ወሬ ያሰማን

October 7, 2007

Flight of St Mary and her beloved Son: ተአምረ ፍቅርኪ ማርያም ይገብር መንክረ


‹‹ተአምረ ፍቅርኪ ማርያም ይገብር መንክረ
እንዘ ጻዕረ ሞት ያረስዕ ወያስተፅዕም መሪረ››
(The miracle of your love does a lot of miracle/
it gets someone forget the horror of death and sweetens bitterness)

ማኅሌተ ጽጌ
This verse is quoted from the renowned hymn sung in remembrance of the flight of the holy family to Egypt and later to Ethiopia. The occasion is remembered in the Church from Meskerem 26 to Hidar 6 (Ca. Sept 7-Nov 6).

HISTORY

According to Matthew, when the Magi came to Herod the Great in Jerusalem and asked where the newborn "King of the Jews" was, he became paranoid that the child would become a threat to his throne, and sought to kill Him (2:1-8). Herod initiated the Massacre of the Innocents in hopes of killing the Child (2:16-18). But an angel appeared to Joseph and warned him to take Jesus Christ and his mother into Egypt (2:13). Egypt was the logical place to find refuge, as it was outside the dominions of King Herod, and throughout the Old Testament it was the standard place of exile for those unsafe in Palestine. At the time in which the story of the flight is set, both Egypt and Palestine were part of the Roman Empire, making travel between them easy and relatively safe.

During their travels, written accounts indicate that they received charity from pious strangers, but often they were without shelter, food or water. Most of the sites associated with the Flight of the Holy Family reflect some tribulation overcome by the Holy Family. For example, walking in the heat of the day, they find shade under a tree, which is blessed. When they are hungry, a palm tree bows down, offering its dates. Their thirst is quenched by local wells, or in more dire circumstances, by springs brought forth by the infant Jesus. When chased by thieves, a tree opens up to hide them. If there is no room in an inn, they sleep in a cave that miraculously appears.

The flight did not end in Egypt alone. The Holy Family, according to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church tradition, continued their journey to Ethiopia and get shelter in places such as Islands in Tana lake.

October 5, 2007

No Middle Ground as per Islam


"I think we are at war with Islam. And there's no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they're the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam [into] the schools and universities of the West. You stop that. You stop the symbol burning and the effigy burning, and you look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, 'This is a warning. We won't accept this anymore.' There comes a moment when you crush your enemy. ...
"[I]f you don't do that, then you have to live with the consequences of being crushed. ...
"I think that's where we're heading. We're heading there because the West has been in denial for a long time."
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, interviewed by Rogier van Bakel, in the October issue of Reason

October 2, 2007

GESHEN MARIAM ግሸን ማርያም


The venue of this festival itself, is a marvel. Flying over, one can see the naturally crude cruciform-shaped land feature of Geshen.

Girdled by sheer cliffs in all directions and with only one access, the church is perched at the top of a hill and had played a significant role in the political history of Medieval Ethiopia as the "Royal Prison."

Later, Emperor Dawit is said to have brought a piece of Christ's cross from Egypt.

Later yet, it was Emperor Zara Yacob, said to be led by the Holy Spirit who brought this treasure to it's present location at Gishen, thus the celebrations are associated with him.

The Eve of the festival falls on Oct 1 with the main celebration on the following day.

Cher Were Yaseman, amen.

September 30, 2007

Fanatic Muslims Stone Christian Property in Addis Ababa

(By Deje Selam Contributor)
Fanatic Muslims throw stones at Christian property. Last Friday, 28 September 2007, an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo hymns advertising car was stoned by Muslims participating in Friday prayers in a mosque around Sheraton Addis. The reason and damage is yet to be confirmed. The chaos finally subsided after federal police reached in the area.
Cher Were Yaseman, amen.

September 28, 2007

The Origin of Demera and the Torch


As the modern man would communicate with remote areas through telephone, telegram, fax, media etc. and exchanges the necessary information each other, we understand from history that the ancient society expressed their victory, joy, and transmitted their messages by lighting 'Demera' or bundle of twigs on mountains.

'Demera' is a Ge'ez term that means adding and uniting. The word commemorate the hiding of the Cross of Christ by Jews because His Cross performed different miracles, such as: gave light to the blind, cleansed the lepers, expelled demons, gave life to the dead, etc. Hence, they agreed to bury the true cross of Jesus with two other crosses of criminals. The rabbis ordered the people to pile ashes and dirt on the site where the cross buried. Christ's Cross-was buried about 300 years.
However, as our Lord Jesus said "There is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known," (Mat. 10:26), God chose Empress Helen, the mother of Constantine the great who guided by was able to find the site where the Cross was buried. She made 'Demera' (bundle of twigs) lit it and the smoke coming from the incense pointed the exact place where the cross was buried.

Empress Helen ordered her servants to start digging from Meskerem 17. (E.C) Onwards. Finally, the true cross was found on Megabit 10 (March 19) 327 A.D. The Queen then rejoiced and the people expressed their happiness by lighting a bundle of twigs (Demera). That is why the feast of the finding of the true cross or Demera of Christ is celebrated colorfully and joyfully. The Torah states, "Thou shall not remove thy neighbor's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance," (Deut. 19:14).
May the blessings of The Holy Cross be with us all, amen.
THE ABOVE ARTICLE WAS TAKEN FROM A BROCHURE Prepared by "The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Evangelical and Missionary Activities Department. Addis Ababa- Ethiopia,Sept. 26, 2002"
Cher Were Yaseman.

September 25, 2007

Farewell To Bishop Qewstos


His Grace bishop Qewstos has left for Ethiopia today Monday 24, 2007. He will participate in the upcoming holy synod meeting and he will be expected to come back to his new diocese in Washington DC. However, as experience tells us, the patriarch might not leave him to return to USA.
His grace has touched many hearts with his religious and tearful teachings and holy life. Many people, especially those not closely related to the Church life have not understood him, aligning him to the patriarch in Addis. Deje Selam appreciates their concern, but it is not a tangible concern.
His Grace Bishop Qewstos is an exemplary father by any standard, and who does not fear to express his ideals whenever the need arises. His recent book written about the fellow bishop martyr His Grace Abune Petros can be an exemplary evidence in this regard. We need his grace back in USA and continue his much needed ministry.
አባታችን በጸሎትዎ አይርሱን፣ አሜን፡፡
ቸር ወሬ ያሰማን

The following message is posted by Deje Selam reader:

For those of us who wish to have been born at the time of a Christian King (Atse Kaleb or Kidus Lalibela) who prayed at night and ruled by day. For those of us who wish to have been born at the time when St.Giorgis helped the soldiers in their battle, to be part of the excitement and say "Kidus Giorgis be Nich Ferese be mekakelachew taye".For those of us who wish to have been born at the time to say our father Abune Petros died for his people and country.For those of us who did not get the chance to feel our hearts burn with the inspiring teachings of Abune Gorgorios.This was a blessing to see a father who is gifted with tears of Love, spirit of peace and wisdom and strength.
Enquane Ayenae Yehanene Aye

September 21, 2007

Harlem church members leave on pilgrimage to Ethiopia

NEW YORK (AP) — Ethiopian sea traders established the Abyssinian Baptist Church nearly 200 years ago.

Now 150 church members led by their politically influential pastor, the Rev. Calvin Butts, are honoring the Harlem church's founders with a two-week pilgrimage to the African nation to discover their spiritual roots.

"I think we will all come back better people," one of the travelers, Doris Brunson, said. "As American blacks, we really need to understand the importance of our source. I think what we will see will be beautiful in some ways, and devastating in some ways."

The trip is part of an 18-month bicentennial observation that will end in November 2008, the actual 200th anniversary of the church's origin.

Butts said when the trip was announced in May that it had several purposes including "fellowship with the Ethiopians," missionary work and creating an orphanage for the children of AIDS victims.

The church's connection to Ethiopia goes back to its founding in 1808 by free blacks and Ethiopian merchant seamen who refused to worship in segregated churches. Abyssinia is a historical name for Ethiopia.

Today the church has 4,000 members and draws crowds of tourists every Sunday.
v

September 15, 2007

Converts To Islam Pose Security Threat

(In Germany, government officials estimated that 4,000 people converted to Islam last year, compared with an annual average of 300 in the late 1990s.)
According to Washington Post report from Europe, Converts To Islam are posing threat in Europe and in USA. They are playing an increasingly influential role in Islamic militant networks, having transformed themselves in recent years from curiosities to key players in terrorist cells in Europe, according to counterterrorism officials and analysts.
The arrests this month of two German converts to Islam -- Fritz Gelowicz and Daniel Schneider -- on suspicions that they were plotting to bomb American targets are just one example of terrorism cases in Europe in which converts to Islam have figured prominently.
In Copenhagen, a convert is among four defendants who went on trial this month for plotting to blow up political targets. In Sweden, a webmaster who changed his name from Ralf Wadman to Abu Usama el-Swede was arrested last year on suspicion of recruiting fighters on the Internet. In Britain, three converts -- including the son of a British politician -- are awaiting trial on charges of participating in last year's transatlantic airline plot.
Religious converts are sometimes more prone to radicalization because of their zeal to prove their newfound faith, analysts said. They are also less likely to attract police scrutiny in Europe, where investigators often rely on outdated demographic profiles in terrorism cases.
The trend is not limited to Europe. In Florida, U.S. citizen and convert Jose Padilla was convicted last month on conspiracy charges for participating in an al-Qaeda support cell. In March, David M. Hicks, an Australian convert, became the first prisoner at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be convicted on terrorism charges.
Converts have joined militant groups, including al-Qaeda, for years. Wadih el-Hage, a Lebanese Christian who converted to Islam and became a U.S. citizen, served as an aide to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the 1990s and was convicted for his role in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa.

September 13, 2007

Eritrean Orthodox Church Celebrate New Year

1. The News
The 4th Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church, Abune Dioskoros, gave a blessing to people in Eritrea for the New Year. Both Ethiopia and Eritrea are known to follow the Geez New Year.

The international community has been condemning the Eritrean government for deposing and arresting Abune Antonios, who is widely believed to be the real Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church. Despite such issues, this has been a common trend in the horn of Africa since many Ethiopian governments have also been known for removing Patriarchs for political reasons.

State sponsored persecution of church members have tremendously reduced in the region the last two decades. However, the Eritrean government has recently been criticized for allegedly torturing and killing Evangelical Christians in Eritrea. Accoding to Voice of the Martyrs, another Christian in Eritrea, Nigisti Haile, was allegedly tortured to death by the Eritrean authorities this week. Patriarch Dioskoros prayed for the faithful inside the country as well as for the Eritrean Defense Forces.

2. My Impression
I am not sure why I feel puzzeled to see year 2000 being celebrated in Eritrea. That means, atleast the Church is still in its good old tradition. I came across the term <Geez Newyear>, to mean the Ethiopian calendar. Wow!!!
Cher Were Yaseman,
Amen

Mahibere Kidusan Launches New Web Site

Mahibere Kidusan, the renowned association in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, has launched a new web site in USA. I found it blessing, religious and spiritual. It is solely in Amharic, and I am not sure if they are planning an English version. I am content with this first step though. Their welcome message shows their plan and vision, teaching doctrines to educating Children.
Click:- http://www.mahiberekidusan.org/
Bravo Mahibere Kidusan,
Cher Were Yaseman,
Amen.

2000 G.C and Now 2000 E.C: Poem


Dear Dejeselam,

I am your frequent user, I appreciate what you are doing.

It was about seven years back, by 2000 G.C. I wrote this poem. Now I got time to send you by the Ethiopian 2000.

If is good, please post it.
Thanks,

Yoseph

September 10, 2007

Melkam Addis Amet, Melkam Sostegna Shih Amet!!!!


This festival celebrates both the New Year and the Feast of John the Baptist at the end of the long rains in Spring, when the Highlands become covered in wild flowers. Children dressed in new clothes dance through the villages, distributing garlands and tiny paintings. In the evening every house lights a bonfire and there is singing and dancing. Don't you miss it? I do.

This year's celebration will definitely be the most unique one. We pray the new millennium will be for Ethiopia and her children, for their Renaissance, and reclaiming their good old position. There IS a BLESSING SPEACH BY HIS GRACE ABUNE QEWSTOS, ARCHBISHOP OF WASHINGTON AND ITS ENVIRONS. Please go to Washington DC program from Sept 8, 2007.
Melkam Addis Amet, Melkam Sostegna Shih Amet!!!!

September 4, 2007

Painting Ethiopia: The Life and Work of Qes Adamu Tesfaw


One artist’s bold innovations of the 1,500-year-old artistic traditions of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church will be on display. His subjects range from vivid images of rural and urban life in Ethiopia to striking depictions of Christianity from an Ethiopian perspective, and the political and military exploits of 19th- and 20th-century Ethiopian rulers. But it is Adamu’s unconventional approach—including unusually layered, truncated and fused images and seldom-considered perspectives—that marks the work of this extraordinary painter who has transcended the confines of his artistic education.
Address:
Loyola University Museum of Art
820 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago IL 60611
312.915.7600
LUC.edu/luma
CONTACT:
Ann M. Meehan
Curator of Education
LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
820 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago IL 60611
312.915.7604 (direct)
312.915.6388 (fax)
LUC.edu/luma

August 31, 2007

Split in EOTC in Jamaican Resolved in Court

The 1992 split in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Jamaica has finally been resolved by the Supreme Court.

Mr. Justice Donald McIntosh has ordered the followers of the late Archbishop Abuna Yesehaq, who were running the church over the last 15 years, to hand over control to the duly appointed board of trustees.
Detail Read Here.

August 28, 2007

Kenenisa/ Sileshi in Osaka: Symbol of Endurance-a killer sprinter


Kenenisa Bekele dropped off the pace a couple of times during the last two laps of the 10,000 metres, and it looked as if lost his bid for the world title. But it wasn’t to be. Bekele was only kidding. He made up the gap which had been forged before the bell by the little known Kenyan, Martin Irunqu Mathathi, then tracked Sihine past the 200 metres line before launching a killer sprint to another distant victory in a rapid (for the conditions) time of 27:05.90, a season’s best for the World record holder. Our great tracking King Sileshi made it a one-two for Ethiopia, in 27:09.03, and Mathathi was third in 27:12.17.
Beye Gizew Endih Ayenetun Cher Were Yaseman. Amen

Poem To Aleka Ayalew Tamiru


Aleka Ayalew Tamiru, Renowned Theologian, Leading Peace Advocate, Passed Away last week. He was a prominent scholar and leading EOTC theologian for not less than 40 years. Here is a poem dedicate to him by Insermu Seifegabriel.
Cher Were Yaseman

August 24, 2007

Aleka Ayalew Tamiru, Renowned Theologian, Leading Peace Advocate, Passed Away

Aleka Ayalew Tamiru, Renowned Theologian, Leading Peace Advocate, Passed Away. He was a prominent scholar and leading EOTC theologian for not less than 40 years. Aleka has fallen apart with the 5th patriarch Paulos due to doctrinal issues, and the patriarch, in turn, stripped Aleka off his position, job and even salaries. He passed the last decade in his one meter by one meter Tselot Bet, reserving himself to writing and prayers. The death of Aleka is a great loss to the 200 years old Church. It is a shame the EOTC administration, once again, doomed its own precious asset and knowledgeable person of his time to seclusion and later death.

Yeqer Yebelen!!! Yeqer Yebelachew!!

August 21, 2007

Patriarch Paulos Got a New Homepage (Site): http://www.eotc-patriarch.org/

It has always puzzled me why an Institution as old as the
Ethiopian Bete Kehenet can not have a simple web page, which here, every teenager and small parish cherishes. It is always hard even to get telephone and postal addresses of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Bete kehenet. And now they have got a well designed, unfortunately not fully loaded (content wise) website. It is a good start. I wish the designers and editors of the site will update it as regularly as possible. As it is common with the newspaper (Zena Betekrestiyan) and other publications, please do not make it only about and to Abba Paulos. Tell us about the day-to-day activities of the Church. Teach us about our faith. Tell us about social and religious developments. Do not make it another venue of cyber war with your fellow Menekosat here in diaspora.
Cher were Yaseman

Deje Selam

August 17, 2007

Abba Paulos: Smash the idols


"We were Christian [charitable and monotheistic] for over a thousand years before Christ," Abba Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, declared nonplused. "We have been Christian since Queen Makeda [the biblical Sheba] visited King Solomon in Jerusalem to partake of his wisdom and returned to Ethiopia with the Ark of the Covenant -- containing the actual stone tablets of the Ten Commandments God gave Moses," he explained.

This is an article by Gamal Nkrumah and posted on Al-Ahram.
Melkam Nebab.

August 10, 2007

Promoting jihad, Targeting Free Speech: How Christian West Surrenders to Islam Part II

Dear Deje Selamoch,
This is an article by Diana West of The Washington Times excerpted to fit Deje Selam. It is another example how Islamist Jihadists and their Allies are undermining even what the West is doing. If they are influential here in Europe and North America, what do we expect them to do back home in Ethiopia. To read the whole article, click on the Title page.
Here some examples:
On or about July 30, Cambridge University Press surrendered to a libel suit brought in British court by Khalid bin Mahfouz over the 2006 book, "Alms for Jihad," which identifies the Saudi billionaire as a supporter of AL Qaeda. The publisher apologized for allegations documented by the authors, paid damages and promised to destroy all unsold copies of the book, and to request libraries and universities, even in the United States, to destroy their copies.
On Aug. 1, Chauncey Bailey, editor of the Oakland Press, was murdered. Mr. Bailey had been investigating what sounds like a black Muslim crime family operating out of Your Black Muslim Bakery, and its connections to crime in the Oakland area, where, not incidentally, Muslims associated with the bakery have used violence against liquor stores, a la Taliban, to enforce aspects of Islamic law. A 19-year-old Muslim bakery employee has confessed to the crime.
Also on Aug. 1, the Web site, Radar, recounted a familiar tale of Hollywood woe — a screenplay project terminated by a producer before completion. But this one had a post-September 11 twist. The screenwriter, Jason Ressler, maintains that his screenplay, "Dove Hunting," a thriller with a Saudi prince for a villain, was terminated after the producer he was working with, Mark "March of the Penguins" Gill, received a massive infusion of cash from backers including, well, a Saudi prince: Sheikh Walid al-Ibrahim, an owner of al-Arabiya network and a brother-in-law of the late King Fahd. Mr. Gill denies politics affected his decision.
On Aug. 2, the Young America's Foundation was threatened with legal action by lawyers for the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) if the conservative student group didn't cancel a scheduled talk on CAIR by best-selling author and Islamic expert Robert Spencer. To be sure, neither the redoubtable Mr. Spencer nor the student group buckled under CAIR's bullying, and, to date, CAIR's threats have not materialized. Indeed, both Mr. Spencer's resolve and Young America's Foundation response — "CAIR can go to hell and take their 72 virgins with them" — are an inspiration.
There's even a bright spot in the Cambridge disgrace. The two American authors of "Alms for Jihad," J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins, were not sued; just the British publisher. For this protection, we can probably thank courageous Rachel Ehrenfeld, terror expert and author of the 2003 book, "Funding Evil." When Miss Ehrenfeld was sued in 2004 by the same litigious Saudi billionaire in British court (he has brought or threatened suit 36 times on similar grounds), she refused to accept the premise that a British court should have jurisdiction over an American writer's American-published book. She took legal action in U.S. courts, where, to date, her case is finding protection for American writers from British law.
We can take heart from such victories. But these individual acts of courage will only amount to gallant sacrifices if they aren't upheld as victories over a jihadist effort to shut the rest of us up to curb everybody's freedom to name the Muslim billionaires behind global jihad, to investigate the thuggery of an Islamic city gang, to create thrillers about Saudi terror-princes, to speak out about CAIR's jihadist links and more.
In other words, these are the new dots that urgently need connecting. And what connects them all, from street violence to legal intimidation, is the chilling effect they each bring to bear on the free and unfettered investigation, analysis and assessment of Islam and jihad.

"Pilgrimage of Hope" - a signpost for mutual understanding


. Ethiopian group’s overland journey to Addis Abeba to celebrate millennium

(10/8/2007)
Nineteen expatriate Ethiopians of different religious faiths have set out in a small fleet of cars from the Hague, Holland, on a special pilgrimage - the "Amen Ethiopia Pilgrimage of Hope“. To read the whole article, please click HERE.

Their final destination is the Ethiopian capital, Addis Abeba. The group of predominantly young people is hoping to reach the Ethiopian capital by the 12th of September at the latest, so that they can celebrate New Year's Day there - since according to the Ethiopian calendar this day is January 1 of the Year 2000.
Their 40-day journey will take them through Europe, Asia and Africa. The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) helped fund one of the vehicles.
The members of the group are hoping by means of their journey to express their solidarity with their mother country and at the same time to appeal for a nationwide reflection on how to bring about a better society in Ethiopia. The Pilgrimage of Hope aims to bear witness to the riches of diversity in the country and call for spiritual unity in the new millennium.
One of the pilgrims, Samra, a Catholic from Texas, USA, hopes the journey will bring about a new awareness of the need for peace. "In this group of young people I have an opportunity to gain an insight into the different religious perspectives", she told ACN, adding that she feels she can learn a great deal from those of other religions or denominations.
As for Jonas, who is Orthodox and lives in the Netherlands, the central issue is peace. "We want people in Ethiopia to come together in the third millennium", he says. Jonas is not looking for a grand New Year's festival. Instead he sees this day as the starting date for changes in Ethiopia. "People there must reflect more on their own problems and strive together to find solutions for the country", he adds, adding that this is also the task of the different religious communions and ethnic groups.
Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate, a great-nephew of the last Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie, told ACN that he sees the Pilgrimage of Hope as a signpost for the future. He hopes it will contribute to a new spirit of peace in Ethiopia. He also wants the pilgrimage to "reinforce the enormous presence of ecumenism between the Catholic Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church". The Prince is hoping the approaching millennium celebrations will mark a milestone of understanding among the numerous different ethnic groups who live side by side in Ethiopia. The 58-year-old management consultant added, "My wish is that the new millennium can be an era in which the three Abrahamic religions can live side by side as brothers and sisters."
Two priests serving the Ethiopian faithful in the Netherlands, Abba Tesfamariam L. Mersha, who Is Ethiopian Orthodox and Abba Petros S. Berga, who is Catholic, will be accompanying the Pilgrimage of Hope. Both men believe that this religiously mixed group of pilgrims can bear special witness to the idea of unity in diversity. The discussions and contacts made during the pilgrimage can, they believe, contribute to overcoming the problems which exist in their home country. They are hoping above all for reconciliation, dialogue and mutual respect.
After their arrival in Addis Abeba, the vehicle funded by ACN will be given to the Theological College of the Holy Trinity in order to serve the only theological institution of the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia. ACN over the years has supported a number of ecumenical projects for the Orthodox Church.

August 7, 2007

OUR MOTHER THE SAINT VIRGIN MARY: PRAY FOR US


There is no woman about whom the prophets prophesied, and about whom the Holy Bible cared, like the Virgin Mary.......There are numerous symbols about her in the Old Testament. In the New Testament also, there are her biography, her praise, and the miracles. How many are the glorifying expressions and the contemplations, which were cited about the Virgin in the books of the fathers.........How full of praise are the surnames by which the Church calls her, and which are inspired from the Spirit of the Holy Bible.......! She is the mother of all of us, the lady of all of us, the pride of our kind, the queen at the right side of the King, the Virgin with Perpetual virginity, the pure, the filled with grace, the saint Mary, the powerful and helpful compassionate mother, the mother of the Light, the mother of mercy and salvation, the true vine.
This is the one whom the Church elevates over the rank of archangels, so that we say about her in her hymns and songs: O Mary, you have been raised above the cherubims, and have become higher than the seraphims, O Mary.
Mary who was bred up in the temple, and lived the life of prayer and contemplation since her childhood, and who was the sacred vessel whom the Lord has chosen to come inside her. Long generations waited for the birth of this Virgin, so that the
fullness of the time would become complete by her (Gal.4:4)........... She has removed the shame of Eva, and saved the reputation of women after sin.
She is the mother of God, in perpetual virginity. She is the Virgin who came to our country during the childhood of Christ, and inhabited our land for years, during which she sanctified it, and blessed it......... She is the Virgin who appeared in Zeitoun 32 years ago, and attracted to her the feelings of the crouds, with her light, her appearance, and her visit to us......... She is the Virgin who makes miracles in numerous places, where we celebrate feasts for he. The stories of her miracles are innumerable..... The Virgin is not a stranger to us; because she is profoundly assimilated with the feelings of Copts that come out from faith to special experience and emotion. How great an honor is it for our country and our
Church, to be visited in past times by our Lady the Virgin! How great an honor is it that our Lady appeared on her domes many years ago! There is not a human being whom christians have loved so much as our Lady the Virgin Mary.

Seali Lene Qidist!!
Amen

July 31, 2007

Ethiopians and Eritreans Unite in Faith: No War Here

'Warring' Ethiopians, Eritreans unite in Valletta church
Rosanne Zammit

Walking near the top of Merchants Street, in Valletta, on a Sunday morning one is bound to be drawn to St Catherine of Italy church by the sound of voices singing in unison.
Many stop to watch and listen. The Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo congregation claps as it sings, bodies swaying and arms raised in praise of the Lord.
Those who enter remove their shoes, kneel, make the sign of the cross and bow in worship, before sitting.
Song dominates the two-and-half-hour long service during which it is evident the participants are enjoying the ceremony.
When the service comes to an end, the congregation stands and forms a line going up to a makeshift altar where each kisses, kneels and prays in front of a number of framed holy images before going on to a priest holding a Coptic across which they kiss before the priest touches their forehead with it.
The congregation is made up of illegal immigrants who, on being released from detention, asked the director of the Emigrants Commission, Mgr Philip Calleja, for a place of worship where they could celebrate Sunday Mass.
Eritrean Manuel Fissanaye said that, initially, arrangements were made for them to use the Greek church, in Valletta. This was about a year ago when the congregation numbered 26. But after about three months, the congregation grew to over 200 and Mgr Calleja's assistance was sought once more for a bigger place to be provided.
The Coptic Orthodox have since been meeting at St Catherine of Italy church every Sunday at 8 a.m.
The service is partly in Ethiopian and partly in Eritrean. Although war rages between the two countries, the Ethiopians and Eritreans here are friends and blame the war on their governments.
"We have the same skin colour, the same culture, the same religion, we have intermarriages - we are one people," Mr Fissanaye said, adding that the service was carried out in both languages so that everyone would feel included and able to take part.
Asked about his problems in Malta, away from family and friends, Mr Fissanaye said he left his home country after graduating from university in search of a better life to support his family. He ended up here working as a labourer, unable to make use of his academic training.
"But everyone has problems. It is useless complaining and saying I have a problem. I accepted the situation and adapted to it."
His Ethiopian friend, Ashenafi Bulto said that sometimes people found it difficult to understand that everyone was a person, irrespective of one's skin colour and origins and should be respected as such.
The Orthodox Tewahedo Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox family of churches. The Coptic Church, which has been a distinct church body since the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, regards itself as a strong defendant of Christian faith.
Daily, in all Coptic Churches around the world, Copts pray for the reunion of all Christian Churches. They pray for world peace and the well-being of the human race.
While the roots of the Church are based in Egypt, it has a worldwide following.

July 30, 2007

Is the Christian West Serving Christianity or Islam?

I am always puzzled why wastern Christian governments are working against their faith and facilitate, one way or the other, the Dechristianization of different parts of the world. The predominantly Christian Europe is very much tolerant of devil worshipers, Muslims, atheists etc whereas, Christian values are looked down upon. A Swed preacher was once taken to court for opposing homosexuality. Islam on the other hand is publicly brainwashing youngsters in schools, even in the heart of Europe-Germany, teaching them killing infidels is the right thing to do, holy. Rouged governments like Iran school curriculum openly sites the elimination of Israel and infidel Christians. It is no different in the case of other Arab countries. Saudi Arabia, the best US partner and exporter of Wahhabi fanatic Islam, such as to Ethiopia, is itself the core of world terrorist factory. The same is true with Christianity in Iraq. A christian country is controlling the country, but never seen in their long history, Iraqi christians are fast vanishing by terrorist Islam. Read this commentary from The Washington Times entitled "End of Iraq's Christian Community?"

July 25, 2007

Coptic Church Oppose Vatican "True Church" Claim



By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

CAIRO, Jul 24 (IPS) - A recent statement by Pope Benedict XVI in which he declared the Roman Catholic Church to be the only "complete" Christian faith met with angry responses from the heads of several western, Protestant denominations. In Egypt, meanwhile, Benedict's assertion about Eastern Orthodox churches -- that they "lacked something" in their capacities as churches -- prompted no less of an angry reaction from the Orthodox Coptic Christian community.

"It's the Vatican's right as a religious institution to establish its own internal doctrines particular to itself," Youssef Sidhoum, editor-in-chief of independent Coptic weekly al-Watani told IPS. "But it doesn't have the right to issue statements passing judgment on other churches."

On Jul. 10, in an official document approved by the Pope, the Vatican declared that the Catholic Church was the only church to contain "all the elements that Christ himself instituted." The proclamation went on to assert that Protestant Christian denominations were not "churches" in the full sense of the word, while non-Catholic orthodox churches suffered from certain imperfections.

According to the document Protestant denominations, which split from Rome in the 16th century, should be viewed as Christian "communities".

As for churches of the Eastern Orthodox rite, the papal statement conceded that they do constitute proper churches, having been established on the basis of apostolic succession (meaning they were founded and maintained by Christ's original apostles and their successors). Nevertheless, the statement went on to note that these churches "lack something" for not recognising the primacy of the Pope.

Despite these assertions, the document went on to stress the Vatican's continued commitment to ecumenical dialogue with leaders of other Christian denominations.

Salib Meta, member of Egypt's Coptic Christian Religious Council, riposted by saying that it was the Eastern Orthodox rite that represented Christ's original church. "The Catholic Church is the one that...deviated from the true faith, which is represented by the Orthodox Church," he stated in a Jul. 11 interview on Arabic-language internet news service Alarabiya.net.

The Coptic Church, members of which represent an estimated 10 percent of Egypt's 75 million-strong population, split with the Catholic Church in the fifth century over differing views on the nature of Christ.

In an effort to soothe outraged Coptic sentiment, the Egyptian Catholic Council issued a statement Jul. 11 explaining that the Vatican's assertion had only "pertained to the rites of the western church." The statement went on to stress the Catholic Church's "respect and appreciation" for all Christian churches outside the Catholic fold.

But the clarification was not enough to placate discernible displeasure on the part of the Coptic leadership. In a Jul. 14 interview, head of the Coptic Church Pope Shenouda III criticised his Catholic counterpart, saying that Pope Benedict appeared to be "making enemies all the time."

Speaking to flagship government daily al-Ahram, Shenouda said that Benedict, in only two years as Pope, had already managed "to alienate all the Muslims." The reference was to Benedict's declaration in August of last year, in which he stated that Islam was "a religion of violence, spread by the sword."

Shenouda went on to say that the Catholic Pope, in his latest assertions about fellow Christian churches, "has now also alienated many of the Christian denominations."

Assistant Catholic Patriarch in Egypt Father Boutros Fahim declined to comment on Shenouda's remarks. "It's better not to reply," he was quoted as saying in the Jul. 15 edition of independent daily al-Masry al-Youm. "To quarrel is not among the traits of the Catholic Church, which has already issued a statement reiterating its respect for all Christian churches."

But despite the uproar over the latest Vatican statement, the assertions made therein are hardly new to the Catholic Church. A declaration issued in 2000 by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- headed at the time by the current Pope -- actually made many of the same claims.

"What was said in the document was not new to Benedict," acknowledged Shenouda, "but rather a repetition of an earlier document called 'Dominus Iesus', issued in 2000."

According to Sidhoum, however, the recent declaration was not itself as important as the person who made it.

"When those earlier statements were made in 2000, they didn't lead to a media uproar or have a negative effect on the relationships between churches," he said. "That was because John Paul II was still pope."

"But while John Paul II spread a message of peace and understanding, Benedict has issued a document promoting conflict and intolerance between churches," Sidhoum added. "The document essentially represents a relapse in terms of Catholic thinking."

Only four days after the controversial Vatican statement, Egypt's Coptic Church held a reception in Cairo under the provocative slogan "The Coptic Orthodox Church is the only Christian Church". The event was organised to commemorate the reactivation of the church's official relations with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, frozen since 1994.

Sidhoum, however, criticised the church's choice of words, which he viewed as another unnecessary provocation.

"None of the churches -- even the orthodox ones -- have the right to call themselves the only 'true' Christian Church," he said. "Such statements can only lead to intolerance between Christians and between various Christian denominations." (END/2007)

July 20, 2007

Coptic and Ethiopian Churches Sign Truce


“You have made history”.
This is how a Coptic Metropolitan described the reconciliation brought about by His Holiness Aram I (Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church) between the Coptic Orthodox and the Ethiopian Orthodox Churches. “This is a historical day”, said an Ethiopian Archbishop.


These words were pronounced after the signing of a Common Declaration, marking the end of more than two decades of tension between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The Common Declaration was signed on Friday 13 July 2007 at the Cathedral of the Coptic Church in Cairo, with the signing of a Common Declaration by the three spiritual heads: His Holiness Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, and His Holiness Abba Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Emphasizing “the importance of this historical meeting”, the spiritual heads reaffirmed their unity of faith which is “deeply rooted in the Holy Scriptures, the Apostolic faith and Tradition, the three Ecumenical Councils (Nicea 325, Constantinople 381, and Ephesus 431) and the teachings of church fathers, specially St. Athanasius the Great, St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Gregory the Illuminator…”
After expressing their “deep thanks to Catholicos Aram I for his fraternal efforts to bring this historic meeting into reality”, Pope Shenouda and Patriarch Paulos committed themselves to deepen and expand their bilateral collaboration. Greeting this historic event, Aram I said: “We can not ignore or change the past; we can change the future with renewed faith, hope and vision.”

The meeting in Cairo was preceded by another meeting in Addis Ababa between Catholicos Aram I and Patriarch Paulos. In their Joint Declaration they stressed the need to strengthen the cooperation between the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the area of Christian education, theological formation, justice and peace. They called for “the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the International Community as the first genocide of the 20th Century just as they recognized the Rwandan Genocide as the last genocide of the 20th Century”.

Commenting on the role of the Oriental Orthodox Churches His Holiness Aram I, the former Moderator of the World Council of Churches said: “Unity must be translated into a quality of life undergirded by close collaboration, joint action and common vision. The churches are the limbs of the one body of Christ; they can not live in isolation; they are interrelated”.

He then continued “The Oriental Orthodox Churches with their theology, spirituality and long history of martyrdom and witness have a unique contribution to make to the Christian self-understanding and mission in a new world context” and to the ecumenical movement”.

The Oriental Orthodox Family is composed of the Syrian, Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopian, Indian and Eritrean Churches. These Churches have world-wide Diaspora and are active in the ecumenical movement. -http://www.cathcil.org

July 17, 2007

"Life Jail Sentence": An Appalling Verdict

The CUD case was from the start a sham trial, a farcical kangaroo court,not unexpectedly resulting in an appalling verdict. For me it has no difference with death sentence requested. It is an abhorring result, and as an Ethiopian a very depressing one. Peace and reconciliation are getting no chance in our country today:
. "Thanks" to these communists-turned-globalization-advocate tyrants.
. "Thanks" to the "religious fathers" who forgot their God given reconciliation mission.
."Thanks" to these war mongering diaspora-Starbucks-stationed-DC-politicians.
Let God Save Ethiopia!
Cher Were Yaseman

July 10, 2007

Ethiopia’s uniquely African millenium

As the country prepares to celebrate its Julian calendar's second millennium, critics say the government is using the year-long festivities to divert attention from its dismal performance.
FRED OLUOCH reports

The millennium is unique to Ethiopia, the only African county that did not experience colonialism. With its unique cultural traditions dating back to ancient times, the Ethiopian millennium is one of the traditions that have passed down from generation to generation without interruption.

The organisers of the celebration believe that it will be a chance to change the image of Ethiopia and show that the country has more to offer the world than the images of misery that were splashed across the world following the 1984 famine.

IT WILL BE AN OPPORTUNITY TO show the world its rich cultural heritage and tourist attractions — such as the 17th century Fasilidas Castle in Gondar, the famous Obelix of Axum, which was recently returned from Italy, and the rock churches of Lasta Lalibela.

Government officials say Ethiopia has survived many phases — from its ancient civilisation to the present economic and social challenges — with its pride intact.

Ethiopia has culture and traditions that date back more than 3,000 years, and any traveller is transported through breathtaking monuments and ruins that were built centuries ago.

The ancient northern city of Axum remains the country’s oldest urban and religious centre.

The Axumite kingdom was once the most powerful Red Sea state between the eastern Roman empire and Persia. Axum hosts the famous monolithic Obelisk, and has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Gondar, founded in 1636, is known for its castle-like palaces and was Ethiopia’s capital until the reign of emperor Tewodros II.

Thus, the concluding millennium has seen Ethiopia prosper and decline both politically and economically.

The new millennium, on the other hand, gives Ethiopia a chance to reflect on the past and an incentive to move forward with fresh vigour.

In Kenya, several activities to celebrate the millennium are under way. They include a procession and parade through the streets of Nairobi, sporting activities, an exhibition of Ethiopian and African traditional artefacts, a gala night to showcase traditional foods, songs and dances of Africa, presentations by scholars on Ethiopia-Kenya relations, Ethiopian history and other related topics.

Ethiopia inspired the world as one of the pioneers of civilisation, not to mention its reputation as the cradle of mankind.

Under former Emperor Haile Selassie, Ethiopia was one of the founder members of the defunct Organisation of African Unity.

But there were times, too, when its eminence hit rock bottom; times when Ethiopia unwillingly developed notoriety for being a land of despondency, especially during the widespread famine of 1984.

But Ethiopians love their unique heritage, including the way they have subdivided the solar cycle into 13 months — a feature used to market Ethiopia as a country with 13 months of sunshine.

This time, it will be an Enkutatash (new year) with a difference, since the millennium comes only once in a thousand years.

The beginning of the new millennium gives Ethiopians an unparalleled opportunity for renewal of their faith in themselves. Ethiopians from all walks of life will be asking tough questions on why their country has declined to the current state.

A recent World Economic Forum report indicates that Ethiopia has slid to the rank of 120th out of 125 countries in 2006 in the Global Competitive Index, down from the 116th place it occupied in 2005.

THERE IS ALSO CONCERN whether Ethiopia will meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Economic analysts point out that the number of Ethiopians living on less than a dollar a day, has nearly tripled since Zenawi took power in 1991.

Still, the Ethiopian Julian calendar remains unique. The calendars of the entire world are based on the work of the old Egyptian astronomers who, 3,000-4,000 years BC, calculated that the solar or sidereal year lasted slightly less than 365 ¼ days.

However, it was left to the astronomers of the Alexandrian school to incorporate this knowledge into some sort of a calendar; it was these astronomers who also came up with the idea of leap years.

Subsequently, the Romans under Julius Caesar borrowed their reformed calendar from Alexandrian science and adopted it for the Western world.

The Coptics later inherited this science as a right and built upon it themselves. In due course, the Coptics handed this calendar, together with their method of computing the date for Easter, on to the Church in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian calendar retains the old Egyptian system, whereby the year was divided into 12 months of thirty days each plus one additional month of five days (six days in leap years).

Ethiopian dates, therefore, fall 7-8 years behind Western dates and have done so since early Christian times. This discrepancy results from differences between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

Each Ethiopian year is dedicated to one of the four evangelists — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The year of St Luke is a leap year and, therefore, always has six days in the 13th month of the Ethiopian calendar.

June 28, 2007

Christians protest over Eritrean government interference in church activities

A service has been held in London to protest against the treatment of the head of the Eritrean orthodox church.
READ MORE HERE.

June 24, 2007

Reconciliation ይቅር ለእግዜር: የሁሉም ኢትዮጵያዊ/ት ድል Triumph of All Ethiopians

በታሣሪዎቹ የቅንጅት መሪዎች እንዲፈቱ መወሰን
ሁላችሁ ሁላችሁ
እንኳን ደስ ያላችሁ፣
እንኳን ደስ ያለን
As any Ethiopian would feel, Deje Selam team is happy with the "good news" of reconciliation. If there is anyone contra this move will be a person endowed with bad spirit. The good lesson we might draw:

1. This reconciliation is triumph of every Ethiopian, whether in the EPRDF or CUD/ Kinijit camp. If there is a looser, it is the bedeviling anti-Ethiopian camp in general.

2. ሽማግሌ ያላሳጣን አምላክ ምስጋና ይድረሰው፣ ሊቀ ሊቃውንት ኤፍሬም ይስሐቅ ረጅም ዕድሜ ከጤና ጋር ያድሎት፡፡ ሽምግልና ላይ የነበረንን እምነት በድጋሚ ስላጸኑልን፡፡ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ደግሞ ጽናቱን ይስጥሽ፣ ልጆችሽ የአባት ያለህ፣ የሽማግሌ ያለህ እያሉ ለማግኘት ባለመታደላቸው፡፡

3. Ethiopians in either of the political camp (Aiga to Ethioreview, Ethiopia First to Ethio Media etc), degafiwoch and members, for the sake of peace-loving and peace-deserving Ethiopia, let us hold back our political fantasies, andemta and boring polemics at least for the time being. Let us give peace and reconciliation a chance. Please.
ቸር ወሬ ያሰማን፣ አሜን፡፡

June 22, 2007

Church and State and Contemporary Society – A comparison of perspectives between the Roman Catholic and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

. Catholic and Orthodox approaches to the State
. The approach of Orthodox churches to relations with the State differ from the relations between the Vatican and the various states.
. Islam figures prominently in this historical and cultural difference.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
By Ezana Habte Gabr
The apostolic churches, namely the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches have witnessed social changes throughout the world, while continuing to maintain the faith which was bought to societies in Europe, Africa and Asia. While spiritually being one apostolic church, they were divided by the politics during the schism, but theologically maintaining commonalties such as the seven sacraments and the veneration of the Virgin Mary.
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However, in terms of perspectives regarding the state and society, historical differences have evolved leading the Roman Church to be respectful of the state and contingently prescriptive in terms of the role of the state and society as it has maintained its universality. The Orthodox Church on the other hand, evolved into a national church and has viewed the propagation of the faith by being a tied to the state. As the historical Ethiopian saying puts it “seamy aytaras, negus aykeses” My intention here is to address some salient aspects in regards to state and society such as modernization, changing social relations, language and culture by making references to Ethiopia.



As the encyclicals of the Twentieth Century of the Roman Catholic Church indicate, the role of the state in society has been constantly examined and clarified taking into consideration the changes in society. The universality of the Catholic Church has historically made it not part of any state. However, as the state in societies has a profound impact on the spirituality and morality of people, the church could not remain detached from this reality.



The Ethiopian Orthodox Church along with the Armenian Church is the oldest church which has been ascribed to a state. Christianity was declared the official religion of the Ethiopian empire in the fourth century and continued to be so until 1974. However, after 1974 the church continued to survive in very much the same way other Orthodox churches survived under states which adopted Marxist-Leninist systems as the promoting nationalism has been its historical duty as the royalty were considered elected by God. While, it is important to note that Orthodox Church continued to stand firmly to its beliefs and provide consolation under new regimes, the fact that it was always a column of nationalism provided it some room to function in spite of ideology.



This is very similar to the Catholic Church in Poland under the Communist government. However, the Ethiopian Orthodox church was not an active change agent and if there was any anti-systemic movement it supported, it was the exiled monarchist party which was really was not a major change agent.



Since the Enlightenment, the Roman Church was faced with the concept of the liberal state, one that was based on rationalism and positivism. Hence the liberal and the pluralistic state was conceived based on relativism which increasingly detached sprit from state as it was associated with ideologies of the anciene regime. Several grassroots movements which fought for social justice and equality associated spirit and church with the monarchical system. The industrial revolution, whose material benefits began to be appreciated in the West, were the Roman church has had most of is presence began to experiences a spiritual alienation increasingly manifested by growing numbers of nominal and non practicing believers as materialism began to predominate the social psyche. Social relations did deteriorate in industry and urban settings in Europe and indeed Latin America, regions with large numbers of Roman Catholic adherents. In Europe, difficult labor conditions increasingly made liberalism attractive, calling for various encyclicals at the end of the 19th century by Pope Leon XII`s encyclical, "Rerum novarum” Here, the Pope responded to the social problems calling for a Christian alternative, one that comprehended the problems but sought to solve them through the teachings of Christianity.



During the same time, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church had a much stronger connection to the state as the Ethiopian state began to expand and the church’s role was imminent as it was supported by the state and vice versa. Priests and monks converted the non Christian south, which was incorporated by Emperor Menelik II, who reigned from 1889 to 1913, generating the need of a symbiotic relationship between church and state, unlike the case of Europe. Ethiopia had always been part of the diocese of Alexandria until the mid Twentieth century.



However, as the expansion of the empire and the nationalism espoused by the Church served to strengthen and even distinguish the church from the rest of the Orthodox communion in that it became the national church very much in the same manner as did other Orthodox churches. It officially became “The Ethiopian Monophysite, wrongly called at times Church or in Ge’ez, the official language of the church, “ye Etiopia Tewahado Beta Cristian”.



Furthermore the emperor was considered to be the elected servant of God. Therefore as the State became stronger, so did the church, which was not the case of the Roman Church. Indeed, this was the case of other Orthodox churches throughout the world, they increasingly became a column of nationalism and with the creation of new states such as the post Soviet countries, there have been more Orthodox churches as each new state formed its own church. In the Ethiopian case, with the independence of Eritrea, a new Eritrean Orthodox Church was founded. Therefore, in terms of a social doctrine, it is quite obvious that the Orthodox Church’s close knit relationship did not really call for inquiries and forms of adjustment to social changes as the states automatically formed new churches.



The Ethiopian Orthodox Church continues to use the traditional Ge’ez language in its liturgy in very much the same way the Roman Catholic Church used Latin until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. This was intended to accommodate diversity and make the bible and the liturgy more accessible to populations which were unable to study Latin. In the case of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Ge’ez, a clerical language, with the clergy and a few scholars being the only speakers continues to be the language of the liturgy. However, over the years and with modernization and Westernization, the church as increasingly been using Amharic in sermons.



The decision to use Amharic in sermons has very much been stimulated by the faithful who live overseas and those who have been highly educated. One could also draw the conclusion that the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church may have also inspired its brother Church to increasingly be open to the use of widely spoken languages.



In Latin America and Europe, as states adopted liberalism and authoritarian systems or caudillos, states increasingly distanced themselves from spirit as they viewed themselves to be social mediators and agents of modernization. Colombia, during the later part of 19th Century had Liberal regimes which espoused degrees of separation of Church and State. Furthermore, as Catholicism had always been based in the Vatican and as it was always autonomous, it could be argued that the Church naturally did not have much say in the affairs of the state. However, this is not to say that there were not political entities which viewed themselves as allies of the church. Unlike the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, I would argue that the autonomy of the Roman Church from states has not impacted the actual church due to its universality. Encyclicals, therefore, became necessary to accommodate spirit and relativism. Periods of Ethiopian contemporary history where the monarchy did not manifest strong support for the Church generally resulted in the monarchy collapsing.



Orthodox regions of the world, including Ethiopia, have always been faced with co-existing with other religions, perhaps more so than the Roman Church. Ethiopia, for example, is a country which has always been diverse in terms of religion. Close to half the population is Moslem and as the empire began expanding into the lowlands over the course of three centuries, it was faced with accommodating Islam. During the Ottomans, there were actual confrontations, similar to those of the Crusades in the Middle Ages. However, the empire did incorporate local Islamic leaders into the nobility system which was historically only for Orthodox Christians. Since Byzantine times, when the first Orthodox Church was founded, Islam had always been an issue in Orthodoxy. Perhaps it could be argued that the Church obtained defense from the state and the state, particularly, the nobility received spiritual support from the Church, hence contributing to a stronger relationship between both entities. On the other hand, countries which are predominantly Roman Catholic, in recent history began to co-exist with other beliefs as they recently emerged after. Here the encyclicals of Ecumenism, particularly those of John Paul II contributed to interfaith dialogue and one could argue served as model to other Churches and to Orthodox regions. In the case of Ethiopia under the liberal government, the Church continues to be tied to the state. The appointment of the recent patriarch was very much impacted by the ruling party. However, efforts have been made to grant equal rights to other faiths in very much the same way the Colombian constitution of 1991 has gone about this. Nonetheless, the historical precedence of these churches continues to make them essential parts of their societies.



To conclude, it can be suggested that both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church and specifically the Ethiopian, are theologically very similar in respect to the seven sacraments, the Holy Trinity and the Virgin Mary. However, their history has unfolded in different social contexts which include the Western and Eastern worlds. While the Roman Church is unchanged in terms of its beliefs, it has withstood marked philosophical transformations by considering social events and maintaining the faith.



The Ethiopian Orthodox church along with other Eastern churches has also maintained its apostolic faith, but being a state institution and the state needing to historically maintain ties with the church, has continued to survive and maintain its faithful. The challenge that it would face in this century is similar to that of the Roman, but as the last three decades have shown, very much more accelerated as the state transformed to communist and now neo-liberal.





Footnotes:



1. As the heavens can not be ploughed, nor can a king be accused.



2 See http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09169a.htm which identi



3. The webpage http://www.answers.com/topic/ethiopian-orthodox-tewahedo-church provides an historical overview of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.



4. Eritrea became an independant country in 1991 after having been part of Ethiopía since it gained its independance from Italy.



5. http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Ge'ez-language



6. During the 1860’s and the 1920’s Ethiopia had emperors, Tewodros and Eyassu, respectively, who distanced themselves from the Church.


Ezana Habte Gabr is a member of the faculty of Universidad de La Sabana of Bogotá, Colombia. He also writes at Humanising Language Teaching .

June 19, 2007

Islam Trying to Manipulate the Ethiopian Political Situation, Meles Requested "To Enroll Ethiopia In Organization of Islamic Countries OIC"

Unlike the Ethiopian Church and Christians themselves, the Ethiopian Islamic circle is trying to manipulate the current political status quo for their benefit. A nine member delegation of Ethiopian Muslims in Diaspora has visited Addis, the premier and submitted a document alleging they are facing multitudes of problems. The Ethiopian Church and Christians in general are very innocently indifferent what Islam in general and the fanatic Wahabists in partiular are doing in Ethiopia. It is mandatory for all Church officials and Christians in general to see the document in detail. God willing, we will be back with comments, views and articles about "Political Islam" in Ethiopia.

Ofcourse everybody remembers what has recently happened in Jimma and Illu-abba-borra.
The recent massacre of Christians in Jimma and Illu-Abba-Bora is reported in Amharic here. Unfortunately, both the government and patriarch Paulos are covering up the reasons behind the atrocity. Please read the basic news (news 1, news 2, articles (articles 1, articles 2), watch the video and tune to Deje-Selam for follow up stories.
Cher Were Yaseman

June 17, 2007

የምናካሒደው ጸረ ዘረኝነት ትግል በጎጠኞች አጀንዳ እንዳይጠለፍ

(ከእውነት ይበልጣል - ewenety@yahoo.com)
በሀገራችን ማዶ የሚኖሩ መንደርተኞች እርስ በርሳቸው ቡዳ እየተባባሉ ይተማማሉ አሉ፡፡ ታዲያ አንድ ቀን የመሸበት እንግዳ አሳድሩኝ ብሎ ከአንዱ ቤት ይገባል፡፡ የዛሬን አያድርገውና፣ የእግዜር እንግዳ ነውና አስተናጋጆቹ እግሩን አጥበው፣ መኝታውን አሰናድተው፣ የሚበላ የሚጠጣውን ሰጥተው፣ ኋላም አረፍ ብለው ሲጨዋወቱ እንግዳ ሆዬ አንድ ጥያቄ ያነሳል፡፡ ‹‹ኧረ እዚያ ማዶ መንደር ያሉ ሰዎች ቦዶች ናቸው ይባላል፣ እውነት ነው›› ብሎ ይጠይቃል፡፡ ከቤቱ ሰዎች አንዱ መልሶ ‹‹እንጃ፣ እኛ እነርሱን ቡዳ ናቸው እንላለን፣ እነርሱም እኛን ቡዳ ናቸው ይሉናል፡፡ እውነቱ ምን እንደሆነ አዳርህን አይተህ ትመሰክራለህ›› ቢለው ሰውየው ፈርቶ ሌሊቱን አውጣኝ አውጣን ሲል አደረ ይባላል፡፡ ይህችን ተረት ያስታወሰኝ ነመራ ዋቀዮ ቶላ የተባሉ ጸሐፊ ‹‹የጎንደር ምንቸት ውጣ፣ የትግሬ ምንቸት ግባ - ዘመነ መሳፍንት በቤተ ክህነት›› በሚል ርዕስ ያቀረቡት ጽሑፍ ነው፡፡ ጸሐፊው የማይነካውን ለመንካት ያገኙት ድፍረት እኔንም ቀሰቀሰኝና ብዕሬን አነሣሁ፡፡
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ዛሬ ከኤች. አይ. ቪ በበለጠ ኢትዮጵያውያንን እየለከፈ ያለው የጎጠኝነት መንፈስ በእነማን ላይ ያደረ ዛር ነው ቢባል ‹እኔ ከደሙ ንጹሕ ነኝ› የሚል ከተገኘ ሳያስገርም አይቀርም፡፡ይህ የጎጥና የወንዝ ዛር የታሪካችን አካል መሆኑ የማይካድ ቢሆንም እንዲህ እንዳሁኑ ግን በሚገባ የተካደመበትን፣ ድቤ ያስደለቀበትን፣ እንዲያውም ሀገርን ከመውደድና ከማፍቀር ጋር የተቆራኘበትንና የተሰበከበትን ጊዜ አላስታውስም፡፡ ለመሆኑ ይህ ችግር ከየት መጣ፣ የነማን ችግር ነው ቢባል ከላይ እንደተጠቀሱት ባላገሮች ‹አንተ አንተ› እያሉ ከመጠቋቆም በስተቀር የችግሩን ምንጭ ለማሳየትም ሆነ መፍትሔውን ከራስ ለመጀመር የደፈረ ያለ አይመስልም፡፡ ጉዳዩን አንስቶ ለመነጋገርም እንደ ነመራ ዋቀዮ ቶላ ዓይነት ‹ደፋሮችን› በብዛት ማግኘት ይጠይቃል፡፡ በኢኮኖሚና በማኅበራዊ ኑሮ ደረጃ ይህ ነው ሊባል የሚችል ልዪነት በሌላቸው፣ በአጠቃላይ ሲታይ የተመሳሳ ሃይማኖት ተከታዮች በሆኑ የተለያዩ ቋንቋ ተናጋሪዎች መካከል (ኧረ ይልቁንም በተመሳሳይ ቋንቋ ተናጋሪዎች መካከል) እየተገነባ ያለውን ግንብ መሠረት የጣለው ማን ነው፡፡ የቆየ የታሪካችን ጠባሳ ከሆነስ መጪው ትውልድ እንዳይስቅብን እንዴት እናስተካክለው፡፡ ቢያንስ ይህንን አሳፋሪ የመለያያ ግንብ እየገነቡ ያሉትን የ‹ፖለቲካ› እና የ‹ሃይማኖት› ሰዎች ሳናፍርና ሳንሞዳሞድ ነፍሳችን እንደምትጸየፋቸው እንዴት እንንገራቸው፣ የሚለው ብዙ ሊያወያየን የሚገባ ይመስለኛል፡፡ ከዚሁ አዙሪት ሊወጣ ያልቻለው ፖለቲካችን ለጊዜው ይቆየኝና ስለ ቤተ ክህነቱ ትንሽ ልበል፡፡
በኢትዮጵያ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ከቅርብ ዓመታት ወዲህ የተፈጠረውን ልዩነት በተመለከተ መንፈሳዊዎቹን ሕግጋት እየጠቃቀሱ ምእመኑን ግራ ማጋባቱ ይቀጥል እንጂ መነሻውም ሆነ መድረሻው ግን ከላይ ያነሳሁት የጉጥና የወንዝ ጉዳይ እንደሆነ ከዚህም ያለፈ እንዳልሆነ የቤቱን ‹ምሥጢር› የሚያውቁ ሁሉ ያውቁታል፡፡ በሀገር ቤት ያለችው ቤተ ክርስቲያን አገልጋዮች ምንም አንደበተ ጎልዳፋ፣ ልብሰ አዳፋ ቢሆኑም፣ ቤተ ክህነቱም ከነመፈጠራቸው ባያውቃቸውና ቢዘነጋቸው፣ እነርሱ ግን ከደሃው ገበሬ ምእመን እየተረዳዱና የወር የዓመት ደሞዝ ሳይጠይቁ በማገልገል ላይ ይገኛሉ፡፡ ምእመናንም የማንንም ‹መመሪያ› ሳይጠብቁ ካህናቱን እያከበሩና እየታዘዙ ያላቸውን ሁሉ እየሰጡ በንጹህ ልቡና አምላካቸውን ይማጠናሉ፡፡ ከእግዚአብሔር በስተቀር ማንም ማንነታቸውንና ሥራቸው የማያውቀው የአብነት መምህራንም በዓታቸውን ሳይለቁ ያገኙትን ተማሪ ያስተምራሉ፡፡ተማሪዎቹም ዛሬም እንደ ጥንቱ እየለመኑ ይማራሉ፡፡መምህራኑም ከልመናው ቁራሽ ተካፍለው ይበሉ እንደሆን እንጂ የዕለት ጉርስ የዓመት ልብስ የሚላቸው ቤተ ክህነት የለንም፡፡ እንዲህ ተቸግረው ተምረው ለፍሬ የሚበቁትን ደቀመዛሙርትም በተማሩበት ለሥራ የሚያሰማራቸው የለም፡፡ ይልቁንም አፈጮሌዎቹ ወይም ባለዘመዶቹ ናቸው ሁሉን በሁሉ አድርገው የተቆጣጠሩት፡፡ ከዚያም አለፍ ካለ እንዲሁ በችግርም ሆነ በሌላ ምክንያት ትምህርታቸውን ከቅዳሴ በላይ ያልዘለቁት፣ ከመምህሮቻቸው የተማሩትን ትህትና ይዘው ከተማ የገቡት ካህናትና መነኮሳት በየከተማው ያለውን ድፍረትና ፈሪሃ እግዚአብሔር ማጣት እየተመለከቱ (መጀመሪያ ተገርመው ሲመለከቱ ቢቆዩም) ኋላ ግን እነርሱም የዚሁ ነገር ሰለባ ይሆናሉ፡፡ መነኮሳቱም በየመጻሕፍቱ ያንቡት እንጂ አይተውት ለማያውቁት ጾር ይጋለጣሉ፡፡ አንዳንድ የከተማ ዲያቆናት ቢደፍሩ የማያስገርመው እነማንን እያዩ እንዳደጉ ስለሚታወቅ ነው፡፡
እነዚህ ከየቆሎ ቤቱ እየፈለሱ ከተማ የገቡ ካህናት ወደ ቤተ ክህነቱ ‹ሲስተም› የሚገቡት የወንዛቸውን ሰው የሆነ የደብር አስተዳዳሪ ወይም ማዘዣ የሚጽፍላቸው የቤተ ክህነት ባለሥልጣን ሲያገኙ ብቻ ነው፡፡ ያለበለዚያ ግን ምን ሊቅ ቢሆኑ፣ ምን መንፈሳዊ ቢሆኑ ዞር ብሎ የሚያያቸውም አያገኙም፡፡ የደብር አስተዳዳሪ የሆነ የወንዛቸውን ሰው ወይም የቤተ ክህነት ባለሥልጣን ካገኙ ግን ትምህርታቸውም ሙያቸውም አይጠየቅም፡፡ የሚሸጎጡበት ሥፍራ ይፈለግላቸዋል፡፡ እንዲህ እያሉ እስከላይኛው ማዕረግ የማይደርሱበት ምክንያት የለም፡፡ ከላይ ወደታች የሚወርደውም ምደባ ይህንኑ የወንዘኝነት መሥፈርት የተከተለ ስለሚሆን በየዘመኑ በጎሪጥ የሚተያዩና ለበቀል ጊዜ የሚጠባበቁ ወንዘኞች እየተፈጠሩ እነሆ ሀገር ሳይገድባቸው አቋቋሙን ከትግራይ-ከጎንደር፣ ቅኔውን ከጎጃም፣ ትርጓሜ መጻሕፍቱን ከሸዋ እያሉ የተማሩ ሊቃውንት ወደ ኋላ ተመልሰው የጎንደር፣ የጎጃም፣ የሸዋ እየተባባሉ (ሌላው ቢቀር ከመቶው እጅ አብዛኛው ከነዚህ ጎጦች ውጪ መሆኑን ዘንግተው) የእውነተኛይቷን ቤተ ክርስቲያን ሰማያዊ ዓላማ እያደናቀፉ መኖራቸው እሙን ነው፡፡ ኢሕአዴግ ሥልጣን ከጨበጠበት ጊዜ አንስቶ በሃይማኖት እየተሳበበ የምንሰማው ውዝግብም የዚሁ የእንብላው አትበሉም የ‹ጎጠኞች› ሽኩቻ ውጤት ነው፡፡ የነበረውን የመንግሥት ለውጥ ተከትሎ አራተኛውን ፓትርያርክ አስፈራርቶ ወይም በማግባባት ሥልጣናቸውን እንዲለቁ በማድረጉ ረገድ ግንባር ቀደም የነበሩት ለቦታው ራሳቸውን ያጩ ከላይ በተገለጸው መንገድ ዙሪያቸውን የከበብዋቸው ‹የመነድራቸው ልጆች› እንደነበሩ ውስጥ አዋቂ ምንጮች ይናገራሉ፡፡ ሊሰመርበት የሚገባው ጉዳይ ይህንን ፓትርያርክ የመቀየርን ውሳኔ በማሳለፉ ረገድ የሚሰጠው ማንኛውም ዓይነት ማስተባበያ (በሕይወት ላይ የተቃጣ አደጋ እንኳን ኖሮ ቢሆን) ራስን ከኃላፊነት ለማሸሽ የሚደረግ ዘዴ ከመሆን የማይዘል በመሆኑ ከቅዱስ ፓትርያርኩ ጀምሮ በወቅቱ የነበሩ የቅዱስ ሲኖዶስ አባላት በሙሉ (በሕይወት ያሉትም ያለፉትም) ኃላፊነቱን ሊወስዱ ይገባል፡፡ ምክንያቱም መጽሐፍ እንዳስተማረን ‹ብዙ ከተሰጠው ብዙ› ይጠበቃልና፡፡ እነዚህ አባቶቻችን (ዛሬ ተቃዋሚ ለመምሰል የሚሞክሩትን ጨምሮ) በፈጸሙት ፍጹም ኃላፊነት የጎደለው ውሳኔ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ስትበጠበጥ መኖር የለባትም፡፡ በነፍስም በሥጋም የሚያስፈርደውን ይህንን ታሪካዊ ስሕተት የፈጸሙት ራሳቸውና ራሳቸው ብቻ ኃላፊነቱን ሊወስዱ ይገባልና፡፡
ወደ ጎጡ ሽኩቻ ስንመለስ በወቅቱ በቤተ ክህነቱ በተነሳው ብጥብጥ ሥልጣን ላይ ለመውጣት በተደረገው ሽኩቻ በወቅቱ በነበረው የአንድ ወንዝ ልጆች የበላይነት አንጀታቸው አርሮ የነበሩት በሙሉ ‹‹የጠላቴ ጠላት ወዳጄ ነው›› በሚለው አሳፋሪ የመጠቃቂያ ዘዴያችን መመሪያነት በወቅቱ የፖለቲካው ድጋፍ ከነበራቸው የዘመናችን ባለ ተራ ወንዘኞች ጋር አበሩ፡፡ በአራተኛው ፓትርያርክ ወንበር ራሳቸውን ለማስቀመጥ ያሰፈሰፉትም ሆነ የሌሎቹ ሕልም ሳይሳካ ቀርቶ የ5ኛው ፓትርያርክ ማንነት ሲታወቅ ሁሉም ከእንቅልፉ ባነነ፡፡ ከዚህ በኋላ ነው እንግዲህ ቀድሞ ነገሩ ሁሉ ሲወጠንና ሲወጠወጥ ያልተነሳው ‹‹በፓትርያርክ ላይ ፓትርያርክ አይሾምም›› የሚለው ‹‹የመታገያ አንቀጽ›› ተፈልጎ የተገኘው፡፡ ጥያቄው በወቅቱ ይህንን ሕግ ጠቅሰው በሚገባ ያልተከራከሩና አስፈላጊውን መስዋዕትነት ያልከፈሉ አባቶች ዛሬ ጊዜና ቦታ ሲመቻችላቸው የፈለጉትን ያህል ጮክ ብለው ቢናገሩ እንዴት እናምናቸዋለን ነው፡፡ እሺ ይህም ይሁን ብለን (ቢያንስ በሃይማኖት አባትነታቸው አክብረናቸው) ብንቀበላቸው፣ በለመዱት መንገድ በውጭ የሚገኘውንም ምእመን በወንዝ ሲከፋፍሉት ስናይ ምን እንበላቸው፡፡ ሳያፍሩና ሳይፈሩ በቃልና በጽሑፍ የእነርሱ ጎጥ ከሌላው የተሻለ ቅዱስ እንደሆነ ሊነግሩን የሚሞክሩትን ግብዞች አባቶች ብለን እንዴት እንከተላቸው፡፡ (በሌላም በኩል ደግሞ በቀድሞዎቹ ጎጠኞች የተተካው አሁን ያለው አስተዳደር ካለፉት ምንም ሳይማር ከታች እስከ ላይ ያለውን መዋቅር ከራሱ ጎጥ በወጡ ካህናትና መነኮሳት ለመሙላትና ይባስ ብሎ ክህነቱም ሆነ ትምህርቲ በሌላቸው ‹‹የወንዛቸው ጎረምሶች›› ቤተ ክርስቲያኒቱን በማዘረፍ ላይ መሆናቸው እጅጉን ያቃጥላል፡፡)
በተለይም ደግሞ በቀላሉ የዚህ የጎጥ በሽታ ሰለባዎች ለመሆን የበቁት ቀድሞውንም በአብዛኛው ስለማኅበራዊ ግንኙነት እንጂ ስለሃይማኖት ብዙም በማይደንቃቸው ግለሰቦች የተመሰረቱትና የፖለቲካ መድረክ በተደረጉት በሰሜን አሜሪካ የሚገኙ አብያተ ክርስቲያናት ናቸው፡፡ ከእነዚህ አብያተ ክርስቲያናት አብዛኞቹ የቀድሞዎቹ የቤተ ክህነት የጎጥና የመንደር ‹‹ሃይማኖት›› አራማጅ መነኮሳትና ካህናት በማንአለብኝነት ባቋቋሙት ‹ስደተኛው›ና ‹ሕጋዊው ሲኖዶስ› በሚሉት የአንድ ጎጥ ኮሚቴ አንመራም በማለት አቋም መያዛቸው አግባብ ቢሆንም ይህንኑ አቋማቸውን በግልጽ ለምእመናን አሳውቀው ያለውን የቤተ ክርስቲያን አስተዳደር እንጂ የቅዱስ ሲኖዶስን አንድነት እንደማይቃወሙ ለመግለጽ ብዙ ጊዜ ፈጅቶባቸዋል፡፡ ዛሬም ግን አልረፈደም፡፡ በያዙት አቋም ጸንተው ቤተ ክርስቲያን የምትጠናከርበትን ብሎም አንድነቷን ድጋሚ የምትቀዳጅበትን መንገድ በመፈለጉ ላይ የበለጠ መጣር አለባቸው፡፡ እነዚህ አብያተ ክርስቲያናት ራሳቸውን ከማንኛውም ጎጠኛ አመለካከት ለማጽዳት መጣር አለባቸው፡፡ ምእመናንም መርዳት ይጠበቅባቸዋል፡፡ የአገር አንድነት ስሜት ሳይሆን የጎጠኝነት ስሜት የተጠናወታቸው የሃይማኖ ካባ ለባሾች በፖለቲካው ትግል ከጎናችን የቆሙ ቢመስለንም ከእኛ ጋር አለመሆናቸውን መረዳት አለብን፡፡ ይልቁንም በሥልጣን ላይ ያለውን የመለስ ዜናዊ አምባገነናዊ አስተዳደር ለመቀየር በሚደረገው ትግል አጀንዳው በነዚህ ሰዎች ጎጣዊ አስተያየት እንዳይጠለፍና አገሪቱና ቤተ ክህነቱ ከወያኔ ያልተናነሱ ጎጠኞች እጅ እንዳይወድቁ ልንጠነቀቅ ይገባል፡፡ ከአንድ ጎጥ የተሰባሰቡ ዘረኞች ጎጠኛውን ወያኔን ለመዋጋት ሞራላዊም ሆነ ሃይማኖታዊ ብቃት የላቸውም፡፡ ወያኔን መጥላት ብቻ ኢትዮጵዊ አያደርግም፣ አገር ወዳድም አያሰኝም፡፡ ሌላውን ዘረኛ ለመዋጋት የምንነሳ ሁላችን በመጀመሪያ ከውስጣትችን የተደበቀውን የዘረኝነት በሽታ አውጥን እንጣል፡፡ ራሳችንን ከዚህ ነውር እንጽዳ፡፡ እንንጻ፡፡ ለዚህም ከራሳችን ጀምሮ መውሰድ ስለሚገባን እርምጃ አስቀድመን እንወያይ እላለሁ፡፡
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የአቡነ ጳውሎስ "ሐውልተ ስምዕ"

ነጻ ፓትርያርክ ምርጫ ቢሆን ኖሮ ማንን ይመርጡ ነበር? እንበልና ሁሉም ነገር ሥርዓቱን ጠብቆ የተከናወነ የእጩዎች ምርጫ ቢሆን ኖሮ፣ አሁን የምናነሣቸው ጉድለቶች ባይኖሩ ኖሮ፣ 6ኛው ፓትርያርክ እንዲሆን የምትመርጡት ማንን ነበር? (ማሳሰቢያ፦ አሁን ያለው ክፍፍል እና የመንግሥት ተጽዕኖ ባይኖር ኖሮ ተብሎ የሚመለስ ጥያቄ ነው። የምን “ባይኖር ኖሮ ነው” የሚል አስተያየት ካለዎትም እናከብራለን።)