January 26, 2008

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church to be formed in Antigua and Barbuda

Friday January 25 2008

A group of Antiguans and Barbudans who want to fully experience and express their emancipation both “spiritually and culturally” have moved towards developing an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Diocese here.

According to a press release, “We, people of Ethiopian descent whose ancestors were brought to these islands called Antigua and Barbuda and bought into slavery from their mother country, whose descendents are desirous for the establishment of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in their country of birth.”

According to the group, “This all began with the acknowledgement of the Ethiopian Double Millennium (2000 EC) which was celebrated on 12 Sept., 2007 and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Event, and the arrival of Kes (which means priest in Amharic) Rev. Dr. Abraham Springer to our shores in October 2007.”

Receiving conviction of their faith and their desire to meet in one accord seven brothers and sisters made a pilgrimage to the headquarters of the Archdiocese of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in the Caribbean and Latin America based in Trinidad on 23 Nov. This headquarters is also the mother church for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in the western hemisphere, outside of Jerusalem and Ethiopia.

One of the brothers, Graig Tuckett said, “The delegation represented the state well and as a result the Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church of the Archdiocese of the Caribbean and Latin America, Abune Thaddaeus will visit Antigua on 21 Feb.”

The visit will be an historic one since the Archbishop Thaddaeus will consecrate the church in Antigua and baptise new members.

“We have 30 potential members of which nine will be baptised on 21 Feb.,” becoming full fledged members of the world church.

Leading the church’s mission on the island and conducting training will be a monk priest who will arrive with Archbishop Thaddaeus for the consecration service.

“The administrative monk priest will guide the process for a period of time until a local priest is ordained,” Tuckett explained.

While here, Archbishop Thaddaeus will meet with Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, other government and ecclesiastical officials, conduct lectures, and facilitate interviews. He will also “minister to the baptised faithful in Antigua and Barbuda, and perform the holy sacrament of baptism and confirmation on brothers and sisters who have been preparing to become sons and daughters of God within the one true holy apostolic church as given to us by our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, which has been preserved unchanged and unadulterated throughout the ages by the holy apostles and our holy Ethiopian fathers for 2000 years, of ancient faith, culture, and doctrine in accordance with the holy scriptures.”

The body, which has already commenced meetings, have elected an executive committee “to oversee the daily activities of the development of the church here in Antigua and Barbuda.”

At current, the group assembles at the corner of Newgate and Wilkinson's Cross in St. John’s. “They are in the process of identifying suitable lands around the country for the construction of a holy sanctuary.”

The body holds services on Sundays and on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. to which the public is invited to attend.

More information on the formation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Antigua and Barbuda can be obtained from their place of meeting; or email: eoc_ab@yahoo.com; or www.ethiopianorthodox.org.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church headquartered in Ethiopia has been in existence for 2,000 years. The church has been established in the Caribbean for over 55 years with dioceses in Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Bermuda.

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