Eritrea's Orthodox Spiritual Father Patriarch Antonios Removed from his Post
Friday, 26 August 2005
Asmara - 25 Aug 2005
Asmarino.com was informed that Patriarch Antonois, the Spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church of Eritrea, was formally removed from his post yesterday, 25 Aug 2005. A meeting led by Mr Yoftahe Dimetros, the Eritrean Government appointed representative to administer the Eritrean Orthodox Church, was finally concluded with a resolution to depose Patriarch Antonios and replace him with Patriarch Dioskoros. Reportedly, Brigadier General Abraha Kasa, Col Semere Beyn, Lieutenant Jelani Mehamed were present in the meeting.
According to the report Asmarino.com received, the bishops of the Holy Synod were intimidated by the presence of military officials. In accordance to the agreement the Eritrean Orthodox Church signed with the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, a patriarch's appointment is for life.
The action taken against Patriarch Antonios is similar to what President Sadat of Egypt did to Pope Shenouda in the early eighties. Sadat decreed the dismissal of Shenouda as Patriarch and had him placed under house arrest for "allegedly threatening national unity and security." It is to be remembered the detention of Pope Shenouda and the imprisonment of 160 Christians in 1981 intimidated Church leaders from defending energetically the interests of the Christian community in the political arena. In 1985, President Mubarak yielded to international pressure applied by human rights organizations such as Christian Solidarity International and Amnesty International.
Mr Yoftahe Dimetros, who is believed to be the architect of coup d'etat, served as Ethiopian ambassador under the Dergue regime.
Roughly half of Eritrea's population is Christian, the vast majority belong to the orthodox church, which was established in Eritrea and Ethiopia by the end of the fourth century.
The church in Eritrea plays a fundamental role in daily life for many Eritreans.
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