Adwa Commemorated: Papers Presented on the topic ‘The Invasion of Fascist Italy & the position of Pope Pius XI’

by Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE on March 12, 2017

in Featured, Featured News, News – Kassa  Nigus  – March 2017

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) Deserves apology and compensation from Italy.

Mahibere Kidusan Research Center organized a workshop to commemorate the Adwa Victory on St. George Day (March 2, 2017) at its premises. Two individuals had presentations on themes relating to the day and the papers were titled, “The Invasion of Fascist Italy and the position of Pope Pius XI,” by Kesis Dr. Mikre Sillase Gebre Amanuel, and Adwa Zikre Qenie (Ge’ez Peom in Memory of Adwa) by Kesis Haile Iyyesus Alebachew.

The two presenters depicted the situation and the public feeling as it existed in the years leading up to the Battle of Adwa in 1896 and the Italian action in the years of the invasion. The Italians in response to the humiliation they suffered in Adwa defeat, unleashed brutal retaliation campaign against Ethiopia in the years (1935-1941) of the invasion. This Italian campaign claimed the lives of thousands of priests in monasteries and tens of thousands of Ethiopians as well as resulting in the destruction of churches, and plunder of lots of ancient manuscripts and many heritages from monasteries and churches.

Kesis Dr. Mikre Sillase Gebre Amanuel provided the background to Italian invasion and consequences of the invasion in his presentation. He underlined the noticeable silence of the then Pope Pius XI of the Catholic Church regarding the massacre of Ethiopians. He explained the rationale behind the silence of Pope Pius XI and said that the Pope saw the invasion as an opportunity to expand the Catholic faith that would follow the subjugation and colonization of Ethiopia. He also said that fear of quarrel between the Catholic Church and the Italian government is another factor for the Pope’s silence.

However, to this day the Italian government has not offered an official apology and has not paid any compensation for their wartime crimes against humanity and the enormous destruction the Italian government inflicted on Ethiopia. It is only logical that the Italian government as well as the Vatican Church issue an apology and compensate Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church for all the havoc they caused and crimes against humanity they committed, compatibly with the damage they have done.

The 2nd speaker, Kesis Haile Iyyesus Alebachew presented his paper, which analyzed the contents of Ge’ez poems coined in the few years leading up to the Battle of Adwa and showed the significance of the messages in that they illustrated the mood of the time as well as showing the important role of the Church and fathers for the victory of Adwa by giving moral support.

The presenter depicted the rich information Ge’ez poems provide, alongside history books. He also noted that the victory of Adwa won by our forefathers was not achieved through the size of the Ethiopian army or weapons of war. Rather it was by the grace of God and the help of St George. Thus, the present and succeeding generations shall remember always what the patriotism of our fathers meant and not forget the enormous sacrifices they made to protect our freedom and make us proud. They need to recognize the significance of Ethiopia as a symbol of freedom to Africa and freedom seekers throughout the world.

Editing by Mesfin Zegeye


  • TomD

    Thank you for this article. One small problem. The assertion that “He also said that fear of quarrel between the Catholic Church and the Italian government is another factor for the Pope’s silence.” does not fit the facts that the Catholic Church and the Italian government were ALREADY quarreling, as seen in the June 1931 encyclical We Do Not Need by Pius XI (see ) and the August 1941 attack on Pope Pius XII in Rome.

    Also, while the Italian attacks on the Ethiopian Church is to be condemned in the strongest terms, at least a dozen Italian missionaries were killed by the Ethiopians in 1941. We should forget no one who served Christ and who suffered as a consequence.

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