The Leading “Neutral” (non-synodal) Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Washington DC Declares that it Has Rejoined the Mother Synod in Addis Ababa

Solomon Kibriye (Editor – Ethiopian Affairs) – OCP News Service – 16/7/18

USA: This past Sunday July 15, 2018, following the Divine Liturgy, the clergy of Washington D.C.’s largest Ethiopian Orthodox Church assembled before the high altar and proclaimed that from this day onward, the church had returned to the jurisdiction of the Mother Church and the Addis Ababa Synod. St. Mary’s church is one of Washington’s oldest Ethiopian Orthodox Churches and has long been the leading church in the diaspora of the “neutral group” of Churches that refused to submit to the administration of the Addis Ababa Synod citing government interference in its affairs, while at the same time rejecting the Exile Synod as schismatic.

An End to the Ethiopian Schism in Sight?

St. Mary’s has been the leading “Neutral” church and is very influential in the Council they formed in the Diaspora. The “Neutral” churches have been criticized in the past for being un-canonical as they refuse to accept the authority of a local bishop and the Patriarch. Prayers in these churches are recited in a general manner for “our fathers the Archbishops and Bishops” rather than raising the name of the Patriarch and the local Bishop as required by church law.

Ethiopian Orthodox Quest for Unity

The clergy of St. Mary’s announced their decision to return to the fold of the mother Church, based on the new air of reform and reconciliation that has taken hold in Ethiopia, and the efforts to end the schism with the Exile Synod. Their announcement was met with cheering and ululations in the church. It is expected that many “Neutral” churches will follow suit shortly. St. Mary’s is known in Washington as “Re’ese Adbarat” (roughly “First of the Shrines”) and “Debre Selam” (Mount of Peace).

The Addis Ababa and Exile Synods will meet later this week in Washington for reconciliation talks about which there is great optimism for the first time.

OCP News Service